These two games are some of my all time favorites to play and teach my students. Both of them teach concentration skills, quick thinking and team work. All three skills are essential to clowning professionally.
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
Excellent warm-up. Everyone in a circle. We are going to establish a rhythm, by saying, all together ’Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves’ (this is from the movie, Aladin). Keep repeating this in a somewhat moderately slow pace with a beat or so in between. One person starts making a gesture to this rhythm, say, tapping their head with their left hand. When the sentence is repeated, the player next to them takes over this gesture, while the first one starts a completely different and new gesture. Third time the sentence is done, player three does the first gesture, player two does the second gesture and player one invents a new one again. And so on. This is also a concentration game, though it’s not really difficult. All one has to do is watch the previous player, and next time, take over their gesture. When you’re watching what everyone else is doing you’re going to get lost though.
Alien Tiger Cow
Fun game to warm up and to teach players some "chivalry". Everyone in a circle. There are 3 things a player can be: An alien: hold your index fingers up next to your head, as little antennas and say ’Bleeb bleeb’, bending inwards into the circle;
A cow: bend forward, hold your right hand on your tummy and go ’Moooo’.
A tiger: push your right hand forward, imitating a claw and roar.
On your count, every player decides to become one of the three. The idea is for everyone to become the same, which obviously won’t be the case, the first time. We re-do this until everyone is in sync.
Variations: Invent your own animals (or things) and let players become juke boxes, birds, whatever. Play ’majority wins’: animals/things that are most in the minority drop out. Also known as Rock Paper Scissors.