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.

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.

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.

Wisdom at the Bus Stop

This game is a variation on an improv game called Bus Stop. You will need to choose 5 people at a time to do the game.  It works like this.  Ask for suggestions for inspiring people from history, UU or otherwise (fictional is ok.)  Assign each of the 5 people a person.  They will need to think of a voice or movement pattern for that person.  If they don’t know the assigned person, take a moment to explain. Now they are ready to play the game.  It works like this:

The first person comes in to the bus stop as their assigned character.  After a minute or so send in the second person in character.  The first person must take on the character of the second.  Now we have two of the second character.  After a minute or so, send in the third character.  Now the first and second person take on the third character creating three of number three.  Continue this until all five people are acting like the fifth person.  Let that go for a minute or so then pull out the fifth person.  Now they are all back to the fourth.  Then take out the fourth; they all become the third.  Now take out the third; they both become the second character.  Finally, take out the second and leave the first person for a moment.   

So for example:

Person 1: is Abe Lincoln

Person 2: is Mother Teresa

Person 3: is Henry David Theareau

Person 4: is Jesus

Person 5: is MLK

Person 1: enters standing tall and saying “Four score and seven…”

Person 2: enters hunched and giving food out

Person 1 and 2: both are now hunched and giving out food

Person 3: enters quickly talking about how he loves trees and hugging them.

Person 1, 2 and 3: are now running around hugging trees and talking about them.

Person 4: enters pretending to walk on water and make wine.

Person 1,2,3, and 4: are now walking on water and making wine.

And so on from there.  When the 5th person is in it should be

Person 5: enters standing tall and talking about having a dream.

Person 1,2,3,4 and 5: All stand tall and talk about dreams.

Person 5: leaves

Person 1,2,3, and 4: are now walking on water and making wine.

Person 4: leaves

Person 1, 2 and 3: are now running around hugging trees and talking about them.

Person 3: leaves

Person 1 and 2: both are now hunched and giving out food

Person 2: leaves

Person 1: standing tall and saying “Four score and seven…”

 

Great for the themes of: Memory and Hope, The Sources, and Wisdom.