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Improvisation Game: Freeze Tag

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The Basics:

"Freeze Tag" (also known simply as "Freeze") is an improvisation game is a great drama exercise for performers at any level. It works best in groups of eight or more. Two volunteers step onto the stage while the rest of the actors sit and wait for the right moment to join in.

"I Need a Location":

As with most improv activities, audience participation is essential. The actors on stage will request suggestions for a specific location. If this is a classroom exercise, the drama instructor should encourage the audience to be creative with their suggestions. For example, "Stuck inside a giant vending machine" or "In the break room of Santa's Workshop" is far more inspiring than "Shopping mall."

The performers listen to a few of the suggestions. They then quickly select an interesting setting and the scene begins. The goal of the actors is to invent characters and dialogue "off the cuff." They should quickly establish a storyline and conflict. Also, they should be encouraged to move about the stage space, pantomiming whatever they wish to incorporate into the scene.

Calling "Freeze!":

After the actors have been given enough time to create an interesting situation, the performers sitting in the audience can now participate. All they need to do is shout, "Freeze!" The actors on stage will then stand motionless. Whoever called out "freeze" enters the stage space. He or she takes the place of one of the actors, recreating the exact same pose. This can sometimes be challenging if the actor happens to be in a ballet position or crawling on all fours. But that's part of the fun!

Keep It Going:

A brand new scene begins with a different setting and different characters. No more suggestions are taken from the audience. Instead, it is up to the performers to invent the situation. Drama instructors should ask students to let the physical positions influence the storyline of the next scene. For example, if one set of performers is frozen while in the middle of a tug of war contest, the next scene could take place at an Amish barn raising. Also, instructors should make certain that each scene is given enough time to develop. Usually two or three minutes is ample time to establish character and conflict.

At first, improvisation activities might be very challenging for unseasoned performers. Yet, we often played these sorts of games when we were children. Remember: Improvisation is simply an advanced form of playing pretend.

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