Pictured: Walt Frasier works with Microsoft BING Executive Sales Team at their new training center at 42nd and 8th Ave.
SAMPLE IMPROV WORKSHOP GAMES (Download Printable PDF)
These games warmup both the individual and the team dynamic. This list of games is a perfect class for building skills through game play. Learning to Improvise combines performance and creative writing skills. These games are also a typical Team Building Session with Walt Frasier, author of Improv on Zoom. After 1000+ hour of teaching improv online, Walter has paired down the perfect 45-60 minute session that introduces the art for as well as game your team can play before every online meeting to get the collaborative juices flowing.
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Teacher or Player One starts by saying. “I HAVE A KNIFE”. Hold your hand up as if grabbing an imaginary knife by the blade. Make eye contact (OR Call out another’s name if on ZOOM). Make sure you have their attention before throwing. (ON ZOOM Respond to your name being called) Throw the knife. That player will catch the knife by clapping hand in front of their face. Both players should feel the weight of the knife as well as the emotional weight – the anxiety, fear, adrenaline rush of danger, etc. Repeat and pass the imaginary knife around the room. When two performers “YES! And…” the pantomime, the object becomes real to the audience. After a point, the teacher can change the knife into a baby, a snake or other object, simply by using their imagination. Imagine molding the air like clay. Handle and pass each new object in a way appropriate to its nature. Eventually, let the class mold the object anew for every pass. MOST IMPORTANT, before throwing/passing, communicate what the object is and to whom you intend to throw it. CATCH the object your teammates pass, reflecting the amount/quality of energy in the passing, and the object’s size and weight. Make an emotional connection to the object.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Start by getting an activity from the crowd. First player will start acting out that activity. Next player asks, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” The first player states a NEW activity, completely different that the one they are performing at the time (keep your activity going until you state the new activity). Second player starts acting out the new offer. Continue around the room a few times. Treat these imaginary activities as real as possible. Pantomime allows us to create infinite worlds out of thin area. When our imaginations are on fire, and we respond with realistic movement, the audience sees our creations in their minds eye.
ONE WORD STORY
One word at time, the team tells a story. Stand in a circle. (ON ZOOM Establish an order, share that in the chat. Remember who YOU follow) Follow the story with your eyes. LISTEN and RESPOND without thinking ahead or behind. Simply say the first word that comes to mind when the story comes to you. Consider characters and settings. Every word is important. TRICK TO COMEDY and TEAMWORK – don’t TRY to be funny or clever. TRUST yourself and your team to be funny together. Stay IN THE MOMENT.
YES And…. ONE SENTENCE STORY
Now, each player in the room will add one sentence at a time to the story. The first player establishes our story. Introduce a WHO (Character/Relationship) and WHERE (Setting) choice. Each player following will start with the words: “YES! And…” Then continue to add details. With every statement (Avoid Questions in Improv) add a WHO, WHERE and/or WHAT (Action, Plot) choice that continues to support previous details. In this game we are all the SAME voice. We are not having a conversation.
Let’s tell one more story. Except this time, we will each be a different character. Player one starts the story by introducing their character. Pass the plate (the story) to the next player by introducing their character. Every time you talk in turn, add something new about your own character and then the next player’s character. Make a new choice about relationships, personality, mood, job, physical status, props, costume etc. When someone mentions something new about your character immediately adapt that into your portrayal of the character.
- Have fun playing games
- Share much needed laughter
- Develop valuable life skills!
Professionally acting since the mid-90s, Walt Frasier has been performing (5000+ professional shows live from Times Square, NYC and touring Nationwide) and teaching Improv Comedy since 2002. In addition to his successful Times Square School, Walt Frasier works with corporate teams, college groups and K12 schools, using Improv create much needed laughter and teaching creativity, public speaking skills and self-confidence. Since March 2020, Walt has logged 1000+ hours teaching/performing online via ZOOM and other platforms. Walt Frasier is a founding member of EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH (AKA LMAOff Broadway, The Original Improv 4 Kids), former director of instruction for the Comedy Hall of Fame, and has international credits in TV (Billions, Blue Bloods, Royal Pains, Lilyhammer, Letterman etc), Theater (Off Broadway, Regional & Touring) and Music (Opera, Concert Soloist). Walt is a NYC DOE Vendor, has worked with K12 schools nationwide, hosting groups for shows & workshops at their Times Square theater and touring. Walt is also a corporate improv specialist using Improv to teach team building, leadership, sales, and service. Clients include Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, AMEX, Master Card, Twitter, BING, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Home Depot, GM, Kraft and 100s more.