Improvisation Games

For students of 8th to 10th grade.

Overview Statement:

Students will explore the use of improvisation games to explore their creative expression. Students will learn how to accept other peoples’ input and learn strategies on how to include new information.

General objectives for unit:
By the end of this unit students will be able to:

•	Extend their creative attention span
•	Explore their creative potential
•	Include input from others
•	Reflect on other people’s creative input
•	Make new work that they otherwise wouldn’t have achieved alone

ACARA Content Descriptions:
Include all applicable ACARA codes and descriptors

Assessment / evidence:
List of ongoing Assessment tasks
50% Involvement in improvisation exercises
50% Involvement in class reflections on the inclusion of others’ ideas

ACARA Cross-Curriculum Priorities:
List applicable

English: invite English classes and teachers to view the presentations of improvised scenes.  

Specific Teaching and Learning Points:
•	Welcome and take roll
•	Guided reflection of what students already know about the topic
•	Warm up games
•	Teacher presentation of course material 
•	Students to explore the improvisation games as listed below. 

Improvisation Games:

What Are You Doing? (warm-up)
Once the circle is formed one player goes into the circle and starts to mime a simple activity. Once the activity has been established one of the players from the circle jumps in and asks "what are you doing?" The player doing the mime responds with some activity other than the one they are doing. If they are mowing the lawn they might say 'filleting a soul.' The player that asked the question starts the activity that was answered (i.e., filleting a soul) and waits to be asked what she is doing. This continues until all have tried the exercise.

Yes And (exercise)
In Yes And the players are constantly saying, 'yes and'. The mechanism goes something like this. One player may start off with, "Your coat is so lovely." The response of the other player could be, "YES AND I made it for you." The other player responds, "YES AND I have a thousand dollars for it." "YES AND I am going to use that money to make a hundred more coats for you." The players must always have the 'yes and' at the beginning of their sentence. This seems contrived and it is. It is remarkable how much easier it is to notice players that insist on controlling the scene. They cannot bring themselves to accept the offer. The most common response is, "yes and but."

Word At A Time (exercise)
Each player in the circle contributes a word into the story. If the first person to speak says "Johnny" the next person could say, "set", the next person would say "out". And so on. This is the most commonly used of all the improv exercises.

Conducted Story (exercise)
The goal of the conducted story is to have the players tell a story that moves seamlessly from one player to another. The goal of the conductor is to make the story flow as well as possible. If the conductor moves from one player to another the new player that is speaking must continue on as though there was no pause. For instance, moves from player "A" who said, "many children were afraid of Carl for he was known to ha.." to player "B", who would continue seamlessly " piles of library books that were overdue." The key is listening. It is a listening exercise. The four players that are not speaking must be listening. They all must have the next word ready to go, and only if they are listening will that word make any sense. The players must also be accepting of what is happening in the story. Forcing their own agenda will show up quickly. Words like, 'but' and 'instead of' reflect someone denies another players offers.

Freeze Tag (game)
At any time during the two person scene that is taking place someone calls out freeze. The two players immediately stop what they are doing and 'freeze' into whatever positions that they were in when the 'freeze' was called. The next player in the line immediately tags one of the players that is frozen on stage and assumes their exact position. This ensures that the player was paying attention to the physical detail of the scene as opposed to just the words. They must be listening with their eyes. Once they assume the position they must start a whole new scene that justifies the position that they are in. This scene must be completely different from the preceding one. This means that they must be paying attention to the scene, so as to assure that their new scene is completely different.

Sit, Stand, Kneel, Lie Down (game)
This scene will have four players. At no time can the players occupy the same position on the stage simultaneously. One player must be lying down, another player must be standing, and so on.

Video Tape Machine (game)
The players will carry out a scene just like any other. The only difference is that someone [host, audience, off-stage player] will have a VCR controller. The controller can be used to fast forward the scene, reverse the scene, slow down the scene, or even worse. The players are recommended to have as simple a story as possible. Everyone must listen closely for the call to alter the tape.