Warm Up Your Mind

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And the man who did'st steal my pig be.... RIGHT THERE! Ready for a laugh, you look to your left but see no one. Hey wait a minute, that finger is pointing at ME. And now everyone is looking at you too. You open your mouth and... "Thine pig?! Not two fortnights prior dids't I loan to thee my prize'd bristly boar Gerald to service thy pink Petunia! You be a forgetfull old hen indeed." Whew, good thing your mind was running and ready.


Improv Games

Anti-actions
Go around in a circle: a person mimes an action, the person next to them asks "What are you doing?", they reply "I am (some other action)." Then the next person pantomimes the spoken action and says they are doing something else. For example, Person one mimes driving a car while saying "I am brushing my teeth." Person two mimes brushing their teeth but says "I am baking a cake.", and so on. Eject them if they falter or say the action they ARE doing.
Things that they aren't
Go around in a circle: each person points at something and says "Look at that (something else)." Eject them if they falter.
Freeze
One or two people start with a mimed action. Everyone watches for an interesting moment or position and upon seeing it shouts FREEZE. The first to yell replaces an existing actor and either continues the scene taking the first line, or starts an entirely new scene from that starting position. At a suitable moment, someone shouts SCENE and ends the scene.
Pass the Clap
Start in a circle. The leader claps his hands to the right and the person on his right receives the clap, and passes it to her right, etc. Once the clap flows smoothly around the circle, allow each person to choose to send the clap either right or left.
Bunny
Stand in a circle. The leader holds out her hands like rabbit paws while saying "Bunny Bunny Bunny". The people on each side form the rabbit ears by leaning in and holding their inner hand by the leader's ear. When the leader says "Bunny" for the fourth time, they point at someone else in the circle who becomes the bunny with the two people at either side again forming the ears.

Putting Yourself In Character

Back at RPFN, someone once told me about how they clear out of those nagging 20th Century thoughts by taking a few minutes of a sort of meditation in the morning after breakfast but before the gate opens. Some Guilds do group morning exercises; some stretching is a great way to start the day.

Stand loosely and (stay with me here) envision a connection from your head, down through your body, and out the feet into the earth. The idea is to picture a vortex, a sink, and allow the various distracting thoughts of bills, the DMV, and other worldly nonsense to one by one be acknowledged and set adrift into the abyss. Sometimes this involves a bit of soul searching to even recall what exactly is nagging you. Once the annoyances are addressed, one by one bring up the characteristics which make up your faire character. Remind yourself about who you are: my name is William, I was born in September of 1555, and so on. Then tell yourself that you're about to open your eyes on another beautiful day. It is very Marin, but the memories of opening my eyes to the sun through the oaks stays with me still!

References

A great list of improv games online at improvencyclopedia.org. Check out the mindbending Impro from Keith Johnstone. 'Sound & Fury' swear by Gary Izzo's The Art of Play.

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre
Keith Johnstone
Buy New: $31.59 / Used: $10.00 (41 avail)
The Art of Play: The New Genre of Interactive Theatre
The Art of Play: The New Genre of Interactive Theatre
Gary Izzo
Buy New: $171.78 / Used: $40.74 (11 avail)
175 Theatre Games: Warm-up exercises for Actors
175 Theatre Games: Warm-up exercises for Actors
Nancy Hurley
Buy New: $14.46 / Used: $13.96 (16 avail)



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