There are times when you need a game that doesn’t require much explanation to get started. This is a great game to play with your students at the end of the term when they (or you) are feeling burnt out, or the day after closing a show when you’re tired and need a laugh.
The following exercise challenges students to incorporate two prompts into one improvised scene. Students must employ listening skills, teamwork, and quick thinking to complete this exercise successfully.
To prepare: Visit our Prompt collection and print out at least two prompt lists. As well, have a timer or clock with a second hand available to ensure each student gets the same amount of time to perform.
1. Select two students to perform.
2. Have the students choose a number between 1 and 50. (Each prompt list has 50 prompts, with an additional 50 prompts in the giveaway.)
3. Give the students the prompt on each page associated with that number. For example, for the number 37, the animal-related prompt is “What would your two different pets say to each other?” and the location prompt is “science lab.”
4. Give students a countdown of five seconds to prepare.
5. Students will improvise a one-minute scene together, incorporating both prompts into the scene somehow. For the above example, your students might play scientists studying talking pets, or they might play the pets hanging out in a science lab discussing what their owners are doing. It can even be as subtle as two students wondering aloud what their pets talk about when they’re not there, and then hearing the school bell ring and ending the scene with, “Ok, I’m off to the science lab!” It’s up to the students to be as obvious or subtle as they wish, as long as they use both prompts.
6. When one minute is up, the scene is complete.
7. Cross off each prompt as it’s used. Repeat up to 50 times.
If your students are new to improv or find it intimidating to come up with ideas on the spot, try doing a brainstorming session before the first pair performs. Select two prompts and have the full class come up with performance ideas that incorporate both prompts. This will give students more ideas about where they could take their scenes.
by Lindsay Price
35 more photo-based writing prompts developed by playwright Lindsay Price. Includes an instruction guide and tips to integrate them into a distance learning curriculum.