Theatre Games

Growing old together

One game I invented which I find great for acting classes of any ages is my growing old together exercise game. You need a minimum of three participants in a group and everybody in the class should be split into groups with that minimum of at least three in a group. The parameters of the game has nothing to do with winning or losing as much as it does have a kinship with long form improvization.

To prepare. The class can form a circle on the floor and each member of the class takes turns giving a short characterization of different stages of a human being's life span. First they must act out a brief vignette of a baby's life from the point of view of the baby, then as a toddler, followed by a child a teen, an adult and a senior citizen. The reason we have each person take turns doing this is so the others in the circle can build on it. Of course if someone is to shy to do this, we don't make them participate, but surprisingly, very few people balk at this.

In doing this we have established the participant's individual views on the different stages of life. It is revealing in that different age groups portray different generations generally as hilarious stereotypes. Younger children will generally view adults as angry, or overworked. It reveals a lot about the participants' perception of the world.

Group Improv. Next we form into groups and each group must develop a scene with these different stages of life. They must have personalities and relationships that naturally develop through the different stages. The participants must maintain their characters and see where they would logically go. They must also act and react with each other. For larger groups it is important that they not all speak at once.

Story has obvious beginning and an end. What is a great fit for story-telling is that with babies beginning the scene and seniors ending it, the story arc has a natural beginning and an end with a possible middle, depending on the skill of those involved.

Important to take time. It is important for the groups to take enough time to polish their improv, as the more work put into it developing characters, relationships and ages, as well as creating a story, the better the improv will be. It is not so much about being quick-witted, as it is about developing the building blocks of a scene without a script that actors need to pay attention to. It is a team-building exercise that emphasizes differences and relationships, that emphasizes character building and focus, while celebrating that great acting fusion of acting and reacting.

Look for more theatre games as we continue to expand our website



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