Improv Games and Exercises for Clown Workshops (Part 1)

I'll be posting improv exercises and workshops quite often in my blog posts to help fellow clown educators, clown alleys, or those of you who are teachers. Improv workshops and exercises are truly helpful with clowning, as it not only gets us warmed up and thinking quickly, but it also teaches many valuable traits such as comedic timing and wittiness. Here are three exercises/games to start with:

Fun warm-up

Get everybody in a line and get ready to create a tableau (a human picture). One player starts it off randomly, jumps in and offers something, e.g. I am a slice of cheese and stays there motionless and silent as that object. 2nd player jumps in and adds something to the portrait e.g. I am a slice of bread. 3rd player jumps in and again adds to the setup, e.g. I am a pickle. First player leaves, taking one of the others with him. Restart from the remaining player, who restarts by saying what/who she is. This teaches teamwork and quick thinking. Also helps with imagining an invisible picture and pantomiming.

Accepting Circle Game

Get everyone in a big circle. One player starts by making a little gesture, perhaps with a little sound. His or her neighbor then tries and does exactly the same. And so on. Although we expect the gesture/sound not to change, it will. Note: Watch for movements that suddenly change left/right arm or leg. This is not really supposed to happen, but it will. Once happened, it should be accepted by the next player. Also watch/listen for little moans or sighs that players might make before or after their turn - these should also be taken over by the next player. This teaches acceptance of what other clowns are doing and it also helps with concentration.

Aerobatics Game/Warm up

This is a fun observation game. Place all players in a line. The first player starts walking around the room, walking in a large circle. The second player starts following the first one, and tries to move like the first player. After a few rounds, the first player goes to the back of the line, and the third player starts following and imitating the second one. Note: Tell players to be themselves; don’t try and walk around funny (it’s not the Ministry of Silly Walks after all).

After all players have done this, then you can have them bump up the silliness of the walks by a fraction. Do this exercise a few times until the walks get very silly. This teaches concentration, acceptance and it also really helps your skills of observation. Observation is a strong key trait to have as a clown since our performance space and audience can sometimes change or be a bit "un-stationary" if you catch my drift.

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1 comment

Please add us we are interested in your workshop.

sumer singh
executive director, citi entertainment network, chandigarh, India


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