Use this page as a quick and dirty workshop creator. Every time you reload this page, you’ll get:
- 2 random Warm-ups
- 2 random Exercises
- 2 random Practice Games
This should give you a template for a fun workshop of 45 minutes to an hour. This randomly generated template is a fun way to try out games and exercises you might not be used to. This is, of course, no substitute for a well designed workshop put together to address the specific needs of your team, however this randomized template may open you up to skills or ideas you might not often address!
Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!
December 10, 2009
Knight, Mount, Cavalier is all about physicalization and support. Make sure your students have stretched!
Students get into pairs of Player A and Player B.
The Director will call out one of three physical poses, either Knight, Mount or Cavalier, which are as follows:
Knight: Player A gets down on one knee. Player B puts one foot on Player A’s knee and one hand in the air, is if brandishing a sword high.
Mount: Player B gets on all fours as a horse would; Player A mounts Player B like a rider.
Cavalier: Player A extends his/her arms; Player B jumps into Player A’s arms like a damsel (or dude-damsel) in distress.
Students must hold and support each pose until the Director calls a new one.
To physically attack an offer or impulse (but not your scene partner), to share space and focus, and to find the joy in physical scenework.
Safety is important here; so pairing students evenly according to height/weight isn’t a bad idea. Speed and accuracy are key, as well!
A quick and easy focus, group mind and teamwork exercise.
Have students stand in a tight circle, shoulder to shoulder (or with arms around each others’ shoulders, if students are comfortable with one another).
Students look down and count to 21 by having one person at a time randomly contributing one number. There is no pattern to it, and students are expected to contribute the next number when appropriate (they may, for example, say two numbers in a row if the need is there).
If students speak at the same time, have them start over from one.
To develop group mind, focus and listening; to embrace the moment.
Beyond the objectives, Numbers is also an opportunity to demonstrate that each performer is contributing to the success of the game, much like in scene work. There must be give and take by every member of the group in order to be successful. When the group isn’t working as a whole even something as simple as counting to 21 can be an enormous challenge. Numbers can therefore be a humbling experience for teams who think they’ve got it all together when they don’t. Numbers must be said with confidence, and no other talking or communication should be allowed. Watch for habitual patterns in the game, and try to change them.
December 11, 2009
Two improvisors become expert know-it-all’s on a subject of the audience’s choosing. The format can be an interview, talk show, lecture, debate…
One improvisor comes up to play an expert on a suggested topic. A second improvisor stands behind the first. The front improviser wraps their arms around the improviser behind. The rear improviser puts his arms out as the front persons arms.
To encourage spontaneity, and the making and justifying of physical offers. Freeing the trust in ones impulses.
The front improviser (the “voice” of the Expert) should include and justify all of the physical offers made by the “arms” (rear) improviser. The rear improviser should stay present, listen carefully to the front improviser and then add physical offers of their own. Take your time: relaxation will keep you in the moment, and that will be more interesting to watch than hurried or incomplete answers/statements. Confidence is both more interesting and more important than speed.
November 2, 2014
An exercise that focuses on making mundane offers more important.
One player is on stage and another player enters, handing them a file with the dialogue, “Here’s the Johnson File.” The player who receives the Johnson File will then make a statement revealing how important this object is, “The Johnson File! The last piece of evidence that will clear my name!” Then the players switch roles and repeat the exercise.
This exercise shows players that any offer can be heightened and made vital to the scene. There are no bad offers, only poor follow-ups.
Make sure the players are being specific as to why the Johnson File is important to them. Try playing the game for an extended period of time, pushing the students past the point where the ideas come quickly and allow them to get creative and absurd with their follow-ups.
The game can be played with different opening offers as well, “It’s Tuesday” is a popular variation.
October 21, 2014
A game that helps students incorporate stakes into their scenes.
Before the game, write or have the students write down many lines of dialogue that introduce stakes on slips of paper. These lines will often revolve around consequences. Some examples, “If we don’t eat soon I’m going to get hangry, and you won’t like me when I’m hangry!” “This is my last chance to win the lottery, once and for all!”
Once you have enough lines of dialogue, scatter them around the stage. Have some students begin a scene, after they have established a platform, have them choose slips at random and speak them as dialogue, justifying and incorporating the stakes into the scene.
To get students in the habit of stating their stakes clearly, and to make to stake important to the characters.
Remind students that while this game can be a lot of fun and great for exploring stakes, it is important in your scene work to keep stakes organic to the platform. In practice, your stakes should come from motivations that make sense to the characters and setting you’ve established.
December 11, 2009
The fairy tale perspective game is a perfect first step into perspective narration.
A famous fairy tale and the secondary character whose perspective we will see it from are solicited from the audience. The Secondary character begins a monologue which introduces them as the narrator and describes the environment and characters. As these elements of the story are described by the narrator, the other players create them on stage in preparation for the first scene. The narrator then breaks from the narration and enters the scene. The narrator moves from scene to narration to forward the story and to provide the audience with background information or to explain their inner feelings.
This is a truly excellent and challenging game, but not the best game for a full team to be able to create a story as it relies quite a bit on the narrator. To add life to this game it is important that all of the other players focus on feeding the narrator with offers that forward the use of the audiences suggestions.