Theatre Blocking Game Ideasby Scott DamonUpdated September 22, 2017
Blocking refers to the movement of the characters on stage in a given scene. For example, when a certain line is said, the director may tell an actor to get up from the sofa and walk to the window. When actors rehearse a play, these movements are worked out and "set" so that the actors know what they will be doing and where they will be on the stage at any given time. Many theater groups play blocking games at the start of rehearsal to accustom the actors to working with each other and to get comfortable moving on the stage.
Instruct the actors to form a large circle on the stage. Choose someone to begin. The person must think of an emotional state to portray. She then must walk across the circle in character and tap another person on the shoulder. That person must exaggerate slightly the manner and walk of the first person and go to another person in the circle and tap him on the shoulder. That person then heightens the emotional state and exaggerates the walk even more. The game continues until everyone has had a turn and the character portrayed becomes extreme.
What Are You Doing?
Invite two players to take the stage on a set that is currently in place. If you are not rehearsing a play, then place furniture on the stage in some semblance of a room. Next, player A asks player B, "What are you doing?" Player B responds. Player B might say "reading a book," for example. Player A must pantomime the action and read a book on the set. Player B then asks player A the same question and then pantomimes the response. Players are called out if they repeat something similar, are too slow to respond or suggest something that is impossible within the space. For example, "shooting a basketball" would not fit in a living room set.
This game requires four people. Two people sit on chairs or stools to the side of the set. Next, place an array of props and furniture on the set. Two other actors stand in the middle of the set and wait for the game to begin. Ask the actors not in the game to suggest a type of movie, such as action, romantic comedy or suspense. Next, the actors in the chairs must describe three scenes in the movie, a beginning, middle and an end in the suggested genre. The actors on the stage must use the props and the setting to play out the scenes in an improv. Continue to play the game until everyone has both given the scene descriptions and acted out the scenes.
Young or new actors many not be familiar with stage directions. For instance, does downstage mean toward the audience or toward the back of the stage? It means toward the audience. Does stage left mean from the audience's viewpoint or the actors'? It means from the vantage point of the actors. Create a "Simon Says" type game where you give the actors stage directions. If they move to the correct place, then they stay in the game. If they move incorrectly, they are out. Make the game more advanced by giving a series of more complex directions, such as "Cross downstage left, wave to the audience, then move upstage right."
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