Theatre Games to allay boredom at home

April 16, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Music for Refugees organiser Philip Feinstein has suggested Theatre Games to deal with these boring times when we have to stay at home and isolate ourselves with our family.

Philip Feinstein hands out a musical treat

It will be especially difficult for those of us who have kids, as the kids will be getting very bored and will therefore also have increased stress levels.

The games are enjoyable and interesting and can even be done on the phone, or online, with other people. In fact, some of the games could even be done solo.

“Having used music for the past 10 years as a tool to decrease stress in detention centres, I am now using a different modality for the general public” said Philip Feinstein. “I have also been teaching Theatre Games for the past 20 years and have created a collection of 50+ games, ranging from easy to challenging, which both adults and young children could use.”

We started sending information out 4 days ago and already Lifeline has praised the idea. Ina Mullin, National Manager Communications, Lifeline Australia told Philip: “What a lovely resource, thank you. We will share with our network through our internal newsletter.”

People are being encouraged to pass this on to others, as it is a free service.

What is Theatre Games?

It is a type of acting where there are no rehearsals, no experience needed, and no hard and fast rules. In fact, there is only one rule: You must accept what the player before you said.
For example, if I said “There is a lion in the tree”, you must accept that. You might then say “I never knew that lions climb trees”, or “I’m frightened – let’s run away”, or “That’s my pet lion”

And then, whatever you say must be accepted by the next player.

So, to summarise, you must never contradict or block what the previous player has said.

In Theatre Games there are a variety of games, all at different levels. Some of them involve saying nothing, just using movement to express yourself; Some might involve you singing a short line; Some might involve you creating a poem or a song. There are very many games from which to choose.

The games listed here will be broken up into categories of Easy (for kids or newcomers), Medium (a good introduction before the harder ones), and Challenging ones – great to try them!

(a) = Easy level group

(a) I AM A TREE (3 or more) One player starts in a position of a tree. One at a time, other people join in and become the objects that relate to the tree, or objects of the other players (e.g. A branch might have leaves; A leaf might fall on the ground; A ranger might pick up fallen leaves)

Player must announce what they are when they join in. (Examples: I am a branch on the tree; I am a leaf on the branch; I am the ground where the leaves fall on)

(a)MIME (4-2offstage)Four players: A-B-C-D. PlayersCandDleavetheroom. Player A will then mime (no talking) a scenario to player B, once only. They must be very clear what they are doing. Scene must be maximum 1 minute.
Player C then joins the stage and watches player B who acts out exactly what they saw player A doing, once only.

Player D the joins the stage and watches player C who acts out exactly what they saw player B doing, once only.

Player D then acts out exactly what they saw player C doing. They then tell everyone what they did. This is what they thought the scene was.
Player C then acts out exactly what they saw player B doing. They then tell everyone what they did. This is what they thought the scene was.

Player B then acts out exactly what they saw player A doing. They then tell everyone what they did. This is what they thought the scene was.
Finally, player A comes back on stage and acts out his/her original scene. They then tell everyone exactly what they were doing.

(a) SHOPPING LIST (1 + 1) (Set at the Enquiry Counter of a large shopping complex) One player sits at the Enquiry Counter.
People come up, one-at-a-time, to ask the Enquiry Counter where they can buy certain things. For example: “Where can I buy love?”; Where can I buy top marks for my exam?” and so on.

The player at the Enquiry Counter comes up with some clever or quirky answers and sends them on their way . . .

(a) SPEAKING AS ONE (3 – 6)
Players link arms and get ready to answer a question. But there is no preparation . . .
The facilitator will ask a simple question like “What did you have for breakfast?” or “What is your favourite colour?” or “What is your lucky number?”.
Without rehearsing or having a conversation, the players will try to answer the question. But the trick is to answer it loud and very slowly. And as you all hear the others, eventually players will give in and hopefully will all answer the same.

(a) THREE-PART-STORY (3) P/D
2 or 3 people stand in a line and prepare to tell a story. They will be told where they are (e.g. At the zoo; at a movie; in the office). A bit like the Warm-up Game “Yes And”, they will accept what the previous player has said and will add their part to the story. No more than 2 sentences each and then the next player will add their bit.
Go round three times. And don’t forget that the last player must end the story.

(a) EXPERT DOUBLE FIGURES (4) P/D (3 min)
Two of the players face each other and have a conversation. However, these players have their hands in their pockets. Where legal and safe, the other 2 players each stand behind a player and have their arms from behind, taking the place of the other players arms.
This extra person cannot speak, but they can make arm movements in line with the dialogue. Example: If the dialogue is about eating, they could move their hands towards the speaker’s mouth; If the dialogue is about coming first in a race, they could raise their arm in the air as a winner would.

(a) WALKING PUPPETS (2 + 2) P/D (3 min)
2 Players will be puppets and the other two will be puppet-operators. Although the puppets can speak, they can only move in the direction that the operators move them in. And the operators can move the puppets head, hands, legs, etc. Operators cannot speak.
Before starting, puppets need to be put in a starting position – that can be anything.

(a) FREEZE TAG (2) Two players on stage start to act out any scene at all – then other player joins in. Someone in the audience shouts out the word “Freeze”. The players on stage immediately stop whatever they are doing and freeze in their position. The “Freeze” audience member becomes a player, enters the stage and signals which player must leave the stage.
They then take up the exact position that the leaving player had, but starts a brand new game (based on their physical position) which the other player follows. They keep acting until someone in the audience shouts out “Freeze” and the routine starts again.

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