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
A great energizer and impulse warm up; Big Booty is a positive way to get your group into the idea of failing joyfully while working that improv impulse muscle.
Students stand in a horseshoe formation, with the student at the right hand end of the horseshoe dubbed Big Booty. Other students number off from 1, going clockwise starting with the player next to Big Booty.
Students stomp rhythmically, one foot at a time (1,2,1,2) while energetically singing the Big Booty song: “Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.”
Big Booty starts from there, calling his/her own name, followed by “Number” and the number of a player in the horseshoe. For example, the first turn is as follows:
All: Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.
Big Booty: Big Booty Number 5.
Number 5 would then pass to another player as follows, immediately: “Number 5, Number 7.” Number 7 then follows, “Number 7, Number 4,” and so on.
The call can be passed back to Big Booty, but there are no callbacks.
When there is a hesitation or an error, all players (continuing to keep rhythm by stomping) loudly and energetically call “Aw, shoot!”
The player who made the error then joyfully goes to the end of the horseshoe and becomes the last number. All other players move into vacant places left, adopting the number of the place in which they stand. For example, if Number 4 made an error, he/she moves to the end, becoming the last number (say Number 8). Number 5 moves into Number 4’s spot, becoming 4. Six becomes 5, Seven becomes 6, etc. Play continues.
To energize mind, body, and voice, to create group mind and introduce the idea of failing joyfully and supporting one another even in failure.
In the outside world, your students will be expected to be right, to always do well, and to apologize for mistakes. Big Booty is a fun, high-energy way to take students away from the real world, where failing is bad, and thrust them into “improv world” where failing is joyfully celebrated.
Once your students are pro at Big Booty, you can add a dance break to the mix. For example, if Number 4 receives the call, a dance break would look like this:
Number 3: Number 3, Number 4.
Number 4: Number 4, Number 4, BREAK IT DOWN!
The students then create dance music and dance around joyfully for four beats, at which point Number 4 gets things going again: “Number 4, Number 7.” Play resumes from there.
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
A game that increases narrative skill, teamwork and listening.
Three to six improvisers form a line on the stage. The narrator/MC sits downstage of them, facing the line. The MC randomly points to players in the line. The player who is pointed at speaks. When the finger moves, the speaking improviser stops (mid-syllable if necessary) and the next improviser picks up EXACTLY where the previous one left off. If a player stutters, repeats a word or says something totally incongruous, the audience shouts “DIE!” The improviser “dies” and a new story begins. The game ends when only one person remains.
To develop awareness and spontaneity. To tell a complete story as a team within the restrictions of the game.
Die with good grace: the audience takes their cue for reaction from the improviser. Keep it fun. Concentrate on the story – listen to each other and keep it simple. If the action advances out of hand, the story will lose coherence.
Putting a character/genre in the hot seat.
One student stands on stage and is given a character trait or genre of theatre/film by his/her fellow players. The player then emerges as though at a press conference, and introduces him/herself, his/her project, or whatever information the character wants to convey. Other students then act as the press, introducing themselves and their publications and then asking questions, which are answered in character. Take turns with a few students, taking on different traits or genres each time.
To create and make character/genre offers; to expand and heighten on characters through offers made by fellow players; to explore genre within a specific game.
Students should be very mindful of supporting each other in this game, as one of them has been put in the hot seat. A good opportunity to teach students about making each other look good (i.e.: asking questions that elevate, not stump, the player on stage). Works best when the character trait/genre is echoed—complimented or contrasted—in some way by the “members of the press,” i.e.: If the character trait is nervous, a press member might be from the “Relaxed Gazette” or the “Paranoid Press.
Can also be played as an audition, where a panel (consisting of director, producer, etc.) auditions characters for a “part” one by one. A quicker version, as a line of auditioners should be waiting in the wings to go next.
Players begin a scene on a suggestion from the audience. A moderator the calls out different Styles or Emotions. When a new Style or Emotion is called out the players must continue the same scene justifying the new element.
To justify the transitions while creating a scene.
Try and keep the continuity of the scene steady and with purpose or this will become a listing game of the players knowledge of the different styles. When the style changes the characters will be altered slightly as well, do not allow this alteration to change who the characters
A great game to explore non-human habitual movement.
Improvisers ask for an animal or animals to inspire their characters. The team then plays the scene as a human with that animal’s characteristics.
To use the Animals inherent talents and well known traits to solve problems (or create them) and create the elements of scene work. It is also important to find the similarities between animal and human.
How does this animal character walk? Talk? Sit? Eat? How do they react to danger? Happiness? The more detail your animal character has, the more interesting you will be and the better you honour the suggestion. If you have a well rounded animal character, the scene will organically evolve from that character’s specific traits. If you do some animal character exploration with your group before you play the game, you’ll find more detail and more levels to play on. The animals that you get from the audience will (and should) be different but a familiarity with the exploration will help you create well-rounded characters.