Two players start in an odd physical position – either ask the audience for one, or a letter of the alphabet to inspire each position. The rest of the cast are lined up along the back of the stage. The first players do a scene, and if someone from the back line shouts “freeze” then the players in the scene freeze, someone from the back line comes in, taps them on the shoulder, and takes over the position and does a new scene inspired by that position.
Two improvisers are fishing. They are stood next to each other holding fishing rods.
Fisherman: Sure is a good day for fishing.
Fisherwoman: Yessss sir it sure is, an amazing day, sort of day I’m glad to be alive.
Fisherman: Especially after that near death experience you had the other day.
Fisherwoman: Yessss sir, that tuna had it in for me.
Back line: FREEZE!
Someone from back line steps in, taps one of them out, and takes exact position. They turn rods into light sabres.
Jedi: So Darth Vader we meet again.
Darth Vader: Yes, it’s great isn’t it.
Jedi: Yes, it is, I love you but our love is not allowed.
- It’s a good fun of teaching efficient who/what/where, as you are basically doing that rapidly during this game.
- It’s also good for encouraging spontaneity, as at first people will tend to play it too slow and carefully but it’s more fun once they jump in and go for it without over thinking their ideas.
- Justification and incorporating mistakes, as the game creates odd situations for improvisers to justify and incorporate into a scene.
- Is this game destructive? It does feel like one reality is turned into another sometime. Well, sort of. The main focus on it should be on the creating a who/what/where from a random position, it doesn’t have to connect to the scene before.
- It is hard. People will say “this game is hard”. Yes, it is. Life is hard. It doesn’t mean don’t do it, it means keep doing it until it becomes easier as you gradually pick up the skill of jumping in without thinking too much, moving and reacting before you know why, and justifying mistakes in scenes. It does become easier.
Additional Tips for Playing
- This game feels really hard at first, don’t worry just play it lots and it gets easier. It’s the justifying skill that takes a while to get.
- Try not to over think it.
- You don’t have to have an idea before you shout freeze, you can come in if the scene needs it and work it out once you are there.
- Either player can initiate the scene, it doesn’t have to be the player entering.
- Spend more time listening when on the back line and less time thinking.
- If you feel stuck for ideas in the scene just move and explore where that takes you, or make a reaction sound and see where that goes.
- Blind Freeze Tag. The back line can stand with back to stage so they shout freeze without seeing the positions. Useful if people are not getting on stage due to over thinking.
- The audience can shout freeze instead.
- Someone shouts freeze but then says another person’s name for them to actually come in and do the scene.
“This game is called Freeze Tag. Two actors are going to improvise a scene. Whenever someone shouts FREEZE from the back of the stage the players on stage freeze their positions and we will start an entirely new scene based on their odd positions. Please can we have two letters of the alphabet to put our first two people in positions.”
Don’t know! It’s another game that seems to be played everywhere, please let us know if you know where it originates from. I’ve got a feeling it’s originally from Second City or IO because Mark Beltzman (one of our favourite improv teachers) trained there and he loves to use this game to teach quick efficient who/what/where.
This exercise is in the following categories:
Fun with Mistakes / Incorporating Mistakes
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter containing helpful improv resources, casting calls for new shows and news about the UK improv scene please subscribe.
You can also follow us on our facebook group, facebook page, twitter and instagram.
Hoopla are the UK’s first improv theatre and the UK’s biggest improv school with fun and friendly improv shows and classes every day of the week in London and across the UK. We provide fantastic ongoing performing opportunities to students from our courses and a warm, welcoming and supportive community to help make improv for everyone.