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!
Players find a space in the room. A moderator asks the group to do an activity by calling out “Lets _____.” The group, in unison, all respond by shouting out “Yes, Lets!” The players then proceed individually and silently to explore the activity physically. When the moderator feels the activity has been fully explored the moderator calls out another activity. Objectives: To explore the entire physical environment of an activity.
Try this game without sound effects or any dialogue first. your students will be more focused and look at the game with less of an angle of performance.
A joyful exploration of scene rules and games, and a nice Brain Fry exercise to boot. There are no winners and no losers here!
Students stand in a circle.
They are instructed to pass a “whoosh” around the circle, which travels through their fingertips and voices to the player to their left.
Once the whoosh has traveled around a few times, introduce the idea of “Whoa,” which is produced by holding up your hands to block a “Whoosh.” When someone says, “Whoa,” the “Whoosh” must switch directions and go the opposite way.
After the students adapt to this, further actions are as follows: Ramp, which is sent over the head of the next player, skipping that player and landing on the next one; Tunnel, which causes the next three players to turn sideways (creating a tunnel through their legs) and landing the next Whoosh four players over; Volcano, which causes all players to run to the middle and erupt outwards and back into the circle, continuing the Whoosh from the last position; Banished!, in which a player points to another and “banishes” him or her from the circle. The banished student then finds a new place in the circle. (Banished can also be used when a student misses a pass or fumbles.)
For more, see the Adaptations section below.
To mentally warm up; to make offers and “sell” them; to fail joyfully; to accept offers and to find the games within the game; to connect to your fellow players through a shared game experience.
This game is handy shorthand for the concept of “games” or “rules” that govern scenes. It helps to show that any game or rule can be acceptable within a scene if it is played and accepted to the fullest. The students get the most out of it when they accept that they can’t “win” the game, but they can revel in the playing of it. A great game for teaching the idea that, “There are no bad offers, just bad follow-ups.”
Once students have adapted to all the different types of rules, they can invent their own, which should be accepted by the rest of the circle and incorporated into regular game play. The student should “sell” the new rule, so that his/her fellow players can be sure to follow up.
Some previous rules which have been “sold” and added include: Baby Pig, in which the player lets a “baby pig” loose to run beneath the feet of all players in the circle, and back into its owner’s arms; Accent/Language/Character/Genre- based Whooshing/Whoa-ing (which is, of course, joyfully copied by the next player); Dance Breaks, and etc. The possibilities are essentially endless. Have fun with it!
Emotional TransferA great game to encourage players to alter their emotional states.
Rules:Two improvisers start a scene with opposite emotions, and over the course of the scene they switch.
Objectives:To introduce the value of emotional transfer into scene work.. To heighten awareness.
Comments:Don’t jump right into the transfer - establish the opposite organic transfer WITHIN the reality of the scene.
5 Element Game
The Five Element game trains and creates natural impulses for story telling.
The players get in groups of 3. Two players create a one minute scene while the third player calls out the elements of the Basic Scene Structure as they are created. One player starts by exploring the physical environment of an activity. The observer calls out “Setting.” The second player enters as a complimentary character, thus creating a relationship. Once this relationship is created the watching player calls out “Characters.” The scene partners then find a problem or obstacle to overcome. They raise the stakes, motivating a solution. Finally, the players find a solution (preferably one that arises from the environment or the characters.) At each step the watching player calls out what element of the Basic Scene Structure is created.
To create the instinct to tell stories within the Basic Scene Structure by focusing solely on advancing between elements.
Because of the one minute time limit, this exercise often results more in the narration of action rather than true physicalization. Although this is normally a bad thing, the value lies in the ability to reduce the amount of gags and gossip encountered in the creation of the scene. Raising the Stakes is normally the first element to be forgotten in the heat of the moment. It is therefore one of the elements you must be the most stringent about. You should also be looking for an organic solution. An organic solution comes from within the world of the scene; Deus Ex Machina is the improvisor’s easy way out.
Five Element Freeze: The Five Element game done with freeze called at the end of every scene and a new player taking a position of one of the frozen players. The player then justifys the position into a new environment/activity.
Gibberish 5 Elements: The Five Element game done while only speaking gibberish.
Silent 5 Element: The Five Element game done in silence (no sound effects.)
This is the classic third person narrative game.
Get a suggestion from audience (e.g. Fictional title for a story.) One player is the writer and narrates the story. The other members of the team perform the actual scene that is being told including the dialogue. Players pass the advancing of the story back and forth between narrator and stage until the story has been told.
To explore the principle of narration and work as a team to advance a story.
One of the first hesitations a new team will have is to take over the scene from the stage. Most new players will just want the narrator to tell them what to do thus ridding themselves of any need to create a story. It is very important to get all of the players to advance the scene.
Offstage improvisers provide the voices for the onstage characters and action. May be played as a Foreign Film.
To perform a scene with the narrative being supplied by one part of team and the physicalization by the other.
The onstage improvisors have the option of simply moving their lips, speaking in gibberish or (if you have the option) actually conducting the scene in a language other than English. Familiarize yourself with the convention of pausing after each line of dialogue for the translation - don’t let the action of the scene stop just because nobody’s speaking. Stay present and connect to the scene physically to give it continuity.