1. GENERAL HEADING: Improvisation

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Telephone Call"

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

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 2 students at a time.


6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 10 ­ 15 minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Place two chairs about two feet apart with their backs to each other. Each chair is in a room in a separate location. One student sits in the chair and "telephones" someone else in the class. When their name is called, the second student sits in the chair and answers the "phone." The first actor needs/wants/demands something from the other student. The other student should react honestly and respond.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: The action/reaction dynamic; the interdependence of actors on the stage; the nature of dialogue; pursuit of conflicting objectives as the essence of drama.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Adapted from Robert Lewis's Advice to the Players.


11. VARIATIONS: Students often come up with pretty lame objectives, so I tend to prompt them by preparing scenarios and handing them to the caller. For example, student A has a paper due in one hour and needs to "borrow" an old paper from student B or student A needs student B to come home with him or her and pretend to be their boyfriend or girlfriend for a high school reunion or student A is accused of shoplifting and needs student B to lie that he or she was with them at the time of the theft, etc. The scenarios should prompt inherent conflict.