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The Game Jar

The Game Jar is a simple way to add energy and focus to your rehearsals and classes.

1. Fill a jar with your favorite group-building theatre games. 

2. Choose a student to pull a game from the jar. 

3. Play the game! 

Read on for our favorite jar-fillers...

These are team-building theatre games good for big groups that have worked consistently for us over 20+ years of teaching and directing. 

Zap.jfif

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game. 

" I have a lightening bolt. There is only one. Our goal is to work together to pass the lightening bolt as quickly as possible from one person to another. We pass the lightening bolt by making eye contact, pointing a hand, and saying, 'zap' loudly and clearly to the person we are sending the zap to. No thinking! Just send the zap immediately."

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, energy, projection, enunciation
ZipZapZop.jfif

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game. 

" This is just like zap, but now we start with the word, 'zip'. If someone says, 'zip' to you, you say, 'zap' to the next person. That person says "zop' to someone else. It keeps going like that. Everyone say, 'Zip Zap Zop,' five times fast. Good! Let's  try it."

TIP:  Encourage the actors to keep going if they make a mistake. The important part is to keep it moving, not to get it right. 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, energy, projection, enunciation
Explosion Tag.jfif

1. Spread out in an empty space with clear boundaries.

2. Explain the game. 

"It's time to play tag. One person is 'it'. When you are tagged, you must explode and then you become 'it'. An explosion is a sound and a movement. During the game, everyone must keep moving. You can walk, run, dance, crawl - just keep your body moving. There is no safe. Watch and listen for the explosion to know who is 'it'."

TIP:  Try shrinking the space as you play. It keeps the explosions moving quickly. 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, energy, spontaneity
Ball Game.jfif

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game in three parts. 

" I have a ball. There is only one. Let's throw the ball to each other. Watch it carefully!"

"Now, when you catch the ball, catch it the size it was thrown to you. Change its size and weight before you throw it to the next person. Show us with your body how it feels!"

"Next, when the ball leaves your hands and moves toward the next person, it makes a sound (not a word)." 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, creativity, spontaneity, physicality
KittyWantsACorner2.png

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game. 

"One person is in the middle of the circle. That person is Kitty. Kitty has one line, 'Kitty wants a corner.' When Kitty comes to you and says their line, you say, 'See my next door neighbor.' Kitty's objective is to get a corner. A corner is a place in the circle where a person is already standing. Your objective is to silently switch places with someone else in the circle without Kitty noticing. Kitty will try to get your spot! If Kitty gets to the spot you are moving to before you do, you are Kitty."

TIP:  The circle will shrink as you play. Occasionally remind the actors to spread back.

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, creativity, spontaneity, energy
mirror circle.png

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game. 

" One person begins a slow, careful movement that everyone can easily follow. Everyone follows to create the same, exact movement. We focus on each other to move together exactly at the same time."

TIP: The first few times playing this game choose leaders and change them often. Eventually, play the game without leaders. Everyone follows each other. 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, physicality
PassTheClap.png

1. Make a Circle.

2. Explain the game. 

"Our goal is to work together to pass one clap around the circle with no pauses. The person who starts turns to the person next to them. The two players watch each other carefully and clap at exactly the same time. The person next to the starter turns to the person next to them. Those two clap at exactly the same time. Keep going until we get it all the way around the circle."

TIP:  Try not to go too fast. The players will start to focus on rhythm instead of each other and it will throw them off. Encourage the actors to really watch each other carefully. 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, energy
New image 0.jfif

1. Spread out in an empty space with clear boundaries.

2. Explain the game. 

"It's time to play tag. One person is 'it'. When you are tagged, you must transform into a monster and then you become 'it'. There is no safe. Watch and listen for the monster body to know who is 'it'."

TIP:  Try a variation on this game where players stay monsters when they are tagged. Eventually, everyone is a monster. Encourage different kinds of monsters and take time exploring monster bodies. 

SKILLS: listening and reacting, focus, teamwork, creativity, spontaneity, energy, physicality
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