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!
Horseshoe is a great Brain Fry exercise. Brain Fry games are impossible to win. The joy of the game is in challenging and expanding your ability to focus and concentrate. If you play to win you will only frustrate yourself.
Players form groups of 5 - 15 and stand in a horseshoe shaped line facing center. The group numbers off consecutively from one end of the line to the other. The player in position one always starts by calling out another player’s number. The player whose number is called must immediately call out another player’s number (other than the player’s that called theirs… no call backs.) If a player hesitates by laughing, saying “um” or just taking too much time they must move to the end of the line. When a player moves to the end of the line all the players after their number rotate down one number. Position one then quickly calls out another player’s number.
To stimulate connection to impulses within the framework of rules. To get players to a higher state of awareness and presence in the room.
Horseshoe can be frustration at best if all you want to do is be good enough at it that you’ll get to the number one position. The fact is that this game is a great exercise to train people that only through relaxation will you FIND (not create) awareness. It is a good rule to keep players eyes up in the game as it is a tendency for players to try and block out visual stimuli by staring at the floor… but the game isn’t happening on the floor. Make sure that they are aware of each other and try to follow (or sense) the flow and become part of it. This may sound very artsy but improvisation is based on communicating impulses and therefore these “Jedi like” senses are necessary. It is also a good idea to have no talking except for the calling out of designations. This will allow for the first position to start the next round immediately when the player leaves to move to the end of the line.
Once you’ve mastered numbers use other categories such as the alphabet or colours to designate the positions. For an intense Brain Fry combine all three methods.
Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.
The warm up leader calls out an environment, then loudly counts down from 10. Without discussion or planning the players create and explore the environment using the full space. Players may be objects or people.
To physically explore an improvised environment and all it’s possibilities. To force the improvisors to be present in the space, and work together without discussion to create full functioning environments.
Don’t discuss it - do it! Explore all the aspects of the environment. If the environment is a movie theatre, there’s the possibility of popcorn, people to sell the popcorn, moviegoers, screen, seats, any of the myriad objects and persons that make up a movie theatre experience. Watch each other, try to create balanced stage pictures. If you see everyone else trying to be the screen, sit down and watch the movie.
Players form a circle facing the center. One player begins by creating and manipulating an imaginary object (without the use of sound.) The player next to them takes the object and begins to use it in the same way. The player then slowly transforms the movement until a new object being manipulated in a similar yet different way is created. The next player in the circle takes the object and the game continues until the circle is complete.
For players to become aware of movement and their own physical space. This, in turn, prepares players to be conscious of their activities within scene work. This exercise can also be use as a Justification exercise.
Players should make sure to connect the original objects movement as closely as they can. This game can also be played as a partner exercise.
Transformation Game (See Movement Exercises.)
The Transformation Game was the birthplace of the game we now know as Freeze. Unfortunately what is missing from Freeze is the Transformation Game’s amazing morphic energy based in physical communication and focus. The game is rooted in the transformation of the Who and the Where. The Transformation Game is also a great teamwork exercise in movement and listening.
A group of players (3-8) start on stage performing a group activity based on a suggestion. Within the first scene a player will find a connection within their movement (or the groups movement) that will allow them to transform the scene into a new scene. The players will then continually transform the Who and Where until they arrive at a predetermined (by suggestion) final activity.
To teach group communication skills through movement.
Players should make sure to connect the original movement as closely as they can. This can also be played as a partner exercise.
A justification game that challenges the “straight man.”
Three players stand onstage. Two players will improvise a scene. The other player is one of those player’s evil twin. At any point in the scene, the twin can shout, “Freeze!” after which he/she tags out their twin, and continues the scene by doing something “evil.” Once the evil act has been committed, the original player tags back in and continues the scene. Both onstage characters must justify the evil act within the scene as though the “good” character did it. It is then the “good twin’s” job to correct the evil within the scene. Play continues thusly, with the Evil Twin tagging out whenever he/she feels like.
To accept and justify offers; to support and challenge your fellow player; to make choices that are true to the scene and the characters.
Great setups for this game are things like first dates, or meeting your in-laws for the very first time. The game works best when the justification is true to the scene and the characters, not by blaming outside forces or saying something like, “I don’t know what came over me!” Can be challenging, but work at it by taking a lot of time in the setup to get used to the characters and environment. That way, the justifications can come from those two elements.
Both characters can have Evil Twins if you’d like. It steps the game up a notch.
Get photo ID cards or business cards from the audience as well as a suggestion of a location or activity. Designated players mold/match their faces to the photos. They also use the name from the ID as well. The scene is created by showing the characters within the suggestions from the audience.
To create full characterizations from audience suggestions, and build a scene based on their lives.
This game thrives on discovery. The more the players explore the character they’ve unleashed the more the scene will benefit. Beware: many people don’t like to get their picture taken at the DMV so you may end up with fairly negative characters. Don’t let the character’s negativity give you the impulse to block or cancel offers. Remember to forward the action. Create fully rounded characters from the ID/business card and also from your impression of the person who donates it. Mocking them will draw an easy laugh from the audience, but it disrespects both that audience member and his/her suggestion (of themselves). Once again, a with a well-rounded character the story will evolve simply and organically from their traits, mannerisms and ideosynchrasies. You don’t have to recreate the person who makes the suggestion in exacting detail: but they are the jumping off point for YOUR character, which you will created in detail.