21 warm-up

21 – The group (without teacher) huddles in a tight circle and together counts to 21 with players contributing one number at a time. If two people speak at once, the group must start over.
Lessons:
• Breathe; Don’t rush to speak; Share focus.
• We are walking backward, making each subsequent step based on the trajectory laid down behind us
• Don’t rush to 21, just build each move on top of the one before it
• Don’t emphasize failure; there are no “mistakes” on stage, only what happens
• The audience only knows you’ve “messed up” if you tell them you have

Red Ball concentration exercise

RED BALL, RED BULL, BREAD BOWL – With the group in a circle, a player starts by saying, “Dustin, Red Ball” then mimes throwing to that player who catches it, says “Red Ball, Thank you” then passes it by saying “Lauren, Red Ball.” Then you add more pretend balls/objects and try and keep them all going.
Variations:
• One version can go “green ball, purple ball, bouncy ball.”
• Another variation focuses on phrases that sound similar (Red ball, Red bull, Bread Bowl, Thread Ball, Party Hat).
Lessons:
• Listen to words closely but also pay attention to more than the words, because the physicalities should all be different here and if you pay attention you don’t miss it.

Want to play this game at another level?  Check out Red & Blue Ball HERE.

Big Booty concentration exercise

BIG BOOTY – One person is “Big Booty” everyone else is a number in order from the left of BB all the way around. You start with a chant “Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty, UH HUH” Then the passing is “Big Booty/Number 1” “Number 1/Number 5” “Number 5/Big Booty” etc. When someone messes up, they go to the end (highest number) and everyone’s number changes accordingly (number 1 gets out and becomes number 8, number 2 is now number 1, etc.) If someone gets BB out, they become BB and lead the game.

Circle Of Sequences concentration exercise

CIRCLE OF SEQUENCES – A player points at another and says any word. That player points at another player and says another word inspired by the first. This continues until every player says a word and points to another player, with the final player to contribute pointing back to the first player to contribute. This is Sequence One; repeat it continuously until the group is comfortable with it. Establish a Sequence Two the same way, and then a Sequence Three. When players are comfortable with each Sequence individually, tell them that they now will be keeping them all going at once. Start with Sequence One and then tap the player starting Sequence Two on the shoulder, then tap the player starting Sequence Three on the shoulder.
Lessons:
Focus outward – can’t be in your head freaking out; have to be ready and waiting for your turn
Be sure you’re heard – enunciate, make eye contact, and pointing helps
Each individual is 100% responsible for the success of the group – if a sequence is dropped, even if you didn’t drop it, pick it up
Variations:
Names – Make Sequence One “Your Name” and Sequence Three “Their Name” to add to potential confusion so as to force increased concentration

Story Stealing memory exercise

STORY STEALING – Everyone in a circle. One at a time, players enter the center and tell a true, personal, 30 Second Story. Once everyone has told a story, the teacher tells the class that players now have to enter the center and recreate someone else’s story. Every story should be revisited once by another player.
Lessons:
Don’t mock; mirror – this is not about making fun of each other, it’s about making each other look good by remembering their story
The more you remember, the more options you have – you might not get the chance to revisit the story you remember best so you need to work to remember everything
Remember specifically – remembering a few specific details will be more powerful than remembering everything generally
Remember reactions – our emotional reactions are improv gold; focus on those when setting other player’s stories to memory
See what’s not shown – recreating what our fellow players initially did subconsciously is great fun. How do they stand? How do they move? What do they sound like?

One Person Walking focus sharing exercise

ONE PERSON WALKING – Students spread out through the room. Without talking, one person has to be walking at any given time. Students have to see each other to know when to give and take focus.
Variations:
• Now two people are walking at a time. Now three. Build to everyone walking and then work back down to one person walking.
Lessons:
• Make eye contact
• Give and take focus
• Be willing to surrender focus to your scene partner