Author: Janine Buesgen

Pennsylvania High School cancels planned production of Spamalot

If you follow educational theatre, or theatre in general, you’ve probably heard about the Spamalot controversy at South Williamsport Junior/Senior High School. Essentially, the administration canceled an already-contracted production of Spamalot, due to concerns about content. South Williamsport is a tiny school district, with under 700 students in the 7-12 Junior/Senior High School.     After conflicting reports in local media, Keystone Progress, a progressive network, used Pennsylvania’s right-to-know law to obtain documents relating to the incident. You can access the obtained documents (with redactions!) from the article on Keystone Progress’ website. In a June 30, 2014 email to Drama Director...

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Blob (Simple)

The blob tries to assimilate everyone, and everyone tries to avoid assimilation. Game Type: Warm-up Age Range: 7+ Number of Participants: 5-40 Materials: Enough enclosed space to accommodate the number of participants How to Play: Participants spread out in an enclosed area and the Blob is chosen. At the leader’s signal, the Blob begins trying to tag another participant. When the Blob succeeds in tagging a participant, that person latches on to the Blob, becoming part of the Blob. The Blob continues to try to tag others, and as they get tagged, they also join the Blob. Eventually, everyone is the Blob, and there is no one left to be tagged. Encourage both groups of participants as they try to avoid or assimilate, and remember that the last person to be tagged by the Blob is not the “winner” and the first person to be tagged is not the “loser”. The objectives for the Blob and the non-blobs should prevent the participants from thinking of this. The group will probably ask to play again, and because this is a fairly short game, there should be time to repeat the game. The second time, encourage the Blob to work together to find better ways to tag people, and the non-blobs to discover original ways to avoid the Blob. Notes: Make sure that any obstacles that could cause a fall are removed before playing this game....

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Ali Baba

Game Type: Concentration Age Range: 7-12 Number of Participants: 8-20 Materials: None Explanation: Ali Baba is sort of a physical version of a song in the round. one person starts with a motion, and the next person comes in one line later with the first motion, while the first person is doing the next motion. The game stops when the first motion has successfully made it around the circle to the first person. How to Play: All participants sit in a circle. The leader begins, saying “Ali Baba and the forty thieves” while doing a repeatable motion (Clapping, snapping)...

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Object Permanence – Sight

Game Type: Skill Development Age Range: 7+ Number of Participants: 2-20 Materials: A selection of 20 to 50 objects, a table upon which the objects will fit, pens/pencils and paper/index cards Explanation: Participants try to remember things they can no longer see. How to Play: Prior to playing, the leader places the group of objects on a table and covers it with a cloth or places it in a separate room, so that no one can see it ahead of time. The leader explains that the participants have one minute to look at the objects on the table, and then they will be asked to write down as many objects as they can remember. The participants are not allowed to touch any of the objects, and they cannot talk aloud during the minute of looking. The leader has the participants stand around the table, and pulls the cover off, saying “Go.” After timing a minute, the leader covers the table, and asks the participants to write down as many objects as they can remember. The leader gives the participants two minutes to do this, and at the end of this time, the leader lists all of the objects on the table. Notes: This game helps participants focus on their sense of sight – it can be repeated so that they can try different methods of remembering all of the objects. It favors the visual learners, especially...

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Park Bench

Game Type: Improvisation Age Range: 10+ Number of Participants: 2 Materials: A Bench Explanation: In this game, one person decides the character for both participants. The other participant has to react to her scene partner while simultaneously trying to determine her character. How to Play: One participant sits on a bench. The setting is a park, and the person on the bench has no character until the second participant enters. The second participant has decided who she is, and who the person sitting on the park bench is. For example, the person entering could decide, “The person on the bench is a famous author, and I am a great fan of their work.” In this situation, the actor would recognize the person on the bench, react to seeing their favorite author in person, ask for an autograph, and tell the author about which books she likes best. The actor on the bench, meanwhile, has to adapt to the situation, developing their character bit by bit. The improvisation ends when one actor exits, hopefully after everyone figures out who they are. Notes: With younger or less experienced actors, the leader may want to supply the person entering with characters, so that there is no worry about clear...

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