Workshop Generator

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!

HAVE FUN!

Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!

Warm Ups

Turning Circle

Group mind is a physical as well as a mental concept. The high energy of CIG events demands that groups be in tune with one another mentally and physically. Turning Circle is one way of approaching this idea.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle. On cue, they begin running (slowly!) in a clockwise direction, paying attention to one another and setting a reasonable pace.

At any point, any student may shout, “Go!” at which point the entire circle changes running direction. The goal is to not smash or bump into any other player.

Continue, with each successive “Go!” changing the circle’s direction.

Objectives:

To get physically warmed up; to get in tune with our fellow players physically and to find group mind; to work together to make the whole circle sustainable and keep it moving forward fluidly.

Comments:

This warm up is a nice metaphor for teamwork and group mind. Students should pride themselves on creating a flawless circle with no weak spots, but they should also fail joyfully and support players who trip up by helping them get back into the rhythm of the run.

Adaptations:

After running, it’s sometimes nice to see if you can pull of a Circle Sit, with all circle members sitting on the lap of the person behind them simultaneously.

Advanced groups can attempt different shapes, other than circles.

Corridors

A great, low-pressure exercise for commitment-phobes.

Rules:

Students form a backline.

The director gives the players a theme, like Christmas or Recreation.

The director asks half of the group to step forward.

Simultaneously, the players perform an action and a line of dialogue that corresponds with the given theme.

The first group steps back and the remaining players step forward and do the same thing until the director believes the theme has been exhausted, at which point he or she gives them something new to explore.

Objectives:

To commit to the moment; to respond to offers quickly and on impulse.

Comments:

As this is a simultaneous exercise, the director can be looking for commitment and attack rather than listening for content. It frees the performer up to simply respond without fear of Big Brother listening in. Best when handled as a drill and performed at a very fast pace.

Adaptations:

Advanced groups can perform this activity in three stages: first, a mimed action; second, an action and related statement; and third, an unrelated action and statement (the second two can be reversed).

Rather than always having the same groups come out at the same time, individuals can also choose their time to go out. It’s good to set a base number of performers who must be out at one time (i.e.: more than half). This may mean performers go out more frequently, not just every second time. It keeps them on their toes.

Exercises

The Room

An excellent game for creating shared environments.

Rules:

The first player enters a room and mimetically creates an object that defines the location. The next player enters the room, uses the first object and then creates a second one found in that location. One by one the rest of the players enter, use the previously created objects and create a new one.

Objectives:

To increase the ability to create detailed environments, and to eliminate the problem of having players “walk through tables.”

Comments:

Mimetic abilities are a great tool for the improvisor to create environments on stage. Players should work to achieve a level of clarity in expression without feeling that they need to master the art of mime. Some players tend to create elaborate stories in order to use all their objects, often times destroying the objects or combining the use of two objects in improbable ways. The focus of the exercise is to create a shared environment, not to be funny and creative (often a mask for a desire to avoid the exercise.)

Adaptations:

Have players remain in the environment as characters after they have created their object. Allow players to interact as their characters.

Following

The act of Following is the next step in the evolution of Mirroring. Partners need not face each other in Following, which allows for an even greater range of possibilities for movement when leading and a greater amount of interpretation when following. Through this work players can communicate and connect without the need for sound.

Rules:

Players, in partners, stand next to (not facing) each other. One player leads while the other player follows the action simultaneously. Upon the moderator’s command the leader and the follower switch.

Objectives:

To flex player’s ability to communicate through movement. To allow players to express impulses through movement. To allow players to explore the boundaries of simultaneous movement.

Comments:

Players do not have to be two feet from each other, nor is it a rule that the follower must keep constant eye contact on (or with) the leader. In actual fact for the follower to get simultaneous movement they must anticipate the action instead of echoing the action. Be sure to play around with what it means to follow someone… Follow, create, enjoy!

Adaptations:

Group Following (follow the leader): 1. One player is the leader the group follows. 2. Moderator calls for a switch in leadership. 3. Group finds new leader within group by following and amplifying first movements in group until one person is left leading.

Practice Games

Dubbing

Rules:

Offstage improvisers provide the voices for the onstage characters and action. May be played as a Foreign Film.

Objectives:

To perform a scene with the narrative being supplied by one part of team and the physicalization by the other.

Comments:

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.

Fairy Tale Perspective

The fairy tale perspective game is a perfect first step into perspective narration.

Rules:

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.

Comments:

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.