Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Improv Games For Your High School Drama Class

Hello Readers,
This post is primarily directed towards Drama teachers, but these activities can be used as ice breakers to get to know your students or to kill some time at the end of the period.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find Improv exercises for your Drama classrooms.  I am going to give you some help!

 Looking for Improv Exercises for Your Drama Class?

Well, I have many games that you can easily do with your students.  Improv helps your students feel more comfortable in the classroom.  It also allows your students to practice acting in a more relaxed environment where they are graded on their effort, instead of other aspects of their performance.  The bonus of improv, is of course, that it is fun and exciting.

Improv Games:

  • House Guest: You may have seen this one being played on the show "Whose Lines Is It Any Way?", hosted by Drew Carey.  It is funny and thrilling because the House Guest must guess what characters come to his/her party.  The audience and the characters who are invited all know and wait for the House Guest to state who each guest is before the game is over. The characters must act according to what character they are assigned.  The audience (the rest of the class) can write appropriate character roles on a piece of paper, these papers can be crumpled up and mixed in a basket.  Then, the characters would come individually and choose their roles.  There should be at least three characters in each session of House Guest. This is a great theater exercise.  There is a layer of mystery and each character must give it their all in order to help the Host guess who they are.  The more your students get into this activity, the funnier it is.  Some examples of characters could be batman, a man obsessed with eyeballs, and the teacher even.

  • Bus Stop:  This game is where you have two or three people come up and sit at the "bus stop" (can be easily built by pushing chairs).  The rest of the class can participate by naming the characters that each person at the bus stop should be or you can do a similar activity like House Guest, and have the characters pick a character at random from a piece of paper and then have the audience guess who the characters are.  Each classmate can have a turn as a way to promote points for participation.

  • Two Minute Random Speeches: Again, crumple up pieces of paper with random topics/words written on them like, school uniforms or lemons, and have your students choose one.  Then, right then they will have to give a two minute speech about that topic, while trying to limit the amount of like and umms that they use.  This will improve their public speaking skills as well as prepare them to think on their feet.  I remember this improv game was difficult, but very rewarding because it challenges students to be creative and it is silly.

Why Use These Excercises?

The acting ability of your students is bound to improve as they must think about what their characters would act and feel like in order to portray them correctly.  I enjoyed these drama activities when my teacher allowed us to do them in my high school drama class.  It gave my classmates and I the freedom to express ourselves and entertain each other, while at the same time learning comedic and other acting skills/styles.  I also think that these drama exercises are less intimidating, especially for your beginning acting students who may be more apprehensive about performing in front of others.  By participating in these fun acting activities, students can experience theater they find interesting and humorous, thus forming an overall greater appreciation for it.  It becomes relatable to them.

I definitely intend to use these improv games in my future classroom and I hope that you found them useful.  
Thanks for reading,
Aliana ~Theatre Lover~
Future Teacher

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