Outward Sight

Outward Sight

This is a simple exercise to hone the participant’s use of their sight.  To begin the exercise have participants sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair or on the floor.  If you would like, you can bring various objects and place them around the room, or just have the participants focus on objects already in the room.  Sidecoach the participant to extend their sight in different directions without moving their head, just their eyes.  For example:

Sidecoach:      Send your sight out into the world around you.  Your sight is a part of you.

                        Send your sight out to the middle of the room.

                        Allow an object to come into focus.  Let the object be seen and let it see you.

                        Keep changing objects around the room.

                        Move your eyes as far right as you can, not your head just your eyes.

                        Move them as far left as you can. As far up.  As far down.

                        Try to see behind you.  Don’t move your body or head, but see behind you.

In reverence, talk about what you saw.  What was it like truly seeing things around the room?  Do you see well or wear glasses/contacts?  How could you do this if you were or are blind?  How is actual vision the same or different than the vision that is our theme?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Vision, insight, divinity, simplicity.

The Everything Ball

The Everything Ball

This is a basic imagination, creativity and mime game. Before the exercise prepare by getting used to miming a ball that can be changed.  As the sidecoach you should be well acquainted with some of the mime before you teach it to others.  Begin by getting the participants into a circle or surround the space.  Tell them that you are going to give them an amazing gift.  An Everything Ball.  Take the everything ball out of your pocket or out of an empty bag.  Explain that this is your everything ball and that it is amazing because it can be anything and everything.  Take a moment to rip off a small piece of your ball and give it to each of the participants.  Asking them to hold out their hand to receive it.

Try not to use the words imagine or pretend.  It should be as if the ball was a thing that really existed and it is not a question.  Here are some things you can do with your ball to start:

Sidecoach:      Let’s make our ball the size of a tennis ball.  You will need to stretch it from the piece I gave you.

                        Let’s throw our ball up in the air and catch it.

                        Let’s bounce our ball on the ground.

                        Let’s make our ball the size of a beach ball.  Bounce it up in the air on your hand.

                        Now our ball is as heavy as a bowling ball.  Wow that is heavy.  Now it feels like a small boulder.  Remember to lift with your legs.

Once you have gone through some basics of the ball you can begin to make it into anything that fits your purpose.  For example:

Sidecoach:      Let’s make our ball into a hammer to build a new home for someone that needs it.  Use your hammer.

                        Let’s make our ball into sandbags to stop a flood.  Stack your sandbags.

                        Let’s make our ball into a machine that will end hunger.

                        Let’s make our ball into something that make bad actions good ones.

And so on for as many as you would like.  Make sure at the end of the exercise participants put their Everything Ball into their own pocket or bag to take with them.

In reverence, talk about the power of the Everything Ball.  What other problems could it fix?  Do you have a visible tool that you could use?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Imagination, Creativity, Justice, Ultimacy, Salvation, Preparation, Divinity, and Evil.

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.

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.

Listening to the World

Listening to the World

This is an exercise to take in and appreciate the wisdom of the world around us.  It also helps participants work on listening skills, a key element in empathetic understanding.

The exercise is very simple.  Have the participants sit for one minute in silence taking in all the sounds in the immediate area.  When the minute is up discuss what sounds people heard and compare from person to person how the sounds were the same or different.

In reverence, discuss what wisdom can come from simply listening to the world around us.  How well do we really listen?  Do we choose not to listen?  Perhaps we could take one minute each day to listen to the world around us.

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Divinity, Peace, Simplicity, and Wisdom.

Practicing No Motion

Practicing No Motion

In this exercise, participants will focus on stillness in a new way.  To begin the exercise you will teach the idea with a basic movement.  Have the participants simply stand and raise their arms from their sides to about shoulder level.

Now have them do the same movement again but stopping and breaking up the movement as if it were stills in a film strip.  Taking several pauses in the flow of the movement.

This can be done with any movement.  You can use everyday movement they know well like brushing their teeth, taking a drink, opening a door, etc.  Also try fast movements they may know like shooting a basketball, waving at friend, etc.  You may also want to try walking the space in the same way.

In reverence, discuss what it was like finding stillness in the everyday movements and how they could do this every day.

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Brokenness, Divinity, Simplicity, and Spiritual Practices

Seeing as the Divine

Seeing through Object-Seeing as the Divine

In this exercise, participants will get to imagine themselves as the divine looking at and through the world.  Begin by explaining that as a UU we believe that anyone can be an example of the divine and that a divine sight is available to them.  To start the exercise, you may want to have the participants look through a nearby window and describe what they see.  This is a nice warm up.  Once they have the idea you can expand the idea further.  For example:

Sidecoach: Alright, let’s begin by reaching out with our sight to somewhere you know well.  Take your sight through the walls and to the outside.  I want you to take your sight down the streets all the way to your house.  Think about what you see on your way home.  What does it look like outside?  Who is on the street?

Go through the walls of your home and look around.  What does your house look like?  Is there anyone there?  What are they doing there?

Etc.

You can visit many different places and situations.  Here are some places they could take their sight:

A friend’s house

Somewhere that is experiencing a social injustice (definitely talk about the people there)

To someone that is sad, happy, elated, in pain, in grief, etc.

Somewhere that a person is helping.

There are many more options.  In reverence, talk about what it was like to have divine sight.  Did seeing something make them want to take action?  How did they feel?  Etc.

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Divinity, Imagination, and Justice