Kitty Wants a Corner

Kitty Wants a Corner

This is a standard acting exercise.  Begin by getting participants in a circle or surrounding the space.  One person will be in the middle and go up to people in the circle to say “Kitty wants a Corner.” To which the person in the circle will say “Ask my neighbor.”  The Kitty then moves to the next person and says the same phrase.  The people in the circle’s goal is to switch places with someone in the circle while the Kitty is asking for a corner.  The Kitty’s goal is to take the place of someone that is switching.  The person that is left in the middle if the Kitty gets their spot is the new Kitty.

In reverence, talk about how this relates to hospitality.  Have you ever sent someone to a “neighbor” instead of helping them yourself?  How did it feel to be the one asking for help?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Hospitality, Common Ground, Salvation, Community, Covenant, and Compassion.

Also a great Warm up.

The Space Between the Stars

The Space Between the Stars

To begin this exercise split the group in half.  One half will do the exercise and the other half will be the watchers alternately.  With the first group, explain that they will start by individually putting their hands about 2 inches apart and move them together around the space.  Their hands can go anywhere, as long as they stay about 2 inches apart.  Tell the watchers to focus on the space between the hands.  Once they have done this for a few minutes switch groups and let the watchers do the exercise.

Next switch back to the first group and have pairs of people put their hands about 2 inches apart and do the exercise together.  Again remind the watchers to see the space between the hands.  Let the second group do the same after a few minutes.

You can build up however you would like, but the goal should be that at the end of the exercise, the entire group should be doing the movement together.  Make sure that they keep their hands about 2 inches apart.  This will become more complicated as more people are working together.

In reverence, talk about what it was like keeping the distance, but moving together.  Was it hard to keep the space?  What did the watchers see in the space between?  What did the participants feel in the space?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Common Ground, Divinity, Mysticism, Grace, Community, and Covenant.

One Part in a Whole

One Part in a Whole

In this exercise participants will work as whole to do a group activity.  To begin separate participants into groups of 5 to 10.  Participants choose one person to be the leader.  The leader will secretly choose a group activity and begin doing an activity that relates.  As the participants realize what the activity they join in doing a part of it.  For example, if the activity is building a house, the leader starts by miming cutting wood.  The next player hammers nails, the next puts up a door, etc. Tell participants to focus more on the movement and not using dialogue.

In reverence, talk about what it was like working as a whole.  How was it like the covenant in class?  Did everyone think it was the same activity?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Covenant, common ground, vocation, community, Hospitality.

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.

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.

A Young UU

The Ministers Cat/A Young UU

This is an alphabet based rhythm game to get participants thinking about inspiring adjectives for a young UU. To begin this game you will want to split the larger group into smaller groups of about 5-10.  Now teach the rhythm for the game.  At a fairly slow tempo, pat your legs then clap.  The rhythm is:

Pat, clap, pat, clap, pat, clap, and so on.

I like to keep doing the rhythm as I explain the rest of the game.  You can just stop if you would like once you think they have the rhythm.  Explain that they will always use the words:

A Young (pat on young) UU is ______ (Pat on the word in the blank.)

Practice this a few times.

Now explain that they will be using each letter of the alphabet to create a word in the blank.  Then the next person in the circle will use the next letter of the alphabet to create their adjective.  For example:

1st person: A Young UU is Awesome

2nd person: A Young UU is Bold

3rd person: A Young UU is Caring

And so on.  “Ex” words can be used for “X.”  When you get to “Z” start at the beginning of the alphabet once again.

If the rhythm gets in the way of the words drop it.  It is much more important that the words are said.

 

Great for the themes of: Change, Common Ground, Community, Preparation, and Vocation.