Number of players: 2 or more (although more than 20 can be unwieldy) Tags: Exercise, Large Group, All Levels, Narrative
When: This is a large group warm-up exercise
Overview: A group of players will tell a story while standing in a circle. But, each person will add only one word at a time as the focus goes around the circle to build sentences and the story.
Introduction: "We're going to tell a story, but each of us can only add one word at a time as we go around the circle building up sentences. Because you only get to add one word to the story each rotation, individually you're not going to have a big impact on the plot. Don't get hung up on the perfect word; instead just say a word that keeps the sentence going. If you need a name, use the ones already mentioned. Same with objects, actions, or emotions. The more you can reincorporate ideas in the story, the tighter it will become. You'll notice us go off the rails when someone introduces a new concept into an established story. Now, who has a title for this story?"
Details: The class is broken up into one or more groups so that each group has less that 20 players. A group stands in a circle, not quite shoulder to shoulder. The introduction is given, and then someone in the group comes up with a title for the story. That persons starts by giving the first word. A direction is established, and then sentences are built up. Punctuation is usually implied, but if someone says the punctuation out loud, it is NOT their word. That person still needs to add a word to the story.
The story is ended by the director at an appropriate time, typically some sort of resolution, but sometimes when the story has completely gone off the rails. However, our group has found a common way to end a scene by starting a sentence with the sequence "The moral of the story is .." and then creating a moral. With more experienced players, just starting a sentence with the word "The" is enough to let everyone know that we'll end with a moral. The director still decides when the moral is complete, although this is a more obvious call.