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WARM UPS

Warm-ups are primarily to get your team in the room and out of their heads. These games tend to be a lot of fun for the team. You don’t have to rotate your warm-ups too much; sometimes familiarity with a game can get players to higher levels of awareness. Be sure when warming up your team to do a warm-up that helps the team physically, with attaching to their impulses, and finally with narrative.

Knight, Mount, Cavalier is all about physicalization and support. Make sure your students have stretched!

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

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.

Comments:

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 great energizer and impulse warm up; Big Booty is a positive way to get your group into the idea of failing joyfully while working that improv impulse muscle.

Rules:

Students stand in a horseshoe formation, with the student at the right hand end of the horseshoe dubbed Big Booty. Other students number off from 1, going clockwise starting with the player next to Big Booty.

Students stomp rhythmically, one foot at a time (1,2,1,2) while energetically singing the Big Booty song: “Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.”

Big Booty starts from there, calling his/her own name, followed by “Number” and the number of a player in the horseshoe. For example, the first turn is as follows:

All: Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.

Big Booty: Big Booty Number 5.

Number 5 would then pass to another player as follows, immediately: “Number 5, Number 7.” Number 7 then follows, “Number 7, Number 4,” and so on.

The call can be passed back to Big Booty, but there are no callbacks.

When there is a hesitation or an error, all players (continuing to keep rhythm by stomping) loudly and energetically call “Aw, shoot!”

The player who made the error then joyfully goes to the end of the horseshoe and becomes the last number. All other players move into vacant places left, adopting the number of the place in which they stand. For example, if Number 4 made an error, he/she moves to the end, becoming the last number (say Number 8). Number 5 moves into Number 4’s spot, becoming 4. Six becomes 5, Seven becomes 6, etc. Play continues.

Objectives:

To energize mind, body, and voice, to create group mind and introduce the idea of failing joyfully and supporting one another even in failure.

Comments:

In the outside world, your students will be expected to be right, to always do well, and to apologize for mistakes. Big Booty is a fun, high-energy way to take students away from the real world, where failing is bad, and thrust them into “improv world” where failing is joyfully celebrated.

Adaptations:

Once your students are pro at Big Booty, you can add a dance break to the mix. For example, if Number 4 receives the call, a dance break would look like this:

Number 3: Number 3, Number 4.

Number 4: Number 4, Number 4, BREAK IT DOWN!

The students then create dance music and dance around joyfully for four beats, at which point Number 4 gets things going again: “Number 4, Number 7.” Play resumes from there.

A fun, physical energizer and Brain Fry exercise.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

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.

Comments:

Stress safety, commitment, agreement and fun.

Trifecta is an exercise in attack and idea association that targets impulse, offers and stage pictures all at once!

Rules:

Students create a backline.

With or without a suggestion, a student will step forward and physically create something, announcing what they are. For example, a student might step forward and make fists at their sides, announcing, “I am a fire hydrant.”

A second student then adds to that picture by creating a complimentary idea to the first offer. There should be no hesitation. For example, “I am a dog.” The student might sidle up to the “hydrant” and lift their leg.

A third student then offers a complimentary idea to those two, such as, “I am a hot summer’s day.”

After the third idea has been created, the first student (in this case, the hydrant) will choose one of the other two ideas to take off stage. For example, “I’ll take the dog.” The hydrant and the dog leave the stage.

A new set of ideas begins with the remaining student reiterating what they are, as in, “I am a hot summer’s day.” A new set of two ideas grows from there, related to hot summer’s day but unrelated to hydrant or dog.

The game continues from there, with the first (i.e.: the remaining) student in each trifecta choosing one of the other two and taking them away.

Objectives:

To make offers or add to offers using impulses and not ideas of what is “funny” or “clever.” To create compelling and theatrical stage pictures from nothing.

Comments:

Trifecta works best by moving quickly and with a great deal of attack/salesmanship/performative energy. Students should present their ideas as though to an audience, and as though it were the best idea ever. The pace should be swift and hard-hitting, like a batting cage of ideas, but with a mind to creating great stage pictures, too.

