My Bench

Required Materials: 2 chairs or a bench big enough for two people

Number of people: Two people at a time

Player number one sits down. Her objective or goal in this game is to have a quiet day. She imagines that she is seated on a bench, in a park, on a nice day. She should do whatever she can to convince the audience that she is committed to having a quiet day. Suggest that she pick an action to help her show her objective. For example, she can pretend that she is reading a book or newspaper, listening to music on a headset, bird watching or napping.

Player number two approaches player number (who is seated on the bench). His objective or goal is to use his behavior to move player number one from the bench. Many students like to use the word “annoy.” In other words, Player number two’s goal is to annoy player number one enough to get her to leave the bench. For example, player number two could talk really loudly, ask the same question over and over again, sing poorly, cry uncontrollably, etc….

I establish rules to this game to keep everyone focused on their objective:

  1. no improper language or toilet humor
  2. Player number two is not allowed to demand or ask player number one to leave the bench (that defeats the purpose)
  3. no touching or pushing your partner off the bench

When player number one has left the bench, player number two takes her seat on the bench and his objective is now to sit on the bench and have a quiet day. Then I choose another student to take player number two’s place and so on….

I encourage students in the number two position to be creative and try not to repeat an action that another player has used. In fact, I “eject” students from the game for repeating another player’s idea. It challenges them to think creatively and it forces them to pay close attention to their classmates choices.

This game is helpful in illustrating and practicing the principal of objective. It can be fast paced.

Beware of the student who doesn’t want to leave the bench and tells you that they are not really annoyed enough to walk away. You’ll know it when you see it. Remind this student that the goal is to show the audience that you are committed to your objective (which is to have a quiet day and NOT to stay on the bench for as long as possible). . . .If this is a chronic problem, I suggest imposing a time limit to the improvisation.

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