“This Is A Watch” is a challenging game to learn that will likely become a favorite in your theatre class. Game Type: Concentration, Group Cohesion Theatre Skills Addressed: Line Memorization, Listening, Articulation, Perseverance Age Range: 5+ Number of Participants: 5-20 Materials: As many one-syllable objects as participants- watch, pen, book, ball, etc.; they should be small enough to pass using one hand, but large enough that two hands could be touching it at the same time. Overview of Activity: Students memorize the basic “script” and “blocking” for the game, then rehearse until the script runs smoothly. The object of the game is to pass the object or objects around the circle without stopping or breaking the rhythm of the script– eventually, the group should be able to complete a circle in which everyone has an object. Directions: The participants sit in a circle. One person has a watch (GIVER), which she will hand over to the person on her right (RECEIVER) once the lines are completed. The first time, the watch is passed from one person to the next, following the script (see below) until the watch is back at the beginning. Once everyone knows the lines exactly as written, the group can try two objects. The person with the watch again passes it to the right, but the person to the left of her hands her a pen AT THE SAME TIME that she is handing over the watch. This means that the person with the watch is saying both parts of the script – the GIVER’S and the RECEIVER’S part. The chart below will illustrate. (The GIVER has a watch, and turns to the person on her right, the RECEIVER)
GIVER: (Offering Watch) This is a Watch.
RECEIVER:( To GIVER) A What?
GIVER:(Replying) A Watch.
RECEIVER:(Repeating) A What?
GIVER: (Replying again) A Watch.
  RECEIVER: Oh, A Watch. (Takes Watch)
The RECEIVER now has the watch, and becomes the GIVER with the person to her right, who is now the RECEIVER, and they repeat the same script.
The RECEIVER shouldn’t grab the watch (or other object) until she says, “Oh, a watch.” When there are two objects in the circle, someone is the GIVER and the RECEIVER simultaneously, and must say both sets of lines. ARROWS indicate to whom the comment is directed
GIVER GIVER & RECEIVER RECEIVER
This is a Pen. –> This is a Watch. –> (silence)
(silence) <– A What? <– A What?
A Pen. –> A Watch. –> (silence)
(silence) <– A What? <– A What?
A Pen. –> A Watch. –> (silence)
(silence) <– Oh, A Pen. <– Oh, A Watch.
It’s helpful for the person in the “middle” – the GIVER & RECEIVER, to turn her head to the person to whom she’s speaking. Advice/Tips: It is best to move from one object to two, then to three, and so on from there. Do not add another object until the group has successfully completed a circle with the number before. This is not an easy game for everyone to master, but nearly everyone can with some perseverance; I’ve taught this game to hundreds of students. Most likely, some participants will catch on faster than others. They may become frustrated with those who are having difficulty with the rhythm, and/or the ones who are having difficulty may become frustrated. As soon as this occurs, it is time to say “Well, we have all been working very hard at this game. The next time we try it, maybe we will be able to give everyone an object.” Usually, the participants are eager enough to master the game that they will practice with others until you see them again. It may help to have the lines written on a large piece of paper for visual learners, and if you have an assistant or two, demonstrate the game with them. Playwright Stephen Gregg uses this game to great effect in “This Is A Test” – Here’s a YouTube video of the scene.