The 5 Greatest Theatre Games Ever Invented

The 5 Greatest Theatre Games Ever Invented

Patrick Connolly

Smile If You Love Me, Baby

Concept: A person stands stone-faced. If he/she cracks when another person says “smile, if you love me, baby”, then the other person takes his/her place. And so on and so forth. Basically, the only rule is that you can’t touch the person who is stone-faced.

Why it’s so good: One of the charms of this game is that if you’re the person trying to make the one who is stone-faced crack a smile, there is the opportunity to have so much fun with your interpretation on how to say “smile if you love me, baby”. You could have a voice like Scooby-Doo, you could do jumping jacks, you could speak whale…the stage is yours!

Freeze Tag

Concept: Two actors start up a scene. One actor says “FREEZE” from the sidelines, takes one actor’s place, and starts up a scene with their improvisation skills. The other actor has to follow through as well.

Why it’s so good: I’m not necessarily the most ingenious improviser around, but there’s something about the energy of the game that makes it so enjoyable. The ability to replace a frozen actor in order to change the tone of the scene is exciting for actors, as well as those who are watching the scene unfold. Certainly a fun theater game for a group of theater fans.

Hitchhiker

Concept: Pretend you’re in a taxi cab. You have your driver, passenger, and backseat driver. Then you pick up a hitchhiker; he/she is responsible for improvising a scene. For instance, if this hitchhiker is The Joker from The Dark Knight, the rest of those in the car would presumably be scared passengers. Or if the hitchhiker is Fear from Inside Out, the rest would presumably be a few of the emotions from that film. Anything’s possible in this game.

Which is why it’s so good: Similar to Freeze Tag, I’m not necessarily the most ingenious improviser around, but even with that said, the game is too much fun to ignore. I love how the concept of this game makes it a challenge for the actors to keep up, and play along until another person changes the tone of the scene. It’s not only a joy to play, but equally a joy to watch.

Captain, My Captain

Concept: The captain (the leader of the game) tells the rest of those participating to do whatever he/she wants them to do. Some of that may include singing like a mermaid/man, pretending to be rowing a boat, or waltzing to a song like “Ten Minutes Ago” from Cinderella.

Why it’s so good: First off, I love how the title seems to be inspired from Dead Poets Society. Second off, this game is a theater actors’ dream. It allows you to be so many things that you could probably be somewhere else in the future. This would serve as inspiration for many actors who want to get their feet into the theater world. So if any directors command them to sing or act like a mermaid/man, they would be able to do it!

Zip Zap Zop

Concept: Everyone gathers around in a circle. One person claps their hand, and says “ZIP” to another person in the circle. That other person claps their hand, and yells “ZAP” to another person in the circle. That other person claps their hand, and yells “ZOP” to another person in the circle. That other person claps their hand, and says “ZIP” to another person in the circle. That other person--

Well, you get the jist. The game goes on in a furious pace to see who will become victorious by its end.

Why it’s so good: I don’t understand why this game hasn’t become the concept for a Sports movie yet. It’s an exhilarating theater game that demands you to concentrate during every second, and just feeling the energy during the game is similar to attending a rock concert. But even if you lose, just experiencing it—in or out of the game—is so much fun all by itself. Theater directors/teachers would be insane not to put in their lesson plans. It is, hands down, my favorite theater game of all-time.

Let me know in the comment section what your favorite theater games of all-time are! 

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