Our better (worse) selves

This is an idea for an improvisational variation on the Love, Hate, Need activity.

Once people have identified what they Love, Hate, Need, Have, Want, Fear, and Hope, the joker hands out three cards on which are written one of the categories (love, hate, etc) to random players.

The players think for a moment, then must improvise a short (2minute or so) scene in which they act out the thing they (love, hate, need...), interacting with the others on that basis.

Drawings with descriptions

I learned this from Omi Yusuke and Tada Keisuke, students in a course I teach at Meiji University, in Tokyo. I like the way the gradual addition of features, and the inclusion of non-human elements, leads to an "exquisite corpse"-like creature. The addition of a complete object at the end creates an interesting contrast with the piecemeal creature. The creature's uniqueness makes it an interesting object for description and imaginative writing.

The Flow:

Participants pair-up or form groups of no more than four.

Step One

Ten Second Objects

Adapted from "Ten Second Objects" on the Drama Resource website (http://dramaresource.com/games/warm-ups/ten-second-objects) The original activity is great as is:

"Divide everyone into small groups (4-6). Call out the name of an object and all the groups have to make the shape of that object out of their own bodies, joining together in different ways while you count down slowly from ten to zero. Usually every group will find a different way of forming the object. Examples could be: a car, a fried breakfast, a clock, a washing machine, a fire."


Bad dancer

Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band made a music video of her song "Bad Dancer" in which Ono and other celebrities dance badly and joyfully. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3mvEfON2CI) The idea of the song is that we should free ourselves of the burden of "being good" and embrace being bad at things, so as to do them freely.

This idea can be applied to any activity in which fear of poor performance prevents us from acting with freedom. For example, "Bad Presenter," "Bad Singer," "Bad Listener," "Bad Writer," "Bad Artist," "Bad Translator," "Bad Innovator," "Bad Activist," etc.

Passive Listening 101

Rather than teach people how to practice "active listening," this activity requires them to listen poorly, impatiently, passively.

The Flow:

Ask participants to define "active listening." If the term is unfamiliar, ask people to brainstorm features of "good" listening and, in another list, "bad" listening. (Alternatively, use the See, Hear, Feel activity to define active or good listening in concrete terms.)

Then have people form pairs and take turns, with one person telling a story and the other passively listening.

Talking to Ourselves

In this self-assessment activity you use a partner to represent yourself. This requires you to articulate your self-assessment clearly and respectfully, and perhaps more objectively?

In pairs.

The first person speaks to the other as if speaking to him/herself. The task is to assess one's one participation in an activity, meeting, class, etc. The second person stands in as the "self" to whom the first person is speaking, listening actively, only asking clarifying questions.