The ASSITEJ Playground was an icebreaker event, where creative and collaborative drama games from practitioners around the world were shared and enjoyed.
It is worth mentioning that many participants and facilitators who were in the audience when I attended, came to the same conclusion: every game reminded them of one they had played in their own country, albeit with slightly different names or rules!
What follows is a selection of some of these exciting activities:
Name Game (Universal)
Going quickly around the circle, each person says his/her name.
Standing in the circle, Person 1 points at Person 2 and walks towards him/her. Before Person 1 reaches Person 2, Person 2 has to call the name of Person 3. Person 3 says, “Hi!” and picks Person 4, points and walk towards him/her. If Person 3 does not call another name in time, he/she is out of the game.
To make it more difficult, the same steps are repeated except that when Person 3 hears his/her name he/she has to say, “Hi!” before Person 2, who points to Person 3, touches him/her. If they don’t succeed, then both Persons 2 and 3 are out of the game.
Two people hold the two ends of a rope and move it around. Everyone else has to run under the rope without tripping or touching it. If they do, they have take over as the person moving the rope.
It can get more difficult when three, four or even five people play it together.
Alternatively, as two people move the rope, everyone else, one by one, runs up to it, skips over it once and runs away. The same rule applies: if someone trips or touches the rope, they have to take over as the person moving the rope.
Create a circle so that everyone can see each other’s face. One person “sends” an “HAAA,” accompanied with a movement, as if they are cutting someone with a sword, to someone else in the circle. The person who receives it gets “wounded” and the people standing on his/her right and left “finishes” him/her, by swinging their swords into their sides. When the neighbours are done, the person wounded lowers their sword and “cuts” someone else by sending another “HAA” in the same way and the game goes on. The aim is to keep up the rhythm, and warm-up physically.
To make it more difficult, the same instructions apply but this time two people on the right and two people on the left “finish” the “wounded” simultaneously.
Tsamo Reka Omo (South Africa)
Everyone stands in a circle. Person 1 says “Samorekaomo” to Person 2 (to their left). Person 2 responds “eh?” and Person 1 answers, “Omo!”
Now, Person 2 says to Person 3 (again, to their left) “Samorekatomo.” Person 3 asks Person 2, “eh?” and Person 2 turns to Person 1 to ask, “eh?” Person 1 answers to Person 2, “Omo!” so Person 2 answers to Person 3, “Omo”. This continues around the circle until everyone has asked the question to the person on their left.
As the questions and answers take place, everyone keeps a specific rhythm by clapping twice with their hands and snapping once with their fingers!
Chain Tag (England)
Everyone walks around in a space and a designated person tries to tag another. They hold hands with the people they have tagged and then, together, they try to tag other people. Everyone who gets tagged holds hands with this line, forming a chain and trying to tag as many people as they can. Everyone else left untagged tries to escape from the ever-growing chain. The chain has to work collaboratively to catch everyone left.
Tin Tha (India)
As a group repeat the following 16 words, one person saying one word each:
Tha Tin Tin Tha (1-2-3-4)
Tha Tin Tin Tha (5-6-7-8)
Na Tin Tin Na (9-10-11-12)
Terequeta Tin Na Tha (13-14-15-16)
In the circle, the aim is to repeat these 16 words, one by one, keeping up a methodical rhythm. The first round of words starts with a basic rhythm, which is then sped up following each round of 16 words.
To add on, everyone claps their hands on every fourth word (1/5/9/13) and the game continues by following these steps.
Never Three (Brazil)
The group is put into pairs. Person 1 of the pair begins the game by separating from Person 2 and running away. Person 2 runs after Person 1 to pull them back. Person 1’s objective is to latch onto another couple. If Person 1 succeeds, Person 3 on the end of the new line must separate from his/her partner and run around. The overall aim of the game is to have two people running around finding another to tag.
If Person 1 gets tagged by Person 2, he/she must stay put for three seconds before either can run away again. No one can stay linked to a chain of more than two people.
Raz, dwa, trzy Baba Jaga patrzy! (Poland)
(Translation: One, two, three Baba Jaga is watching you!)
Everyone moves slowly around the space, creating dramatic poses as per the instructions of the facilitator (e.g., move like a cat, like an elephant, etc.). The facilitator says, “1, 2, 3 Baba Jaga is watching you.” When the facilitator finishes the statement, everyone must freeze. The facilitator checks to see if everyone is in fact frozen and if anyone moves or laughs, they join the facilitator as Baba Jaga. The objective is to catch everyone out so that no one is left.