The Name Game - Nurse Lulu's Improv Series

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There are a variety of ways to leave a hospital room after a performance, as I’ve written about in  previous posts.  Whether with a partner or clowning alone, always try to leave on a laugh.  But there are also different ways to enter a room and start a performance.  I mention it a lot but it’s worth mentioning again: the best thing to do is to involve and/or empower your patient at every turn and this is a good opportunity.

The following gag only works if done with a partner.  This and similar “skits” should be rehearsed so that timing and delivery become second nature.  As with all acting, comedy and improvisation, it is also essential to be in the moment and to listen.

* DISCLAIMER: The following game is NOT my idea, nor did it come from a clowning shift.  This interactive skit was created and taught by the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit during our week-long intensive orientation at our children’s hospital.

The Name Game:

The clowns enter the patient’s room.  One clown introduces herself to the patient and then her partner by  name: “Hi! I’m [clown name] and this is [partner’s clown name]. And you are…?”

The partner chimes in immediately with his name.

The first clown: “Yes, I already know your name.  I’m trying to find out our patient’s name.”  She directs attention to the patient again: “Hi! I’m [clown name] and this is [partner’s clown name]. And you are…?”

The partner chimes in again: “I told you, it’s [clown name].”

The first clown is getting frustrated, but not angry: “I know.  Let me find out our patient’s name. I’m [clown name] and this is [partner’s clown name]. And you are…?”

The partner happily chimes in immediately with his name as if he hasn’t been doing this.

The first clown is really frustrated: “Okay, I need a minute. I’m sorry.  Do you mind if I step outside to calm my nerves?  Thanks.” Leaves the room.

The partner mischievously plots with the patient to answer this time, still using the partner’s name.

The first clown comes back in: “I’m okay now. Can I do this?” The partner promises to be cooperative.“Hi! I’m [clown name] and this is [partner’s clown name]. And you are…?”

The patient answers with the partner’s name.  The first clown looks at the partner angrily, the partner looks guilty and the first clown chases the partner out of the room.

The ideal patient would be a child of 9 and up, so they can understand what is happening and not scold the partner.  Sometimes the child will say their name in the middle of the skit and they taught us this:

The clowns enter the patient’s room.  One clown introduces herself to the patient and then her partner by  name: “Hi! I’m [clown name] and this is [partner’s clown name]. And you are…?”

The partner chimes in immediately with his name. The patient says their name too: “Mary.”

The first clown: “Yes, I already know your name.  I’m trying to find out Mary’s name.”

Some children refuse to plot against the other clown and say their own name at the end, in which case the partner can be disappointed, the first clown acknowledges the patient’s name and moves on to a trick or something else the child may be interested in. 

["The Name Game" in this post was created and taught by The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit.]

Lucy E. Nunez has been a theatrical performer since 2002. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in 2014. She was a resident clown there and at Baptist Children's Hospital. For more information please visit: www.sunnybearbuds.wix.com/buds


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