Steered Story

Steered Story

To begin this exercise divide the participants into groups of 5 to 8.  One group will go at a time with the others being observers.  Members of the group should stand in a semi-circle facing the sidecoach and observers.  Make sure it isn’t a line, but a semi-circle.  This allows the participants to see and listen to one another better.

The side coach will ask for or provide a topic for the story.  Once the topic is chosen, the sidecoach will sit on the floor in front of the semi-circle.  The sidecoach will point to one person who will start the story.  When that person has told a portion of the story, the sidecoach will signal that person to stop while pointing to another person in the line.  That person will pick up the story without hesitating, even if it was in the middle of a sentence or word.  Go through until each person has gone about twice.

In reverence, talk about what it was like making the story.  Was it a good story?  Did it have a beginning, middle and end?  How did the story change or stay the same between people?

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: Myth, the sources, Creativity, Imagination, and scripture.

Three’s a Crowd

Three’s a Crowd

To begin this exercise split the group up into smaller groups of three.  You may want to do each group of three one at a time with the other members of the group as watchers.  You can do all the groups at once, but make sure that they are not close together.  This exercise is meant to be somewhat confusing and many people talking at once could make it even more so.  Put the three participants in a line like so:

threes company

Give the people on the ends two different topics to discuss with the person in the center.  Explain that the person in the center has the job of listening and conversing with both people at once.  Remind the people on the ends that they should avoid questions and try not to talk about the same thing as the other person on the end.  They should have the conversation with the person in the center as if the other person on the end did not exist.

Make sure that each person in the trio is able to be in the center.

In reverence, talk about what it was like listening to and participating in both conversations.  Did you miss important information?  Do you know what both people said?  Was it too complicated to keep up?  How was it different than a simple conversation with one person?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Simplicity, wisdom, and myth.  This could work with any theme if you provide it as the topic of conversation.

Big Thoughts Little Words

Big Thoughts Little Words

In this simple exercise, participants use the size of a word to understand its importance.  Each participant will need a piece of paper or a spot on a white or chalk board.  Ask participants to write an important word on the paper as large as they can.  Tell them to fill the whole paper or spot on the board with the word.

Next have them flip the paper or erase the board and write the word as small as they can.

You can use words you are talking about or even phrases in this activity.  Also, you can do this with as many words or phrases as you would like.

In reverence, talk about how the meaning of the word changed when its size changed.  Do some words seem like they need to be big or small?  How did it feel to write the word or phrase in different ways?  What power do the words have big or small?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.

It’s Greek to Me

It’s Greek to Me

For this exercise, you will need one person who is in on the trick.  One will be the “Philosopher” and one will be the “Reader.”  Send the reader (your plant) out of the room and decide as a group on a short word.  For example, Love.  The reader comes back in and the philosopher, who has a pointer or wand, spells out the word starting sentences with the consonants and tapping out a code for the vowels with the pointer.  The vowel code is:

A- One tap

E- Two taps

I- Three taps

O-Four taps

U-Five taps

So for our example Love:

Sidecoach: Listen carefully to get the word. (This gives the L)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer four times (This gives O)

Sidecoach: Very carefully watch my pointer (This gives the V)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer twice (This gives the E)

Reader: The word is Love.

Now the rest of the group can try to be readers and discover the trick.

In reverence, talk about how this relates to things we read.  Do we have to decipher it like this?  What do we take out of what we read?  Can scripture, readings, or stories be hard to interpret?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.