Open Forum

  • 1.  Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 09-21-2021 13:50
    Hey there, hive mind!
    I need a competitive acting game that I can play with only four students (we'd have five people if I can participate instead of coaching). Yes, I do want it to be competitive rather than ensemble -- we're talking about competition and playing to win in a scene.

    Usually I play something like Kunja, Four Corners, or Cat in a Corner, but I don't think any of those will work with such a small group.


    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 2.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 09-22-2021 06:57
    I can think of an option for two pairs, from Boal, the Three Irish Duals.

    "1.  In pairs facing each other, each actor tries to step on one of the feet of the opposing player (gently) without being stepped on himself;
    2. in pairs facing each other with hands on knees, swapping from knee to knee - each actor tries to touch the other's knee with his hand, without being touched himself;
    3 with an open left hand held behind his back, palm facing out, and the index finger of the right hand held in front like a sword, each actor tries to 'stab' the flat hand of his adversary."
    (Games for Actors and Non-Actors)

    I've used the third one, and had them keep score, then discussed tactics.  It's pretty quick, but if you used all three and switched the pairs around it might be about the same length as a "normal game."

    Kristin Hall
    Pronouns: she/her/hers
    Drama Director
    Lincoln MA

  • 3.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 09-22-2021 08:27

    One game I've played recently that is surprisingly competitive is charades. It might be a little harder to show the lesson you're trying to teach with it, but I also use it for communicating through body language.

    A much smaller mini game I use DURING scene work is tug of war. I give partners in a scene either end of a rope/scarf and tell them to play while they read their lines. The person who wins, wins their objective. You can also talk about tactics using this one.

    Hope this helps!


    Penny Cook
    Theatre Teacher
    Corinth High School

  • 4.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 09-22-2021 12:50
    Some elimination theatre games I use include:
    Questions Only
    What're You Doing?
    Beastie Rap
    Story Story
    Gimme Back My Son (eliminated from the game if you laugh)

    Best wishes!

  • 5.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 10-11-2021 11:27
    I don't know Beastie Rap or Gimme Back My Son. Can you point me to an online source? (If there is one) Thanks!

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 6.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 10-13-2021 09:23
    I was curious too and found this for Gimme Back My Son.

    Also, an example of Beastie Rap (no explanation like the other one, but you can see what they're doing). Note: this is adults and I did not watch the whole thing for classroom appropriateness.

    Carmen Caldera-Brzoska
    Elizabethtown High School

  • 7.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 09-22-2021 15:34
    I play a game for objectives and tactics for two people, however it is incredibly entertaining for a whole group.

    Two players are blindfolded, I used extra disposable masks or asked the students if they had a spare in their bag. The teacher places an object (it could be a rolled up newspaper or something akin to that.) The two players then have to search the room, while blindfolded for the object. After one player has found the object they then have to find the other player and tag them with it. This is usually done in silence, however the players can use sound as a way to misdirect their opponent. The audience must be silent so that they do not give the players away. They also get to experience the suspense of the battle in front of them!

    As an alternative, the teacher can toss the object and then the players have to use their sense of hearing to locate it.

    Kevin Brown
    Excelsior Classical Academy

  • 8.  RE: Competitive Game for a VERY small group

    Posted 10-12-2021 13:08
    Here are some our students really like:

    Survivor: 4 to 6 people play a scene.  Then teacher calls "freeze". Teacher (or audience) votes for who is "voted off the island" (for whatever reason- no reason has to be given.) The remaining people do the scene again- but they must include everything from the person who was voted off (lines, character, blocking, ideas, etc.)  Then teacher (or audience) votes another person off.  The last round is one person doing the whole scene (and including everything)

     Story, Story, Die!: 3 people stand at front. Student left in the audience decides a character's name, a place and a job.  All 3 actors say "This is a story about (the character) who was a (the job) at (the place.) Student in audience then points to one of the 3 students who starts to improv a story about the character. Student in audience, at any time, then points to other student.  The first student abruptly stops speaking the 2nd student picks up the story. The transition must be seamless- no "um" or "ah", hesitations, repeating of words or nonsensical additions. If any of these happen during a transition, the student in the audience yells "die!" and the storytelling student leaves the stage.  Also, storytellers need to listen because if they contradict or get incorrect something from the story (brother changes to sister, toppings on pizza change [etc.]) the student in the audience yells "die" and the storyteller is eliminated. The student in the audience continues to stop and start the story on a regular basis. The game is then played with 2 students and the last student is the winner. (Can also be played with 4 students being the storyteller and the teacher being the audience person.

     Good, Bad, Ugly: One student needs advice, the other 3 students are the advice-givers.  The student asks the group for advice (could be a real-life problem/situation, or a created one.). The first student listens and gives good advice- lots of imagination and detail.  The 2nd student listens to the good-advice student, and, building on what they said (and adding more) gives the advice-seeker some bad advice.  The 3rd student listens to both the good-advice and the bad-advice students and then gives ugly advice (the absolute worst advice in the world.). The advice seeker then chooses who wins the round; who listened, used details, imagination, outside-the-box-thinking, humor, etc.

    The Eraser Game: Two students at a time are the storytellers, two are the judges/voters.  You can use a classroom eraser, or any object, really.  The object is placed between the two storytellers, who are at the front of the room.  One of the judgers/votes says what the object is (a candy bar, a cell phone, a magnet, a tiny house for mice, etc.)  Then, one at a time, each of the storytellers creates/improvs a story about why they need the object- and why the audience should vote to give them the object.  Details, imagination, not-too-short-a-story, etc. all help.  After each storyteller has said why they should get the object, the audience votes.  If there is a tie, the teacher can vote as well.  The most-voted-for-story is the winner.

    Joanna Lewton
    Arts Director
    Capital City Public Charter School
    Washington DC