1. GENERAL HEADING: Improvisation

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Mirror Game"

3. GOALS: To build concentration and alertness; partner interaction.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Minimum of 2, unlimited maximum


6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 10 - 15 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP-DESCRIPTION: Separate class into pairs. Have each pair of actors stand facing each other. Designate who will be Actor 1 and Actor 2 in each pair. Actor 1 is the lead, Actor 2 is the mirror. Encourage students to lock eyes and not look at each other's body. Begin the exercise by instructing Actor 1 to slowly move his or her right arm and hand in slow continuos movements. Actor 2's goal is to mirror exactly the movement of Actor 1. Once the students are comfortable with this, instruct Actors 1 to add in left hand and arm, then entire body (while remaining cemented in place). Once the Actors are moving in unison, have them switch and Actor 2 becomes the leader and Actor 1 the mirror.

Further variations include having the leader do simple tasks--brushing hair, shaving, putting on nail polish, brushing teeth, etc.

Advanced variations entail splitting the class into groups of four. One group of 2 is the lead pair, the other pair is the mirror. The lead pair then completes full body motions: tossing an imaginary ball back and forth, playing tennis, using a two-man saw, etc. The second pair then mirrors this activity. Don't necessarily tell the students what to do--see what ideas they come up with.

A super advanced variation is to split the entire class into two groups and have them stand at opposite ends of the room--Then create an imaginary rope and have the class play tug-of-rope. Intense side-coaching is needed for this exercise to be successful.

8. POINTS FOR DISCUSSION: The importance of concentration--the action/reaction dynamic--the interdependence of actors on the stage. Body alertness; direct seeing (no imitation); and inventiveness.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Viola Spolin. Improvisation for the Theatre. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1963, 1983. Greg Atkins. Improv! Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 1994.


11. VARIATIONS: Unlimited