Tell the Truth!

Tell the Truth!

This is an improvisation based exercise.  It is good for beginners, and only needs to last a few minutes.  This exercise will be done in pairs.  When a pair is doing the exercise the other participants will be observers.  To begin the exercise get from the observers or have prepared characters, a place, and an activity.

Let participants begin the scene.  At moments you feel appropriate, shout out “Tell the truth!”  The person that just said a line must change to something new without hesitation.  Do this several times for both participants.

In reverence, talk about what the truth was or is.  What was more truthful, what you said first or your other options?  Was it hard to remember what “truth” you told?

Adapted from:

McKnight, Katherine S., and Mary Scruggs. The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Truth, evil, insight, change, and Memory and Hope.

Wisdom Mirror

Wisdom Mirror

To begin this exercise break the group up into pairs.  Give the pairs a topic of conversation that you have decided on.  One person in the pair begins to talk about the topic that you have given.  They are the initiator.  The other person in the pair, the follower, mirrors the words that the first partner exactly out loud.  Their goal is to speak the words that the initiator is saying exactly.  After a short time the sidecoach will say “Change” and the follower will now start to be the initator, picking up where the two just left off.  The first speaker will now become the follower and begin to mirror the words of the new initator.  The goal is to have no break in the flow of the conversation.  For example:

Sidecoach:  Ok the topic is meditation.  First speaker begin!

1st Speaker (initiator): Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

2nd Speaker (follower): mirroring speech simultaneously Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

After a period of time

Sidecoach: Change!  Try not to stop the flow.

Change the initiator and follower several more times throughout the conversation.

In reverence, talk about what it was like sharing the conversation.  Was it hard to keep the flow?  Did it get easier as you went along?  Did you begin to know what the other person was going to say?  Did you share some wisdom or learn something new?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: The Sources, Wisdom.  This could work with any theme if you provide it as the topic of conversation.

UUs in Space…

UUs in Space…

This is a basic acting exercise that encourages participants to experience the space around them. To begin tell participants to find their own comfortable position in the space.  They may either sit or lay down, but make sure that they have their eyes open during the exercise.  Closed eyes may mean disconnection from the exercise.  You will guide the participants to be aware by feeling the world around them.  For example:

Sidecoach: Feel ground beneath you (or beneath your feet.)

Feel the ground (chair) on your neck and back.  Where do you touch the ground          (chair?)  Where does the ground (chair) touch you?

Feel your head on the ground.  What does the ground feel like cushioned by your hair? 

                   Feel the air around you.  Is it warm or cool?  Is it humid or dry?

                   Listen to the room.  What do you hear?  Is it loud or quiet?

                   Smell the room.  What does it smell like? 

You can now let participants get up and walk the space.

                   Feel how the ground supports you.  Is it hold you up?

                   Feel the air as you move.  Are you moving it or is it moving you?

                   Feel people as they pass you.  What do you feel as they go by?

In reverence you should talk about what some of the answers were to the questions above or ones that you have added.

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Insight, divinity, mysticism, memory and hope and peace.

To Thine Own Self be Aware

To Thine Own Self be Aware

This is a basic acting exercise that allows the participants to become aware of their own body and feelings.  To begin tell participants to find their own comfortable position in the space.  They may either sit or lay down, but make sure that they have their eyes open during the exercise.  Closed eyes may mean disconnection from the exercise.  You will guide the participants to be aware from the bottom up.  For example:

Sidecoach: Feel your feet inside your socks.

                   Feel your socks on your feet.

                   Feel your feet in your shoes.

                   Feel your legs in your pant legs.

                   Feel your pant legs on your legs.

                   Feel your waist in your pants.  Feel your belt and its tightness.

                   Feel your chest where it touches your shirt.

                   Feel your shirt where it touches your chest.

                   Feel your hair on your head.

                   Try and feel inside your head.

You can go much more in depth than these.

In reverence, talk about what they felt.  Was it different thinking about your socks touching you and you touching your socks?  Did you learn anything about your body today?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Insight, divinity, mysticism, memory and hope and Peace.

Writing For Three

Writing For Three

For this exercise you will need a piece of paper for each group.  The paper should be divided into three columns with a number 1, 2 or 3 and a word or subject at the top of each column.  Begin by dividing participants in to groups of three.  Then you can explain how the game will work.  The participants will sit in a circle and will always pass the paper to their right.  You can either say “pass” or “switch.”  Practice passing the paper so participants get in the habit of just passing to the right.  Now explain that after you tell them to pass, you will say a number of one of the columns.  When they hear the number they should start writing about the word or topic immediately.  Between the three people, they will all write about the topics.  For example:

Writing for 3

Sidecoach: Ok first person ready.  Two!  Write!  (Wait 45 seconds or so) Ok Switch next person!  One! Write! (Wait 45 seconds or so) Ok Switch next person!  Three!  Write! 