Adaptations:

A more advanced version (which is more an exercise than a warm-up) is to aim for “scene starts” in your trifecta, that is, to create characters, in a space, with a problem or event. For example, if “I am hydrant,” (place) then the next person would be “two new firemen, on their first call,” (characters), and the third would be “a wild, out of control fire.” Basically, if you can see a good scene emerging from it, it’s a great trifecta. The hydrant would still choose someone to take away, and the challenge becomes to find a reason for that element to be in a different scene start. For example, if the “wild, out of control fire” is left, then someone might add, “A totally rockin’ nighttime beach party” (place) and “a couple of surfers,” (people).

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.

A fun word association game.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

One student initiates by pointing at another and asking him or her to say 5 things as fast as he or she can based on a category of his/her choosing: “Five songs you like.”

As the student names off each one, the rest of the class will count along, cheering when five have been said.

The student who just named off five things will then point to another student and name a new category.

Objectives:

To revel in wordplay; to free your mind and commit to the moment; to support your teammates.

Comments:

Encourage speed and not cleverness; the more enthusiastic and attentive the player’s teammates are, the better the player will do. Support! It’s not necessary to be clever, either, or witty. Just to sell the idea and commit.

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!).

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.

A joyful exploration of scene rules and games, and a nice Brain Fry exercise to boot. There are no winners and no losers here!

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

They are instructed to pass a “whoosh” around the circle, which travels through their fingertips and voices to the player to their left.

Once the whoosh has traveled around a few times, introduce the idea of “Whoa,” which is produced by holding up your hands to block a “Whoosh.” When someone says, “Whoa,” the “Whoosh” must switch directions and go the opposite way.

After the students adapt to this, further actions are as follows: Ramp, which is sent over the head of the next player, skipping that player and landing on the next one; Tunnel, which causes the next three players to turn sideways (creating a tunnel through their legs) and landing the next Whoosh four players over; Volcano, which causes all players to run to the middle and erupt outwards and back into the circle, continuing the Whoosh from the last position; Banished!, in which a player points to another and “banishes” him or her from the circle. The banished student then finds a new place in the circle. (Banished can also be used when a student misses a pass or fumbles.)

For more, see the Adaptations section below.

Objectives:

To mentally warm up; to make offers and “sell” them; to fail joyfully; to accept offers and to find the games within the game; to connect to your fellow players through a shared game experience.

Comments:

This game is handy shorthand for the concept of “games” or “rules” that govern scenes. It helps to show that any game or rule can be acceptable within a scene if it is played and accepted to the fullest. The students get the most out of it when they accept that they can’t “win” the game, but they can revel in the playing of it. A great game for teaching the idea that, “There are no bad offers, just bad follow-ups.”

Adaptations:

Once students have adapted to all the different types of rules, they can invent their own, which should be accepted by the rest of the circle and incorporated into regular game play. The student should “sell” the new rule, so that his/her fellow players can be sure to follow up.

Some previous rules which have been “sold” and added include: Baby Pig, in which the player lets a “baby pig” loose to run beneath the feet of all players in the circle, and back into its owner’s arms; Accent/Language/Character/Genre- based Whooshing/Whoa-ing (which is, of course, joyfully copied by the next player); Dance Breaks, and etc. The possibilities are essentially endless. Have fun with it!

 

A quick and easy focus, group mind and teamwork exercise.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

To develop group mind, focus and listening; to embrace the moment.

Comments:

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.

Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.

Rules:

The warm up leader calls out an environment, then loudly counts down from 10. Without discussion or planning the players create and explore the environment using the full space. Players may be objects or people.

Objectives:

To physically explore an improvised environment and all it’s possibilities. To force the improvisors to be present in the space, and work together without discussion to create full functioning environments.

