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 Improv Games

Improv Games

Instructions for some of our favorite games.

Party Games/Exercises

Freeze Tag
This game can go on for hours. Two players begin a scene. Try to get out the 'who, what, and where' right off the bat. At any point during the scene, another player can yell "FREEZE." The players will then freeze their body position. The new player will replace and assume the position of either one of the frozen improvisers from the scene. Then a new scene begins based on the new physical positions from the freeze.
Dont' let individual scenes go on too long.

Cocktail Party
Everyone creates a character for this exercise. Everyone in the group simply moves about talking to each other, as if they were at a party, in their character. As each player talks to other players, they will discover things about their character. This is a game in which questions are encouraged.

Musical Jam
Everyone stands in a circle. One at a time, the players will introduce a vocal musical element, layering so that they all fit together. The first few can be rhythm and bass line, and melodies and back-up harmonies come later. This is very free form. Each player should listen and try to make their part fit with the others. If you want, you can take turns singing solos and verses.

Machine
Players create a machine using their bodies in repetitive movements and sounds. Start with one player and add one player at a time. This is a great warm-up and warm-down game.

Performance Games

Replay Scene
Two-three actors perform a short neutral scene. Then they 'replay' the scene imposing different genre on the scene like horror, or science fiction. Emotions and musical styles are also fun to play with here. Repeat the scene with 3 different genres, emotions, or styles.

Returns
One player attempts to return an item to the store with no knowledge of what the item actually is. The shop keeper give hints and leads the guesser eventually and hopefully to making the correct guess. Avoid making guess after guess. Try to figure out before making blatant guesses.

Half-Life
The players do a scene in one minute. Then they must repeat the same scene in 30 seconds. Then they do the same scene in 15 seconds. Then 7 seconds. Then 3 seconds.

New Choice
The actors do a scene. When the faciliator hears something they'd like to change they say 'new choice.' Then the player who just spoke must make a new choice.

Three-Headed Expert
Three players answer questions from the audience, but they can only answer one word at a time. Start with the same person each time, it makes it a lot easier.

Forward/Reverse
Three players do a scene while a facilitator 'remote controls' the scene. When he says "reverse," the players then do the scene in reverse from that point. When he says "forward" again, they go back to forward motion of the scene. All dialogue and actions should be done in reverse. The sentence structure of each sentence stays normal, but the order of the sentences is in reverse.

Expert Interview
One actor interviews another about something they know nothing about. The actor being interviewed must play an expert on the subject and make up details to questions from the interviewer. This is a good game to practice confidence.