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

Old School

A nice verbal and impulse warm-up that lets students flex their rap muscles.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle, and begin by letting out a Beastie Boys-style intro (students might need to listen to a few BB songs to get the hang of the rhythm): “Ba da da da da da da da da da! Ba da da da da da da da da da!”

A player initiates with a verse, for example, “Woke up in the morning and I went to school,” (All: “Ba da da da da da da da da da!”)

The player to his/her left then rhymes a new verse: “But first I took a dive in my swimming pool.” (All: “Ba da da da da da da da da da!”)

Play continues around the circle, with players rhyming to the first verse.

If a player slips up, then the intro happens again, and the offending player starts a new rhyme.

Play continues until you win a Grammy (or as long as you want).

Objectives:

To commit to and sell an offer; to use impulses to create rhyming verse; to support fellow players by adding to their offer.

Comments:

Half the fun of Beastie Boys is performing your verse with the same boastful, rap-tastic presentation typical of a rap battle. Students should be urged to give 110% energy to this game, because they can sell a bad rhyme with a good presentation (a useful skill on stage!).

Hot Spot

A vocal warm up that doubles as an icebreaker and impulse warm up. Great opening warm up.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

With our without a suggestion, one student initiates by stepping into the centre of the circle and belting out a song. This is done performatively.

When the song being sung inspires another, a new singer will enter the circle and take over, singing their new song. The first singer will step out into the circle.

This continues until every player has sung, or as long as you’d like.

Objectives:

To let go of the inhibitions that sometimes hold us back from our impulses; to attack an offer and build upon it; to support each other; to warm up our voices; to “sell” offers.

Comments:

Sometimes singing terrifies improvisers; especially those who are just getting to know and trust one another. Tossing students headfirst into Hot Spot helps to throw a lot of that early shyness and lack of attack out the window. Players need not be good singers, or sing great songs, they only need to jump on the moment and attack it, supporting their fellow player in the process.

If players are really frightened by the idea, have the other players sing along to songs they know and help support their friend in need.

Adaptations:

Songs usually tend to be standards or whatever is Top 40 at the moment. Challenge brave students to make up songs, to only sing songs from a certain artist, or to from a certain year/decade/genre.

Exercises

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.

Bus Stop

A classic game that explores character while encouraging listening and discovery skills.

Rules:

A bench is placed centre stage. One improviser enters and sits on the bench A second improviser enters and begins to play a scene. The scene is over when the first character slowly adopts the second character’s characteristics and leaves the stage, The character that just entered remains seated on the bench a third character enters and begins a scene which ends when the second player exits having adopted the third character’s characteristics. Repeat until all players have been on stage.

Objectives:

To develop/practice the skills of characterization and character interaction.

Comments:

Don’t let an improviser use the same character or tactic too many times, or you compromise the purpose of the exercise. Respect your fellow improvisers: the scene is over when the first person leaves, but the scene must still be played together. Even when you play an aggressive CHARACTER, remember that the good IMPROVISOR is always listening and aware of offers made and actions taken by EVERYONE on stage.

Adaptations:

More than two people can be on the stage at one time

Practice Games

Pick Up Stakes

A game that helps students incorporate stakes into their scenes.

Rules:

Before the game, write or have the students write down many lines of dialogue that introduce stakes on slips of paper. These lines will often revolve around consequences. Some examples, “If we don’t eat soon I’m going to get hangry, and you won’t like me when I’m hangry!” “This is my last chance to win the lottery, once and for all!”

Once you have enough lines of dialogue, scatter them around the stage. Have some students begin a scene, after they have established a platform, have them choose slips at random and speak them as dialogue, justifying and incorporating the stakes into the scene.

Objectives:

To get students in the habit of stating their stakes clearly, and to make to stake important to the characters.

Comments:

Remind students that while this game can be a lot of fun and great for exploring stakes, it is important in your scene work to keep stakes organic to the platform. In practice, your stakes should come from motivations that make sense to the characters and setting you’ve established.

 

Animal Allegory

An interesting approach to character and narration (answer an origin question, self directed narration).

Rules:

Two students are onstage. Each is given the suggestion of a different animal to play. Additionally, the suggestion of an “origin question” is given (Why is the sky blue? Where do babies come from? Why is there a moon?) Students play a scene in which they are the animal (the animals are friends; this is a non-food chain world). They seek to explain the origin question through their character using self-directed narration (i.e.: The student playing the badger would say, “Badger sits on a rock, sunning himself. He turns to his friend alligator and says, ‘Alligator, I do enjoy the sun, but sometimes I wish I could have a break from it.’”) Through the actions and narration of the animal characters, the origin question is answered.

Objectives:

To incorporate and forward suggestions; to explore characters and narration; to listen, heighten and expand; to justify choices within a specific outcome; to multitask within scenework.

Comments:

Students should view the scene as an opportunity to play the character of the animal while also telling a story through it. As this is an origin story, it’s likely that the tone of the scene will either be Biblical or graphic novel-ish in nature. Those are both fine, as long as the student plays them to the hilt. Students might need an example of an origin story to get them going. Essentially, this game is about multitasking character, targeted narrative and the five elements in one go. A good way to expand minds.

Adaptations:

Genres can be put on this exercise as well, so that we might see something like a giraffe and a hare telling the film noir story of the birth of the sun. Stacking elements on one another and seeing how many balls students can keep in the air is the fun of this game. But it’s only fun as long as some creativity can still be found in the world created by all the suggestions.