Comments:

Don’t discuss it – do it! Explore all the aspects of the environment. If the environment is a movie theatre, there’s the possibility of popcorn, people to sell the popcorn, moviegoers, screen, seats, any of the myriad objects and persons that make up a movie theatre experience. Watch each other, try to create balanced stage pictures. If you see everyone else trying to be the screen, sit down and watch the movie.

A Brain Fry to the extreme—test your students’ juggling skills.

Rules:

Start with a single circuit: Students stand in a circle.

Students hold one hand in the air. One student points at another, and says, “You,” (or their name, if this is a familiar group). The recipient of the “you” passes it to another student whose hand is still raised, continuing until the last person with their hand raised points back at the first student. This is the first circuit. (It is very important that each student remembers who pointed at him or her and who he or she pointed at.) Repeat the circuit a few times.

After the circuit is established, repeat a few more times without pointing, using only eye contact.

From there, additional circuits can be built, by stopping and having the students put their hands up and pointing at a new circuit partner again. The circuits should start with the same player but continue on different paths. Circuits can be categories of things, or saying your own name to another player (challenging). Once a new circuit has been introduced and practiced, without pointing, the first player can reintroduce the initial circuit.

Continue adding in new circuits as desired (three is initially very challenging; over time as many as 5 or 6 can happen).

If a circuit gets dropped, the offer can be gently remade until it is picked up again. The entire circuit can also be begun again at will.

 

Objectives:

To hone focus, listening and trust; to fail joyfully and support one another; to accept and forward offers; to concentrate on how your small part benefits the whole.

 

Comments:

The director can watch for giggling, or lack of concentration, but allow students to gently keep the circuits on track by themselves (at least, after the first few times). This trains students to work together to keep scenes afloat, and to make clear offers and acceptance. It’s also beneficial in showing students how, even in complicated scenes, they can focus on their small part and still benefit the whole.

This is a variation on a classic performance game…

Rules:

Two players begin a scene. Once the scene is minimally established, an off-stage player yells “freeze”. The on-stage improvisors freeze in their last physical position. The off stage player enters, taps one character out, takes their exact physical position and then justifies it while establishing a new scene. Once this new scene is established, the process repeats itself.

Objectives:

To practice establishing scenes through exploration of environments or activities, and to practice justifying physical positions on the stage.

Comments:

Don’t wait for a great idea, call freeze as soon as the new scene has been established.

Adaptations:

Blind Freeze: Two players on stage, the rest in a line against the back wall. The first improvisor in line turns their back on the stage, and when it sounds as though the scene has been established they yell “freeze.” They then go in and take the position of one of the players, seeing it for the first time, and initiate a new scene.

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.

A simple offers game that can helps prove the “there are no bad choices, just bad follow-ups” adage.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

To make clear and specific offers; to make clear and specific followups to offers; to make offers that are physical instead of verbal.

Comments:

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.

Adaptations:

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.

Word Ball is the first step in adding language into impulse work by way of free association. Similar in structure to Zoom, this game asks players to vocalize their first impulse without hesitation.

Rules:

Students get in to circles of 5-10 standing facing the center. One player starts by saying a word to another player within the circle. The player that receives the word will immediately call out their first impulse without hesitation to another player. Continue the circuit.

Objective:

To connect players to their impulses and to free players from the perceived necessity to be creative.

Comments:

So much focus is made on the end result in improvisation, achieving the fantastic scene, that we forget that the process by which we free original thoughts begins by freeing all thoughts. Spontaneity does not equal originality, and free association games allow players to be spontaneous without trying to be original.

Adaptations:

Word Ball 2: A player receiving the energy from across the circle must pass the energy to either the player on their left or right, and that player may then send the energy across the circle.

Maverick Word Ball: Players roam/run about the room passing words at random. Word Ball Story Players tell a story one word at a time using the Word Ball passing technique.

Rules:

Players find a space in the room. A moderator asks the group to do an activity by calling out “Lets _____.” The group, in unison, all respond by shouting out “Yes, Lets!” The players then proceed individually and silently to explore the activity physically. When the moderator feels the activity has been fully explored the moderator calls out another activity. Objectives: To explore the entire physical environment of an activity.

