How to Play Zip Zap Zop

By Contributing Writer

Updated September 22, 2017

Zip Zap Zop is a traditional theater warm-up game. It can be played with any number of people greater than two, and is generally used to get actors to pay attention to each other. Whether you're in charge of an improvisation troupe or a production of a Shakespeare play, you can gather your actors for a quick round of Zip Zap Zop before moving on to more complicated exercises.

Gather all actors in a big circle.

Start the game by pointing at another actor in the circle and saying "Zip." That actor, with no hesitation, must immediately point to another player and say "Zap." That player must, in turn, immediately point to another person and say "Zop." And that person must immediately point to someone else and say "Zip."

Continue in this fashion until someone makes a mistake by either saying the wrong word or by hesitating too long. That player is eliminated, and the player to her left begins again from Step 3.

Keep playing until only two people are left.

Modify the game to suit your own needs. You can create variations on Zip Zap Zop to work on certain skills. For example, a great way to work on eye contact is to play that instead of pointing, you must simply make eye contact with another player when saying "Zip." This requires your actors to pay even closer attention to each other and make more eye contact.


Zip Zap Zop is best played as a first warm-up, just after stretching but before getting into character-driven games.


Do not play Zip Zap Zop in front of an audience. It is only a warm-up, not a theater game.