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FUNdamentals of the creative Improv Play Workout
Marcia Singer © 2000

ACT ONE - Warm Ups, Cool Downs

Cable Show Actors Focus is on the readiness to play, interact, explore. Emphasis is on preparing oneself as The Instrument of creative impression and expression -"tooning up" in dingo lingo. Loosening up, flexibility, relaxation and equilibrium are emphasized. Interactions with other players are light, often superficial or ritualized as we begin. Games for getting in touch with the physical (body play), emotional (emo play)., mental (mind play) and energy bodies ("shakti play") are included. (May be called Wild Anatomy induction).

IMPORTANT GUIDE POINTS: focusing on the process, the moment, rather than a goal such as performance, winning, gaining approval. Focusing on the exercise itself decreases self-consciousness, judgmentalness and self criticism. If done as directed, players effect a meditative orientation Bmindful and heartful awareness.

GAME 1A - SAYING OUR PLAYERS (Aka Name Games) (loosening up, getting acquainted) Players form a circle. They take turns announcing their names one by one around the circle once or twice. Next, an ATTITUDE is added. Body language will tend to follow along.

GAME 1B - ECHO-MIRROR (getting acquainted, active listening skills with mind , body, emotion). Players form a Circle. Moves either to left or to right. Each turn takes 20-30 seconds, as each player tells about how s/he is feeling and is mirrored visually and echoed auditorally by the whole group. The reciter must deliver her info in bite sized chunks, so that the group can follow. Focus each player taking his turn is on the chunking effect, and making contact with the group. The group's focus is on imitation of all mannerisms and vocalization. This exercise helps create a group bond and support, and a feeling of equality, as both shy and outgoing players are equally imitated.

GAME 4 1D - MY USELESS TALENT -Each player comes center circle and invents/shows us a useless talent s/he has. Object is to make up something silly, useless or impractical -absurd. Exercise tends to relieve players of some of their fear of losing face by being uninventive or >stupid.=

GAME 1G - WHAT'S THIS/FOR? Ordinary or unusual items are passed around the circle. Each player is to invent a usage and show or tell us about it. Examples are a frisbee becoming a chip on one's shoulder, a UFO or a new hat. Coach the players to refrain from pre-determining what they will do Ba very great tendency. Note how this urge removes us from the moment of true play, and organic flow from player to player.

ACT TWO - Extensions

In this next group of games and processes, players will be at"toon"ing more to self in relation to others. The exercises may be more complex, requiring more skill in being present and noticing.

GAME 2G : "YES, AND..." This is a wonderful exercise to develop the attitude that whatever is offered by any team player in the games is acceptable, good enough, and to be respected. It can be incorporated into the game of freeze tag (below) for more practice. A STORY is built around a circle. A title is chosen, and the first player begins. Taking about 15-30 seconds each, when each player is done, s/he passes it on for continuation to the next player (to his left or right), who begins the next part by saying, "Yes, and..."accepting whatever is given and adding on to it. "YES, AND..."can be played in any game involving a scene between or among players. It is the antidote to "denial," the tendency to override another player's suggestion with our own. "YES, AND..." is an adding on game of awareness that all players are equal in value to the games. VARIATION - Using a basket of items, a story is developed as the basket is passed around.

GAME 2L - PASS THE SOUND Another exercise to open up the body and emotions through movement and sound. There are many variations -make up your own! Players stand in a circle. Someone begins play by passing-throwing-pitching a "sound" -of any kind - to another player, who catches that sound with a sound of his/her own. Play continues around as the catcher then sends a new sound to another player. NOTE: clearly look at whom you are passing the sound to. Players don't have to stand still in their place when in sending or receiving mode.

What's between me and more play in my life?