Comments:

Try this game without sound effects or any dialogue first. your students will be more focused and look at the game with less of an angle of performance.

Horseshoe is a great Brain Fry exercise. Brain Fry games are impossible to win. The joy of the game is in challenging and expanding your ability to focus and concentrate. If you play to win you will only frustrate yourself.

Rules:

Players form groups of 5 – 15 and stand in a horseshoe shaped line facing center. The group numbers off consecutively from one end of the line to the other. The player in position one always starts by calling out another player’s number. The player whose number is called must immediately call out another player’s number (other than the player’s that called theirs… no call backs.) If a player hesitates by laughing, saying “um” or just taking too much time they must move to the end of the line. When a player moves to the end of the line all the players after their number rotate down one number. Position one then quickly calls out another player’s number.

Objectives:

To stimulate connection to impulses within the framework of rules. To get players to a higher state of awareness and presence in the room.

Comments:

Horseshoe can be frustration at best if all you want to do is be good enough at it that you’ll get to the number one position. The fact is that this game is a great exercise to train people that only through relaxation will you FIND (not create) awareness. It is a good rule to keep players eyes up in the game as it is a tendency for players to try and block out visual stimuli by staring at the floor… but the game isn’t happening on the floor. Make sure that they are aware of each other and try to follow (or sense) the flow and become part of it. This may sound very artsy but improvisation is based on communicating impulses and therefore these “Jedi like” senses are necessary. It is also a good idea to have no talking except for the calling out of designations. This will allow for the first position to start the next round immediately when the player leaves to move to the end of the line.

Adaptations:

Once you’ve mastered numbers use other categories such as the alphabet or colours to designate the positions. For an intense Brain Fry combine all three methods.

A word association and disassociation game that puts individual players in the hot seat.

Rules:

Students make a back line, with one student (the “Goalie”) standing facing them.

One by one, students “shoot” words and/or phrases at the Goalie. It’s the Goalie’s job to then fire a word back at the shooter that is associated with the first word.

Students continue to shoot words/phrases in rapid-fire succession at the Goalie, attempting to trip him/her up (to “score”). The challenge for the Goalie is to only associate with the word just shot at him or her, and not with an earlier word.

If the Goalie appears to have associated with an earlier word, or if he or she hesitates or stumbles, then the other players can shout, “Goal!!” Another student then becomes the Goalie.

Continue to play until five goals are scored.

Objectives:

To free the mind from notions of being clever or witty; to encourage a direct response to impulse; to put a player in the hot-seat to train his her performative impulses; to challenge and support fellow players.

Comments:

Goalie is most fun when the Goalie is a team player—prepared, performative, positive and open to offers. This is why the game is sometimes used as “punishment” for players who have been habitually blocking, negative or resistant in rehearsal; it can serve as a wake-up call for the player in question and as a tension releaser for the group.

Adaptations:

The whole game can be reversed in two ways: one, by challenging the Goalie to disassociate from all words; and two, by having one student toss words to the whole lineup of players. The game then becomes a “Red Rover” situation, where the lone player tries to trip up the line, at which point the at-fault player joins him or her on the other side. The game ends when the originally lone player has every other player on his or her side.

A nice beginning warm up to concepts of word association and narration. It’s impulse response, not cleverness that governs here.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

The director may offer a word or suggestion to get going, but they don’t have to.

A student initiates by speaking a headline-style phrase. For example, “Bear bites forest ranger in National Park.”

The player to that student’s left will say another headline, using the last word of the previous headline as inspiration. This should happen very quickly, and without stumbling. “Park gets new swing set; children happy.” “Happy babies 10% more productive, study says,” and so on.

Continue around the circle, aiming for speed and impulse connection, rather than cleverness or witty headlines (though they will definitely happen on their own).

