One game I learned from the Kani Club improv workshop in Tokyo is Master and Servants. The idea of the game is simple: three players, one is the Master who is constantly demanding things of the servants. When the servants try to meet the Master's needs, the Master is never satisfied and yells at them. For example:
A series of activities for looking at wealth inequality in the US and globally.
A volunteer describes an incident they experienced -- something embarrassing, funny, puzzling, etc. -- to the whole group. The joker asks questions to clarify details and verify understanding. Then, the joker asks for volunteers to enact the scene. They are free to improvise in any way they like.
Players choose a short clip of video and create a bad lip reading, post or perform.
I got this from Kani Club, the improvisation school in Tokyo. It is a great "Yes, and..." game.
Pairs or trios (daunting to do in larger groups, but could be done with practiced players).
The idea is for the players to speak a sentence simultaneously without knowing what the sentence will be ahead of time, relating the sentence to some physical action or pantomime.
Based on the famous speech by the Meiji era Japanese feminist leader Kishida Toshiko, this activity asks participants to create a manga version of her speech, working in teams.
I have spelled out a nine step process, but it might make sense to do a much quicker, rougher version of this, to leave time for other discussions. Steps 1, 4, 5 are essential, I think.
Step one is to read the original essay (for Japanese readers, in Japanese), and do a reader response writing activity.
Step two is to form teams with a mix of self-identified skills/capacities:
In this game, which I learned from Sakiko Ishitsubo, people pair up and take turns closely observing each other, describing what they see. When person A says, "I see you are holding the zipper pull on your jacket." Person B repeats the description, "I am holding the zipper pull on my jacket." In this way each observation is stated and verified. There is no strict sequence, players can shift back and forth as they like. The goal is to observe each other closely, to describe what you see, and to verify the observations.
Use the haka form to practice the body language of other emotions and attitudes: instead of intimidation, how about love, shame, flattery...?
Use it with language, as a kind of competition -- each side having its players say something in English, different for each player, showing off their language skill and clever ideas.
Use it with sounds, each side taking turns making one sound or word, like my name "Matt." The leaders can coach their teams and tell them which word is next.
Idea for an activity:
Take a text, in another language, that you love (poem, song, whatever).
Use Google translate to translate it to English.
If the result is sufficiently strange, copy it, reduce it, and perform it like a poem at a poetry slam.
If the result is too normal, try translating the translated version into a different language, then from that language into English, or into another language -- repeat until you have freed the words from the original text.
I'm sure this has been done before, but it occurred to me as well. (It's like the Kani Club activity "Words from the Heart" where the players add side commentary, sharing their true feelings out loud as if only the audience could hear them.)
Four people improvisation game.
Two people are the players, the other two are their shadows.
The two people meet each other for the first time. (The audience can choose a place beforehand.) They improvise a conversation, starting with a greeting.