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.

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.

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.

Changing Three

Changing Three

To begin this exercise, have the group divide up into pairs.  All the pairs will do the exercise simultaneously.  Have the partners choose who will go first and who will go second.  Once that is decided, the person going second will observe their partner noting their dress, accessories, shoes, etc.  Then the second person will turn around and close their eyes.  The first person will now make three changes to their appearance.  Untie a shoe, move their watch, move a beret, take off their glasses, etc.  When they are ready, they will have their partner turn back around and see if they can find the three changes.

Once the first pair has switched so both people could guess, have the pairs mix up and try it with a new person.

In reverence, talk about noticing changes.  Were big changes or little ones harder to see?  Did you find you got better at observing as the exercise went on?  How are you at noticing changes in your life?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Change, transcendence/transformation, and insight.

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.

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.

Holding up a Mirror

Holding up a Mirror

This exercise is to give the player a sense of their unity with another person.  To begin the exercise, pair up the participants.  You can do one pair at a time if you choose, but I prefer to have everyone do it together as to not be embarrassed.  Tell them that they need to decide who will be the initiator and who will be the mirror.  Tell them not to worry everyone will get to do both.  Tell the initiator to begin making small movements.  The other person will mirror every movement the initiator makes.  For example:

Sidecoach: Alright initiator ready.  Reflect!

After a few moments

Sidecoach: Change initiators!

Have them change several times and feel free to tell them to start making the movements bigger and use their whole body. If you do this, remind participants the goal is not to do something that the other person can’t do to make them fail.  When you are ready say:

Sidecoach: Choose the initiator on your own.  Keep reflecting.

The participants will shift back and forth without saying who the initiator is.

In reverence, talk about what it was like being a reflection of someone else.  What was it like moving like someone else?  What did it feel like?

 

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Grace, Transcendence/Transformation, Common Ground and Insight.