Improv for the Holidays
The holidays are a time for connection, reflection, and joy. As families and friends we come together to celebrate our past and to delight in the time we have together. It’s hard to imagine a better tool to do all that than improv! Below I'll explain why I think improv is perfect for bringing people together during the holidays, and list 3 games for you to try with your loved ones.
"Yes, and" your way to holiday cheer
Yes, and" is a rule (yes, improv has rules!) for how to create scenes. This rule has two parts.
"Yes" in this context means: accept each other's ideas. In improv, everyone's ideas are accepted and incorporated into the scene. This creates a supportive environment where everyone feels eager to share and contribute.
The "and" part of "yes, and" he
re means that after we accept each other's ideas we build off of them--in this way we always find our ideas grow two sizes larger than we realized they could.
If your family "yes, and"-s each other, you're sure to find joy and merriment this holiday season. We teach improv at Unscripted because we believe it helps people connect with each other, and grow in their confidence together. This holiday season, try keeping those two words in mind as you try out these games with your family and friends, and see how much your connections grow!
Dr. Know it All
For 3-4 players
3 -4 people stand side by side. These three (or four) are Dr. Know It All--an alien who knows the answer to every question, because they have 3 (or 4) brains! They provide their answers one word at a time. Whenever they complete their answer they take a big serious bow. Here’s an example:
Question: Dr. Know It All, why are there so many holidays in December?
Answer: People. Want. Bright. Colors. Even. Though. The. Light. Is. Gone. So. We. Have. String. Lights. In. Many. Colors. [Dr-Know-It-All Bows.]
Ask Dr. Know-It-All a few questions and then try a different group answering questions!
For 3-4 players
Who doesn’t love a good story? Especially one we make together. For this game, all but one of the players stand in a line. The last player is the conductor, who will point at people in the line–while they are the one pointed at, that person talks and tells a story. Get a suggestion for a kind of story (A hallmark christmas ghost story, perhaps). Make sure everyone is listening because at any moment the conductor can switch who the storyteller is!
Two or more players
This is a scene consisting of 26 lines of dialog. The first line starts with a given letter (say `R`). The reply to that line must start with a `S`, and so on, until the whole alphabet has been covered. After `Z` comes `A`.
Players that hesitate, or use the wrong letter leave the scene and are replaced by another player. The replacement needs to take over the character of the player she replaces. Here's an example, starting with letter A:
Sam: All I want for Christmas is time with the whole family
Chris: But what will we do when everyone’s here?
Sam: Could we make cookies?
Chris: Definitely! I think we should try to make as many as we can.
Sam: Everyone should get an apron, and lots of flour–
Chris: Flagrant violation of code though, because we can only have two people in the kitchen at a time.
Sam: Good point. The Kitchen is small…
Chris: How about we have them make the cookies in the living room, then we’ll throw them in the oven in here!
If you get around to the start of the Alphabet again, the scene finishes!
Happy holidays everyone!
I hope these games provide a fun way to play and share time with your family this year. If you’d like to browse a huge selection of games to try, check out Improv Encyclopedia for a quick reference.