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!
December 10, 2009
A simple offers game that can helps prove the “there are no bad choices, just bad follow-ups” adage.
Students pair off and find a place in the room where other pairs won’t distract them.
Taking turns, one student presents the other with a mimed gift. This happens silently. The gift can be any shape, weight, or physical dimensions that the giver would like.
The receiver takes the gift and mimes exactly what it is (he or she may unwrap or accept the gift in any manner they wish). Once the gift is established, the students trade places and give and receive again.
This continues until players have had a chance to give and accept several gifts.
To make clear and specific offers; to make clear and specific followups to offers; to make offers that are physical instead of verbal.
Again, the focus is not on creativity or cleverness but rather on giving and receiving offers that are accepted and added to by fellow players.
Advanced groups can perform an entire mime devoted to a gift, one that indicates the giver and receiver’s relationship, the environment and circumstance of the giving. Gibberish can be added to help move scenes along.
Presents can also be played in a blind line, to test the offer-making skills of your students by passing the same present between students who have their backs turned until it is handed to them. Once you moved down the line, ask each student what present they thought they received vs. what the present actually was. A good lesson in offers
A fun, physical energizer and Brain Fry exercise.
Players stand in a circle, with one player in the centre (the Kitty).
The Kitty approaches one of the players and says, “Kitty wants a corner,” The player who was asked responds with, “Ask my neighbour” and points to the player on his/her left or their right. The Kitty then moves to ask the person the player has indicated.
At the same time, any two other players can silently make eye contact and (when they have connected) quickly switch places across the circle. This almost always occurs behind the Kitty’s back.
If the Kitty (who is busy asking for a corner) notices players switching places and is able to take one of their spots in the circle, the player who lost their spot becomes the new Kitty.
To have fun, to play, and to commit to a moment; to communicate non-verbally with other players and to come to an agreement to create something new; to sharpen awareness.
Stress safety, commitment, agreement and fun.
December 11, 2009
A simple exercise in group awareness and physical responsiveness.
One player enters and begins a repetitive sound and action. Once that is established, a second improviser comes up and takes a position relative to the first, beginning a different repetitive sound and action. Each improvisor enters and becomes part of the machine. After the machine is established, performers may freeze and identify the machine (i.e. “Oh, it’s a top spinner and tabbouleh mixer.”)
To increase group awareness. To practice making, incorporating and justifying physical offers.
When in doubt, keep it simple.
October 21, 2014
An exercise focusing on stakes as a part of the Five Element basic scene structure.
The players stand in a circle, the first player gives a location, “A computer lab.” The next player gives a brief description of two characters in the location, “A hotshot student hacker and an unprepared substitute teacher.” The next player gives a problem or conflict, “The student keeps interrupting the teacher to correct him.”
Then, all of the players in the circle give compounding stakes, try to keep going until the group runs out of steam, “The teacher is under review and needs the students to perform well,” “The student is trying to impress a girl in class to get a date to the Spring Fling,” “The school will scrap the computer science program if the class doesn’t work out,” “Google is recruiting for lavish internships and is auditing the class,” etc. Once the stakes have been fully explored, one final student can offer a solution, “The teacher convinces the student that they should work together to make each other look good.”
To explore many different types of stakes: positive, negative, personal, antagonist, narrative and global.
Make sure students are making a single problem and expanding on why it is important to be resolved. Encourage them to explore positive stakes as well as negative; what good things will happen if they succeed as well as what bad things will happen if they fail?
December 11, 2009
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.
December 10, 2009
A restriction game.
This scene has 26 lines. Each line of dialogue must begin with the next sequential letter of the alphabet. There is no real need to start with ‘A’. Ask for the starting letter from the audience.
To work within the limitations of the rule and still create a full story.
Don’t allow the rules of the game to dominate the scene – the “stunt” version over emphasises the letter progression. The challenge is to create a full STORY in which each consecutive line of dialogue just happens to begin with the next letter of the alphabet. Trust yourselves.
Every line spoken on stage must start with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet. This challenges the tendancy with this game to use long paragraphs of exposition to advance the story to avoid the structure of the game.
Each character on the stage gets a letter: all of their lines must begin with this letter.
Alliteration: each character gets a letter, then has to use that letter as many times as possible within the scene.