The Copy Circle Game (Pass the Phrase)

I figure improv exercises can do one of two things.

-work on a skill

-explain a concept

I’m a big fan of using ‘explain a concept’ exercises (as opposed to giving a lecture) but the one problem is that they only work if the students haven’t done it before.

An example would be meeting the monster. It works great with beginners, it doesn’t work so well if there are a few more experienced players mixed in.

Anyway, today I would like to talk about great ‘explaining’ type exercise that I learned from Jill Bernard, which I’m going to call

The Circle Copy Game*

-Students in a circle

-First player walks towards another player in the circle. First player says a line of dialouge and has some specific style of movement or action. (eg walk with a limp, finger formed into hook, shouting “arrrrr, there’s treasure enough for all, me hearties”)

-Player one takes player two’s spot in the circle. Player two walks towards another player and tries to copy player one as exactly as she can.

Play continues, which each player trying to copy the last player as exactly as possible.

It’s kind of a mixture of Chinese Whispers and The Alien Mating Game.

After the game is finished. Talk about what things made us feel happy, and what left us disappointed.

I can make any guarantees about what you’ll experience. But I’ll be talking about my experience of the game in part two.

*because I can’t remember the real name.


4 Responses to “The Copy Circle Game (Pass the Phrase)”

  1. jill bernard Says:

    It is called “Pass the Phrase” which isn’t very good but the other name is horrible and I will tell you the story some day. I learnt it from Joe Bozic.

  2. improbable Says:

    Thanks Jill,

    I just remembered the other name. But I think I’m going to pretend that I didn’t.

    Also, please correct me if I’m not doing the game justice.

  3. jill bernard Says:

    I did your monster game today. It was a workshop on change management at a manufacturing plant and when I said, “You understand, don’t you, we’re speaking metaphorically, and the monster is change” they all gasped audibly. That was a rock-star moment.

  4. improbable Says:

    That’s awesome!

    I love it when a plan comes together.

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