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 quick and easy focus, group mind and teamwork exercise.
Have students stand in a tight circle, shoulder to shoulder (or with arms around each others’ shoulders, if students are comfortable with one another).
Students look down and count to 21 by having one person at a time randomly contributing one number. There is no pattern to it, and students are expected to contribute the next number when appropriate (they may, for example, say two numbers in a row if the need is there).
If students speak at the same time, have them start over from one.
To develop group mind, focus and listening; to embrace the moment.
Beyond the objectives, Numbers is also an opportunity to demonstrate that each performer is contributing to the success of the game, much like in scene work. There must be give and take by every member of the group in order to be successful. When the group isn’t working as a whole even something as simple as counting to 21 can be an enormous challenge. Numbers can therefore be a humbling experience for teams who think they’ve got it all together when they don’t. Numbers must be said with confidence, and no other talking or communication should be allowed. Watch for habitual patterns in the game, and try to change them.
A vocal warm up that doubles as an icebreaker and impulse warm up. Great opening warm up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 11, 2009
Because is an excellent game to show the difference between horizontal narrative offers and vertical narrative offers. Vertical narrative offers advance the scene. Horizontal narrative offers take the scene sideways, often derailing a scene completely.
Players circle or pair up. First player makes a statement (e.g. “The dishwasher was broken.”) The second player then replys by starting with “Because…” inserts the first players’ statement… and then adds to the story with another offer (e.g. “Because the dishwasher was broken Janet was running out of dishes.”) The next player then repeats the last line, starting with “Because…” and adds another offer to the story. This continues until all of the story elements are covered.
To eliminate the problem of shelving caused by horizontal narrative offers.
Make sure your group uses all of the offers, not just the last offer made, as it will remind them of the focus.
The next step in status work—observation and changing of habitual status.
Students create a backline. Have each improviser enter the playing area with an obvious status choice. Once you feel they have clearly established status, ask the next improviser to take a turn. Have each student try high and low status at least once.
To use simple physical changes to indicate status; to establish strong status at the beginning of scenes.
Director should push students to play a status they are uncomfortable with or use the least. More advanced students can try playing a low status character who behaves in a high status way and vice versa, to show the subtleties of status and how it can manifest in scenes.
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.
Audience members or team-mates provide the locomotion for the improvisers on stage. Improvisers may not move any part of their own bodies (except to provide dialogue by moving their mouths). Movers should put the “puppets” in challenging positions, and puppets should challenge the puppeteers with their verbal endowments.
To improvise and justify a complete scene within the rules of the game. This game focuses on the team’s story telling ability.
Be ready for anything. Tell a STORY: this game risks becoming a series of justifications with no through line. Focus on the elements of story structure, while staying within the rules of the game.