A Curated Selection of Theatre Games for the Whole Family
Week #1 – May 15, 2020
Kaleidoscope’s Family Games Night features a selection of easy to play games that are perfect for the whole family. Every Friday in May, a new selection of games and resources will be posted. Each week is different! Play along, and have fun!
One Word at a Time Story
Sit in a circle. Come up with a title for a story. One example could be “The Best Birthday Ever.” The story is told one word at a time around the circle. Remind all players that the story has to make sense. Everyone should work together to build sentences, and not throw in funny words to try and get a laugh. Everyone has to work together to remember where they’ve been and try to create a cohesive story throughout.
Foreign Film Dub
A scene for 3-4 players. Two players act out a scene in gibberish. The second two players are their English Language “Dubbers.” They translate the scene into English. If you only have 3 players, you can have two players speaking gibberish and one player as the English Language “Dubber”.
Scene Tips – Players using gibberish should use a lot of physical action to give clues to their translator counterparts. Also, keep your sentences short. Remember, the goal here is a cohesive scene. You have to work together as a team to make the best scene possible. Once the scene is complete, switch roles.
Gibberish is a kind of pretend language which consists of a series of imaginative, but meaningless letter and word sequences.
3-5 players line up across the front of your playing space. They are going to tell a story. Brainstorm a topic and then come up with a title such as “The Best Underwater Adventure Ever.” Have another player act as conductor in front of the line. When the conductor points to a player, the player has to tell the story. The aim for the players is to make the story seamless and they must always be ready to jump in to continue the story if and when the conductor points at another player. If any player stutters, freezes, repeats unnecessarily, the “audience” shouts out DIE! and that player has to give themselves an imaginative (and of course imaginary) death scene. The bigger and the more dramatic the better. Now there are fewer players to tell the story. Get a new topic and give a new title. This continues on until there are only two players battling it out. Don’t be afraid to get faster with your conducting or surprise a player by going back to them immediately, keep them on their toes!
Scenes From A Hat
Scenes from a Hat is one of our most favourite theatre games. It can easily become one of those “takes over the whole night” games because it’s simple and fun for all ages.
Divide players into pairs. For each pair, draw a slip of paper with a two-person scenario from a hat and have that pair improvise the scene. Each scene needs to have a beginning, middle, and end, and should be timed (between 1-2 minutes) to ensure all pairs get a chance to perform, and to keep the scenes from going on too long.
The key to ensuring that the scene works is to remember the most basic improv rule: “Yes, and…” Whatever is established in the scene is the reality for that scene, and players must go along with it. For example, if one player says, “Oh my goodness Kate! I can’t believe we’re on an African safari!” the other player cannot turn around and say, “What are you talking about? My name is Ben and we’re working in an office right now.” That totally kills the scene. Go with whatever is brought to the scene!
Scenes from a Hat can be played as simply as each pair drawing a slip and then performing in turn.
- Players choose scenarios prepared in advance (See Our Scenario Print Out)
- Players brainstorm a list of scenarios to be put into the Hat.
- Someone else chooses the scenario for the pair.
- Partway through the scene, a leader calls out “switch” and the pair switches roles. For example, if Partner A was playing a dentist and Partner B was a patient, after “switch” is called, Partner B becomes the dentist and Partner A becomes the patient. They then continue the scene.
- One pair starts the scene. Partway through, the leader calls out “freeze” and another pair “tags in” and finishes the scene.
- One pair starts the scene. Partway through, the leader calls out “ailment!” and gives one of the players an ailment to add to their character. For example, the players may be acting out a scene where they are paddling a canoe down a creek. Suddenly one of the players has a broken arm / comes down with a case of the chicken pox / realizes they are being chased by a shark / etc. (The possibilities are endless!)