1. GENERAL HEADING: Improvisation

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Elevator"

3. GOALS: To build concentration, alertness, and a group dynamic.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Group Exercise: 5 ­10 students at a time.


6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 10 minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Place four chairs so that they form a square-- This is your elevator. The front two chairs indicate the doors of the elevator. Everyone has gotten on a different floor and no one knows each other. When the improvisation starts the elevator is on its way down from the 60th floor of the World Trade Tower-- It is an express and there are no doors between where you are and the lobby. At a certain point the instructor will bang his or hand on a table. That is a signal that the elevator has stopped-- it is stuck in the middle of the shaft. The students must decide for themselves who they are, what they were doing in the building, and where they were going.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Defining given circumstances; acting truthfully under imaginary circumstances; acting versus pretending.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Adapted from Robert Lewis. Advice to the Players. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1980.


11. VARIATIONS: Give one or two students specific given circumstances (one has claustrophobia; one is going into labor; one has a crucial job interview; one was meeting a hot date, etc.). My favorite variation is to throw a wad of paper onto the "elevator" - it is a giant waterbug....