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Act it back

Work as a team to take on the challenge of writing a gripping script. Watch out Hollywood!
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Erasers

Create prompts

  1. The person leading the activity should give everyone two pieces of scrap paper and a pen or pencil.
  2. Everyone should write a sentence that someone could to say to someone else on each piece of paper. It could be completely random from their imagination or something they’ve said or heard recently. The sentences don’t need to link to each other (and they don’t need to be perfect works of art).
  3. Everyone should pop their sentences into the middle of the meeting place. Someone should mix them up.
  4. Everyone should take it in turns to choose two random sentences from the pile. These are their prompts.

Craft a script

  1. Everyone should split into groups of three or four. The person leading the game should give each group a pencil, an eraser, and some paper.
  2. Each group should find a space and lay out their prompts so everyone can see them.
  3. Together, each group should piece the sentences into an order that makes sense a conversation. It doesn’t have to be exact – they can change the odd word if they need to.
  4. Everyone should decide who’ll be the actors and who’ll be the scribes. If anyone doesn’t want to do either role, that’s OK. They can still offer plenty of helpful ideas and feedback by talking.
  5. The actors should imagine a scenario for the conversation the group created from the prompts. They should begin improvising to act out the scenario – it may feel a little odd at first; improving’s meant to be a little messy and disjointed.
  6. While the actors improvise, the scribes should jot down what they see – it doesn’t have to be perfect, rough notes or bullet points are fine.
  7. When the actors slow down or start to run out of ideas, the group should come back together and look at what’s been written down.
  8. From these notes, they should start writing the first draft of a script on a new piece of paper. Who are the characters? What about the setting? What did the actors do or say that was great and needs to be included?
  9. Everyone should review their roles – perhaps the actors would like to scribe, the scribes would like to act, or anyone who was a little too nervous feels ready to give it a go.
  10. Each group should act through their drama again, developing the story. The scribes should keep making notes – some things may be an improvement, and others may not work so well.
  11. Once the actors are slowing down, everyone should come back together to review where they’re at.
  12. Everyone should keep improvising and acting and writing until the script is about 10 minutes long.

Reflection

This activity gave people a chance to try new things. It can be really challenging to give something new a go, especially when it puts you on the spot in front of others. How did it feel at first, when people first started acting (or scribing – maybe that was new too)? Did it feel any different after a while? People may have found it got a bit more comfortable with time.

George Lucas (best known for creating Star Wars and Indiana Jones) said that ‘Everybody has talent, it's just a matter of moving around until you've discovered what it is’. Do people agree with this? How do people discover talents? Is it OK if people try something new and aren’t great at it straight away?

This activity also needed everyone to be a team player. What was it like to work in a team? Did everyone have the same role? Did everyone get their first choice role, or did people have to compromise? Did anyone switch roles? What was it like to be dynamic and agile and change priorities?

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.