Use this page as a quick and dirty workshop creator. Every time you reload this page, you’ll get:
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!
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 fundamental exercise teaching improvisers how to properly accept offers and contribute to the scene.
Put the players in pairs. One student will start by making a statement such as, “We are going on a vacation.” The other will follow up by first saying, “Yes, and…” agreeing with the first statement and adding new information. “Yes, and we are spending a week in Paris.” The players will go back and forth making “Yes and” declarations until they reach a natural conclusion.
To show how simple and effective the concept of “Yes and” is in improvisation. To make a habit of always accepting with new information.
Encourage the students to respond to what was just said and expand on that idea, as opposed to listing a series of disconnected ideas. In the example above, the students might get into the trap of just listing activities they did in Paris, “Yes and we arrive at the Eiffel Tower.” “Yes and we eat fine cheese.” “Yes and we see Versailles.”
It is more effective to explore the first idea, “Yes and we arrive at the Eiffel Tower.” “Yes and we take the stairs all the way up.” “Yes and we can see the whole city.” It allows a story to reveal itself.
Also, encourage the students to physicalize the actions of the story and make statements in the present tense.
This game can also be played in a circle or in small groups.
An excellent game for creating shared environments.
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.
To increase the ability to create detailed environments, and to eliminate the problem of having players “walk through tables.”
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.)
Have players remain in the environment as characters after they have created their object. Allow players to interact as their characters.
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 painless entrée into the world of musical improv.
Students perform a straightforward open scene. At any point, the director (or audience, depending) can shout, “Sounds like a song!” (Usually this happens on a line of dialogue.) The student who spoke the previous line or did the previous action must then sing a song using that line/action as a suggestion for the song. Songs are short, 30 seconds or so. Scene continues from there, until “Sounds like a song!” is shouted again.
To justify within a scene; to over-accept offers; to hone singing skills; to listen.
Students are urged to throw themselves into the songs, Broadway-style. This is not to say that every song should be a huge, bombastic, Fosse-inspired dance number, but that every song should be performed at 120%. Ballads and torch songs are fine, as well. The emotionality of the song should be related to the story and character. Some improvisers are terrified of singing onstage. A good warm up to this game is Hot Spot (see warm ups).