Examples of exercises to get into the Theatre work:
Participants – actors and non-actors – walk through the room. They greet each other by hand, by knee, then by shoulder, later as a cat („miau“), as a frog („quak, quak“), as very good friends, as business persons, in an enthusiastic way, and with a sad feeling in this moment. They walk upon a small bridge connecting a deep gorge; they have to protect themselves against a storm and can enjoy the sun afterwards.
Another version: All walk through the room. The trainer says „number 1“ and asks one participant to show a gesture; later he/she asks other persons (number 2,3,4). All continue walking. The trainer calls a number and all actors show the appropriate gesture.
We build smaller groups. Every group agrees on one fruit (apple, orange, kiwi …). The trainer pays attention that all fruits are different. The whole group sit then in a circle. There is one chair less compared to the number of persons. One participant stays in the middle of the circle. He / she calls one of the fruits, for example „apple“. Every „apples“ have to get up and to choose another chair. The person in the middle takes the chance to ‘catch’ a chair. Someone else will remain in the middle. It is now up to her/him to call a fruit. It is also possible to call „mixed salad“. Then everyone of the whole group has to change the chair as quickly as possible.
Participants stay in a circle. One shows a gesture, for example touching the nose. The other actors make one after the other the same gesture, but always bigger than the preceding one. At the end we could see someone touching a nose, turning a finger in a cicle round the nose and turning around himself…
Participants walk in couples through the room, one partner with closed eyes. Both have agreed on sounds (for example „miau, miau“, „knick – knock“, or others) which will be given by the partner with the open eyes to ‘lead’ the other. The ‘blind’ person follows the acoustic signals of the partner. She stops walking when the sounds finish. Roles shall then be changed. In this way, everyone could lead once (take over responsibility) and dare trust, too.
Discovering the room:
Build couples. One of the partner closes the eyes. The other leads the partner through the room. He/she shows the ‘blind’ partner 5 objects. At every object the partner with its closed eyes will be touched and therefore requested to open the eyes for a short moment in oder to see the object and to keep it in mind. After that both partners go and see all objects again. The participant with closed eyes shows to the partner what he/she has seen. The roles can be changed afterwards.
Colombian Hypnosis in pairs:
Participants pair off and choose who’s Ⓐ and who’s Ⓑ. Ⓐ puts a hand—fingers pointed up, palm facing out—about 8″ (20cm) from Ⓑ’s face. Ⓐ is the hypnotist. Ⓑ is hypnotized.
Moving very slowly and in total silence, Ⓐ leads Ⓑ around the space, playing with height, angle, position and rhythm, yet always keeping the movements very slow. Ⓑ must follow Ⓐ’s hand, keeping the same distance and perspective at all times, as if hypnotized by it. Ⓐ’s job is to challenge Ⓑ while remaining within the range of possibility as far as what Ⓑ can do.
After several minutes (as few as 5, as many as 30) Ⓐ and Ⓑ switch roles. Now Ⓑ hypnotizes Ⓐ for the same length of time that Ⓐ hypnotized Ⓑ.
After each has had a turn playing both hypnotist and hypnotized, both Ⓐ and Ⓑ put a hand in front of each other’s faces, both hypnotizing and being hypnotized simultaneously.
Debrief, first in Ⓐ/Ⓑ pairs, then as an entire group—this part is very important. For most groups the facilitator need do very little to get an insightful dialogue going!
Description of Columbian Hypnosis exercise: http://tophiladelphia.blogspot.de/2011_11_01_archive.html (seen 10th May 2014)
Games with words and sounds
Shaping vowels: All participants stay in a circle. The facilitator starts with a vowel, for example „i“, and pass it to his/her neighbour. The neighbour receives, transforms and sends the vowel to the next person. Everyone is invited to give the sound a personal touch.
Alphabet (sentence): Everyone says a sentence beginning with the letter of the alphabet which is following. Example: The facilitator starts: „As you know, Maria likes red shoes.“ Another person continues: „But red shoes are only for Sunday.“ The next: „Cigarettes too.“ And so on.
Conversation with limited words: Three participants stay in front of the group. They talk about a theme. One person says all the time only one word, the other two, the third only three words. Topics might be holidays, generations, conflict within family, Europe …
Bottle-object: The facilitator puts a plastic bottle in the middle of the room. He/she explains that the object may all be besides a bottle. The participants are invited to develop ideas and show what this „bottle-object »could be used for. It might be ‘transformed’ in a comb, a hoover, an eyelashes spiral, etc.
Instead of a bottle can be chosen other objects like a chair, a bag, or…
All participants sit in a row. The facilitator puts three chairs in front of the group and takes a seat in the middle of them. He/she says a term, for example „solidarity“. Participants who have an association to this word sit at the right or the left chair. The facilitator asks the person at the right, then at the left using the words: „I am the … [solidarity]. And who are you?“ Neighbours answer: „I am the … [sympathy]“ or „I am the … [good life]“. The facilitator makes a decision between the two answers and goes back to the group. In our example he/she prefer „good life“. The participant with this association moves in the middle of the three chairs. Others of the group with ideas to this term sit at the left and the right of the „good life“. The same conversation type starts – and so on.
What are you doing? Participants sit in a row. Someone of the group is ‘on stage’ in front of all. The facilitator says an activity, for example „singing in the rain“. The actor performs the activity. The next person in the row asks „What are you doing?“ The actor calls an activity which does not correspond to the performed one at all, in our example: „washing the dishes“. The person who asked is now going on stage and performs what the actor has named as activity („washing the dishes“). The next participant in the row asks: „What are you doing?“ The actor says a different activity to describe what he/she is showing. And so on …
Participants stay in a circle showing their back to the inner side. The facilitator calls a word. All actors take some time to develop a gesture or/and posture referring to the word. Those who are ready turn themselves to the inner circle. All together show the gesture/posture, later separately. Words could be joy, disappointment, rejection, new start, solidarity, politics, etc.
After each exercise should be some time given to talk about the impressions of the participants.