Objectives:

To connect to word association-based impulse and find the benefit in connecting to simple words and phrases, as this is often the basis for good scenework. To free students from their own minds and the idea that it’s wit/cleverness that governs good narrative work.

Comments:

While we are emphasizing simple wordplay here, interesting, strange, dark, twisted and weird (as well as funny) headlines will likely come out of this exercise. The important thing is to encourage a lack of judgment and to celebrate the brain’s wild and wonderful creations.

Adaptations:

Headlines can also make a great exercise, if you want to dig deeper into it. One adaptation involves snapping or verbally approving (“Ooh!” “Aaah!”) when a particularly juicy headline is produced; the student who said it will then step into the middle of the circle. Joined by another player, the two will initiate a scene start based on the headline, which will run for a minute or so before the player next in the circle will offer a new headline (it need not be connected to the previous one).

A more challenging version would be to have students name their “publication,” for example, “The Grumpy Old Man Times.” Their headlines must then come from that point of view. A good character adaptation.

An opportunity for students to let loose vocally and physically, Samurai is a great way to break the students’ bond to the outside world and welcome them, ninja-style, to the improv world.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

Each creates a Samurai “sword” by putting their hands together, palm-to-palm.

Raising his/her “sword” above his/her head, an improviser lets out a classic ninja yell and brings his/her hands down, “stabbing” across the circle at another improviser.

When the first Samurai has their “sword” up, the other Samurais to his/her right and left have an opportunity to use their own “swords” to stab the first Samurai’s soft underbelly. They will let out a yell when they do so, bringing their arm-swords across the first Samurai’s belly in a lateral motion (they do not actually touch the person, just cut across).

Once the “stab” has been passed, the receiver will raise their sword and let out a yell while passing the stab to another player. The players on his/her left will attack the players belly while shouting, as with the first Samurai.

Play continues until players are thoroughly riled up.

Objectives:

To warm up physically and vocally and get in touch with impulses; to get energized and excited about improv; to let loose and let go of inhibitions.

Comments:

Sometimes it’s hard for us to let go of the stresses of the day and the habits related to looking cool and looking good. Screaming your little Samurai heart out is a good way to get over this.

Physical warm ups shouldn’t only be about students being prepared and comfortable in their own bodies; rather, they should also be about learning to be comfortable sharing spaces with one another. Three Noses tackles that notion head-on (pun fully intended).

Rules:

Students walk loosely around the room, with no specific pattern or aim.

The director or a chosen caller will announce a number and a body part (remind students to keep it clean and possible), for example, “3 noses!”

Students must then group up and touch the called body parts together (safety first!).

This can manifest in lots of different ways, for example: “4 right legs,” can be different than “4 legs.” Challenge your players.

Objectives:

To get physically warmed up; to connect with other students in the room and to be aware of space can be shared on stage; to joyfully and generously work together to achieve goals; to accept offers of all kinds, whether physical, verbal or otherwise.

Comments:

Stress that students should use good judgment and caution when coming together, but that enthusiasm is key. Students should treat the game like a “hot potato” situation—they need to jump on the offer of their fellow players’ nose or leg and joyfully add to it with their own nose or leg.

A physical warm-up that also works on group mind. Rules: Students arrange themselves in a “flying V” with one person at the front of the stage and the others staggered behind them, like a flock of birds. Player at the front begins leading a dance (either to a stereo or to music that they hum or sing themselves). The other players follow the leader, duplicating their movements as closely as possible. After 15-20 seconds (or when the song changes, if you’ve got a stereo and a “DJ”), a new leader moves into the front until each player has had a chance to try leading. Objectives: To attack and commit to the moment; to be aware of leadership and to take initiative; to let go of habitual physicality and be aware of physical offers; to share the stage. Comments: Flock dance is about finding a balance between leaders and followers, so in as much as followers should be aware of the leader, so should the leader be aware of his/her followers and ensure that they are supported. Safety is also a concern, as the flock will be watching the head bird. Also, this is a silly physical warm-up. Stress the silliness and the commitment required to make it work.