List of Basic Shortform Games and Skills

From a discussion in 2013 between some senior WIT trainers about “what skills do we expect Micetro players to pretty much have”.

Not a definitive list of course – we, as a group, regularly learn (or invent!) new shortform games, and some games fall out of favour over time, only to be rediscovered again a year or two later.

Skills:

Basic object work
Entrances and exits
How to ask the audience for a suggestion
How to ask the director for a clarification
How to be a gracious loser or humble winner
How to be directed in a scene
How to narrate and share control of a story
How to gibber
How to speak in one voice
Generating characters (physical shortcuts, accents, attitudes etc)
Endowing partners (names, occupations, relationships, status)
Monologues
Show structure, how it starts and ends
Simple songs, faking ‘em
Starting a scene with an activity
Story spine an starting in the middle
Voice – being heard, whispering loudly, being quiet

Games:

Alphabet
Chain murder
Crime endowment
Do-ron/ Speed Do Ron / Elimination Do Ron
Emotional replay
Emotional rollercoaster
Epic poem
Evil Twin
Experts (yes and)/ Arms Experts/ variations)
Foreign Film
Foreign Poem
Freeze Tag
Furniture
Genre songs
Gibberish opera
Gibberish switch (talking in gibberish for an interlude)
Hat Game
He Said She Said
Le Ronde (simple quick rounds)
Little voice
Machine -> Wanky Poem
Master Servant
Movie in a minute, other replay games such as Replay Fairy Tale
Narrated ballet
New Choice
Numbers of words
Oscar Winning Moment (It’s Tuesday)
Pickup lines
Popup Story book
Puppets, furniture
Quick large group games - Questions Only/. No Questions, No S etc, World’s worst
Reminiscences (Reunion, Old Folks’ home, Retired Superheroes)
Room of Death
Short scenes, especially the likes of death in a minute, ends with I love you, Who loves who the most
Silent scenes (e.g. bus stop)
Slide show
Slo Mo Commentary
Speak in one voice
Spoon River, points of view story
Song/sonnet/sermon
Status Switch
Story story die
Tag Out Story / Tag out song
Touch to talk
Typewriter/ Myth/ Narrated story
What Happens / Next Evil Voice
Word at a Time
Yes Let’s
Year book photo / Family Photo

Format – Battle of WITs

2003_bowThree (sometimes more) teams of 2-4 people compete in a series of improv games and open scenes judged by the audience.  An MC keeps the show moving and acts as a director of last resort – but effectively the teams are in charge of themselves.

Ideally form teams well before the show and train together, so that when you are on stage you know how to make the most of each other’s strengths, and what will inspire each other.  Give yourselves a team name, pick a team leader, even create a cute little pose or chant to introduce yourselves.

Typically there are four rounds for Battle of WITs, with eliminations after the second round and (if more than three teams) before the last round –  the MC will manage to the time available and the number of teams.  At the end of a scene teams stay on stage, as the MC asks the audience to judge “was that a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5″.  The MC may also arbitrarily add or deduct points for any reason at any time.

  • First round is the Blind Draw – the team leader will pick a game from a hat.  These will be open ended suggestions that draw on base skill games – for example, the suggestion might be “a poem” or “word at a time” or “speak in one voice”.  As a team decide quickly how you will respond, for example if you get “a poem” you could choose to do a Wanky Poem, an Epic Poem or a Sea Shanty. There is a time limit for this round, the MC will let you know when your time is nearly up.
  • The second round is Team Favourite - what you will tell the audience is your teams chosen Favourite Game – actually have a few favourites to select from, as you don’t want to do anything that’s too similar to another teams’ pick, or to a game that appeared in the first round.
  • Third round is the Team challenge – the team leader from another team sets a condition for the scene, which will be an open scene of some kind.  Don’t make these challenges too restricting or gaggy, for example “take your inspiration from the word purple” is better than “everyone must speak in rhyming couplets”
  • Fourth round MC Challenge – at the whim of the MC.   This is usually the final round, depending on time.    As an example, the MC might require each team to use a member from an opposing team to start their scene.

Teams who’ve been eliminated may still come on stage to be props or furniture or a transient marching army if called for, but just remember whose scene it is.