Todd Espeland, instructor of the Drama Teacher Academy course Serious Play: Theatre Games and Warm Ups for Rehearsal and Ensemble Building, uses Big, Tiny, Twisted as the last warm up before moving into class work or a rehearsal.
Look for a video of the exercise at the end of the post, as well as a printable PDF version of the exercise,
Start the actors moving about the space. A nice active walk, not slow, not at a run. Ask students to walk as if they have to get somewhere. Watch out for everyone walking in a big circle: coach students to fill the empty spots in the room.
Explain to students that you’re going to shout out the word “Big.” When you say “Big,” everyone in the room is going to meet up with another person and make a shape with their bodies that is big.
Repeat the action again, and encourage larger shapes – 3 or 4 students in a group. Encourage students to connect in their groups in some way. Have them touch each other.
This is important if you want students to work well together. They have to be comfortable with each other.
Once you’ve done “Big” 3 times, return students to an active walk. Explain to them that the next time, you’re going to say “Tiny.” When you say “Tiny,” everyone in the room has to meet up with someone and make a shape with their bodies that is tiny. Shout the word, and everyone makes the shape.
Repeat this two or three times. Let students get together in groups of 3 or 4 and remind them that they still need to be “tiny.” How can you be tiny in a group? How can they work together (without thinking too much) to be “tiny?”
Return students to an active walk. Explain to them that the last command is “Twisted.” When you call out twisted, students come together and create a twisted shape with their bodies. Remind them to connect with their shapes, to touch in some way. Repeat this action 2 or 3 times.
Return students to an active walk. Let them know that now, it’s a free for all. You’re going to shout “big” or “tiny” or “twisted.” The students have to react and make the shape.
After a couple of rounds of that, start mixing it up. Tell students to make a shape that is tiny and twisted. Or big and tiny.
Often when students have to work together, they overthink. There’s a lot of discussion and not as much doing. Big, Tiny, Twisted gets students up, moving and active. It’s a great way to get them to do and not think.
Click here for a PDF version of Big, Tiny, Twisted.