When attending drama classes, one of the main goals should be to achieve a strong connection in a dynamic group. One of the best ways to do this is by working with exercises that focus on awareness, eye contact, and attention. Not only have these exercises helped my theatre group to grow stronger, but also myself as an individual to grow more disciplined and adaptable to different kinds of groups.
In this game, you need to choose a detective and a mafia, but no one else can know who these are. An ideal way of doing this is by announcing that you're choosing the detective and then silently tap the person on the shoulder, then carry out the same process when choosing the mafia.
The Mafia is the one who will be winking at different people, and once you've been winked at, you need to fall on the floor because, well, you've been killed. Of course, the Detective has to be constantly looking out for the Killer, without making it too obvious. The group walks around the space and the Mafia can start winking at will.
This game requires constant eye contact and awareness of the group. Unfortunately, the victims cannot speak about who killed them. You can add layers to this exercise, by asking the group to constantly cover the entire space which requires additional focus but also building an innate spacial awareness.
This exercise can be conducted in a circle or simply walking around the class. The group has to stop together, without any prompt or leader. Then after stopping, they have to start walking together again and continuing to repeat the process.
A way of introducing this exercise is by prompting them yourself, and then, while they are walking or stationary, you can tell them to, in their own time as a group, to stop or start walking together.
In the beginning, the group might start slowing down before they stop altogether, but as their level increases, you can ask them to jog and stop, without slowing down. It is very interesting as you might get people who initiate the change in pace and others who might not catch on because of their lack of group awareness.
Similar to Stop, Go!, the entire group needs to strike a pose of your choice (we usually opt for a squat with throwing our hands in front of us) while shouting Ha!
You can start by assigning an individual to lead the group into the Ha! and everyone has to keep an eye on the leader and feel their energy, so they can reach a very tight and collected Ha!
Once they've got the hang of it, you can let them execute a Ha! without a leader.
A key hint for them to be able to achieve this is a breath before going for a Ha!; it brings the group together and it really helps to indicate when someone is about to Ha!
The group should be able to feel connected and more aware of the energy between them.
This exercise serves as a great warm up and finding your group focus. The basic idea is that you need to count up to 20. But with a catch; only one person can say one number at a time. For example, one person would start with 1, another would continue 2, someone else would say 3, and so on. Two people cannot say the same number at the same time, otherwise the group would need to start from the very beginning.
This game really helps to feel the group and understand the idea of group energy. The idea is to feel when someone is going to say a number, so you don’t make the mistake of speaking at the same time and causing the entire group to start over.
Of course, if your group gets used to reaching the number 20, you can challenge them to go higher and higher.
Various groups I have been a part of have used these exercises for focus warm-ups, especially before a performance. They are ultimately fun, amusing and can work really well as ice breakers.