It’s In the Cards

 It’s In the Cards

To begin this exercise divide the participants into groups of about 8 to 15 people.  Give each participant a random playing card.  Tell the participants to think of a type of person or character that would match the status of card’s place in the deck.  For example, if a person has a King they might think of a powerful politician or a rich celebrity.  If the person has a two, they might think of someone in poverty living on the street or someone shy and awkward.  Explain that the participants will mingle in character for a few minutes.  Remind them that they are not to tell who they are, but rather show it. Tell them to think about how the status of the character makes them move, walk, talk, even breath.

After a several minutes of mingling ask the participants to line up from lowest in the deck to highest.

In reverence, talk about what it was like exploring status.  Were they able to arrange themselves correctly at the end? What was it like to be low in status?  High in status?  How did people of differing status interact?

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: Wisdom, Evil, Salvation, truth, Brokenness, Economy, and insight.

Reverend Know it All

Reverend Know it All

To begin this improvisation based exercise break the participants into groups of three.  People that are not in a group of three that is the reverend will be the congregation watching and asking questions.  The three people will take questions, moderated by the sidecoach, on a topic.  After the question is asked, each person will give one word at a time to answer the question.  For example:

Sidecoach: Ok the reverend is an expert in wisdom.  Who has a question about wisdom?

Congregation Member: How do you get wisdom reverend?

Person 1: You

Person 2: get

Person 3: wisdom

Person 1: by

Person 2: doing

Person 3: a

Person 1: bunch

Person 2: of  

Person 3: stuff.

Each group should answer a few questions, depending on the size of the group.

In reverence, talk about how they answered together.  Was it hard or easy knowing what to say next?  Was your answer true?  Was your answer what you thought it was going to be?

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: Wisdom, the sources, truth, and insight.

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.

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.

Touch and be Touched, See and be Seen

Touch and be Touched, See and be Seen

The purpose of this game is for participants to fully engage themselves in the community around them.  You will need to bring some objects to the session for this exercise.  You can bring items that relate to your theme, items specific to Universal Unitarianism (ie. A chalice,) or just every-day objects.  To begin, define a space in the room you are working in for the participants to use and set the objects out randomly in the space.  You will tell the participants that they will be walking the space and trying to truly feel and see the things around them.  This means not only the items that you have brought, but the space itself and everything in it.  Tell them to begin walking the space.  After a few moments of just walking have them stop and touch an item.  For example:

Sidecoach:  Ok, now pause and touch the nearest item.  As you touch it and begin to feel it against your skin, know that it is touching you.  Let it touch and feel you the way you feel it.

You can do this with several items.  On each item give participants a minute or so to try and feel each item.  After a few items, the participants will touch another person.  For younger people, it might be necessary to say something about only touching on the hand and appropriately.  However, in general they can touch anywhere that is respectful.  For example:

Sidecoach: Ok now pause and touch someone standing near you.  Allow the person to touch you too.

You can do this several times and with several different people.  Now you will repeat the process with seeing.  Begin again with items, reminding participants to let the item see them as well.  Then you can tell participants to look at another person and see them while letting them see you.

In reverence, talk about what it was like feeling something and what that was like.  What was it like touching a person and letting them touch you?  What was it like trying to truly see an object?  What about a person?  Was it hard to look at a person and trying to see them?

 

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, Ultimacy, Mysticism, Vision, Truth, Common Ground, and Insight.

Streets and Alleys

Streets and Alleys-To begin select a “Seeker” and a “Truth.”  All other players form ranks by standing in equal lines with their arms extended sideways or shoulder high. The seeker then chases the muse.  At a signal from you, all the people in rows turn a quarter turn right blocking the progress of the seeker and muse.  At the signal “Streets” the people in rows face you and form the lines you put them into originally.  At the Signal “Alleys” The people turn the quarter to the right.  Neither a seeker nor Muse can crash through a roadblock.  When the seeker tags the muse the both may choose their own replacements. Below is a diagram to help:

streetsalleys

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Evil, Preparation, Truth