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.

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.

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.

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.

Who Started the Movement?

Who Started the Movement?

To begin this exercise get all participants in a circle.  Send one person out of the room who will be the seeker.  Once the seeker is gone, choose one person to be the leader who will start the motion.  Call the seeker back in and put them in the center of the circle where they will try to discover the leader who is leading the other people in the circle to do different motions.  Everyone in the circle follows the leader.  The leader may change the movement as much as they like.  When the seeker figures out who the leader is, the seeker may choose a new seeker.  When the new seeker leaves the room the leader may choose a new leader.

In reverence, talk about what it was like trying to find the leader or be the leader.  What was it like to have the job of leading everyone?  Was it easier to follow?  How did you find the leader?  Was that a hard job?

Adapted from:

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

 

Great for the themes of: Vocation and justice

Also a great warm up.

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.

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.

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.