You should continue around at least twice and randomly say the numbers.  At the end you should have paper filled with three different people’s writing on the three subjects.  Have the groups read together what they wrote.

In reverence, talk about what it was like writing in a community.  Did they just write their own or did they try to read and add to what was there?  Was one person’s idea of the topic the same or different?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Community, scripture, grace, the sources, learning and growth, common ground.  This would be a good exercise for any of the themes.  Just change the topics to fit that theme.

When I Went to…

When I Went to…

The exercise uses a repeated string of words to build and talk about memory.  To begin the exercise you will want to split the group into groups of about 5-10 people.  More than 10 and the game becomes very challenging.  You can use any place that suits your purpose: RE, Youth Con, Sunday Service, etc.  Here is how the game works:

1st person in circle: When I went to RE I brought a hug.

2nd person in circle: When I went to RE I brought a hug and a chalice.

3rd person in circle: When I went to RE I brought a hug, a chalice, and my guitar.

4th person in circle: When I went to RE I brought a hug, a chalice, my guitar and passion.

The game continues in this way.

 

When teaching the exercise to the very young I start with 8 items and use picture cards to teach the progression. For example:

Sidecoach: When I went to RE I brought a (pull picture card) a cow.

Participant: When I went to RE I brought a cow and (pull a card) igloo.

Sidecoach: When I went to RE I brought a cow, an igloo, and (pull a card) a fish.

And so on up to about 8.  Then I demonstrate closing my eyes and saying all 8 in order and have the student do the same.

 

Then we play without the cards.  I have gone up to 10 items.  In this version the student chooses their item and I choose mine.  I use my fingers on the table to show them a movement to item connection and how it works.  I also like to explain why I make a movement for each thing I remember and relate it to how they might learn sight words.

 

Encourage participants to think of actual things they brought to your location (physical or metaphorical.)  You can also put the game in the future and say something like:

When I go to RE I will bring a…

In reverence, talk about the memories that the game brought up from an actual event.  Or about what the participant will bring next time.

 

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Community and Memory and Hope.

Wisdom at the Bus Stop

This game is a variation on an improv game called Bus Stop. You will need to choose 5 people at a time to do the game.  It works like this.  Ask for suggestions for inspiring people from history, UU or otherwise (fictional is ok.)  Assign each of the 5 people a person.  They will need to think of a voice or movement pattern for that person.  If they don’t know the assigned person, take a moment to explain. Now they are ready to play the game.  It works like this:

The first person comes in to the bus stop as their assigned character.  After a minute or so send in the second person in character.  The first person must take on the character of the second.  Now we have two of the second character.  After a minute or so, send in the third character.  Now the first and second person take on the third character creating three of number three.  Continue this until all five people are acting like the fifth person.  Let that go for a minute or so then pull out the fifth person.  Now they are all back to the fourth.  Then take out the fourth; they all become the third.  Now take out the third; they both become the second character.  Finally, take out the second and leave the first person for a moment.   

So for example:

Person 1: is Abe Lincoln

Person 2: is Mother Teresa

Person 3: is Henry David Theareau

Person 4: is Jesus

Person 5: is MLK

Person 1: enters standing tall and saying “Four score and seven…”

Person 2: enters hunched and giving food out

Person 1 and 2: both are now hunched and giving out food

Person 3: enters quickly talking about how he loves trees and hugging them.

Person 1, 2 and 3: are now running around hugging trees and talking about them.

Person 4: enters pretending to walk on water and make wine.

Person 1,2,3, and 4: are now walking on water and making wine.

And so on from there.  When the 5th person is in it should be

Person 5: enters standing tall and talking about having a dream.

Person 1,2,3,4 and 5: All stand tall and talk about dreams.

Person 5: leaves

Person 1,2,3, and 4: are now walking on water and making wine.

Person 4: leaves

Person 1, 2 and 3: are now running around hugging trees and talking about them.

Person 3: leaves

Person 1 and 2: both are now hunched and giving out food

Person 2: leaves

Person 1: standing tall and saying “Four score and seven…”

 

Great for the themes of: Memory and Hope, The Sources, and Wisdom.