The theatre games is a common term that you often get to hear, when you go for a theatre training session. This is a method of training actors that was developed in the 20th century by practitioners like Joan Littlewood, Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone, Jerzy Grotowski and others. These theatre or drama games are an important part of any drama curriculum because they can teach valuable theatre skills while allowing students to have fun, build confidence, stretch their imagination and grow as an ensemble. These are commonly used as warm-up exercises for actors before a rehearsal performance. They are also used in drama therapy as an important tool to overcome anxiety by simulating scenarios that would be fear-inducing in real life. These activities are drawn from a wide range of sources including traditional games, as well as exercises developed by directors, actors and teachers.
BENEFITS OF THEATRE GAMES :
Lots of drama classes incorporate theatre games into their curriculum. Some of the benefits of the theatre games include –
• FUN – This is the most obvious and the most appealing part of the drama games. Those who are not petrified about having to think and react creatively on the spot, these games are fun.
• FEARLESSNESS – Improvisational theater games help to develop the fearlessness which is absolutely essential for a stage actor. As a theatre performer, you are working in real time which means no matter what happens on stage, you must keep going. At times, things can go wrong and then your ability to improvise comes to your aid.
• GROUP COHESION – If you are performing as a group, which is the case in most of the plays, theater games provide an effective way to get the actors ” in the same room ” and thinking and behaving like a team. These games help in building the camaraderie among the group members.
• CONCENTRATION – Repetitive performance can make you bored. At times there can be lapses in your concentration. Improvisational theater games have the potential to recharge your batteries and give you a creative boost.
• IMAGINATION – Imagination is critical for creative people and like most of the creative things take time, patience and commitment to nurture. Theatre games, in all their childish glory, enable us to engage with the child at play within us. This nurturing of our imaginative self is absolutely essential as an actor.
SOME POPULAR THEATER GAMES :
As discussed, games are the perfect way to break the ice and engage people of all ages. Some of the popular drama games are
• Party Quirks – One person is chosen as the party host while three others act as guests. The host leaves the room briefly. On returning, he converses with the guests and within a span of 5 minutes must identify the characters played by them.
• One Word Story – The teacher starts a story with one sentence. Moving clockwise around the circle, each student adds one word to the story. This circle is repeated as many times as the teacher deems necessary for the completion of the story.
• Tableau Olympics – Each team chooses a spot around the room. The teacher calls out a scene ( example Spiderman at the scene of a bank robbery) and then counts down from 10. Within 10 seconds, each team organises a tableau and then freezes. The teacher then judges and declares a winner for that round.
• Luggage Surprise – The trainer needs to have a suitcase into which he sneaks a random prop before each actor arrives on stage. Then the actor is given two minutes to get that prop out of the suitcase and improvise reactions to what is inside.
• Graveyard – One student is chosen as the grave keeper while the rest lie on ground, completely still, as deadbodies, with their eyes open. The grave keeper tries to make each person laugh or speak, using his acting skill. If anyone redponds, he becomes alive and join the grave keeper in his action.
These apart, there are innumerable popular drama games like Simon says, Directors, Taxi cab, Fake news, The noise machine, etc.