Two players play a scene but they can’t move their bodies until two other improvisers move them. They can move their eyes and mouth to speak, but all other movements come from the “puppeteers” moving them. To make the puppet improviser take a step to walk the puppeteer improviser taps them behind their knee.

Teaching Purpose

The nature of the game forces everyone to slow down and listen to everyone on stage.

It is in an excellent group listening game with players picking up visual and verbal offers from different directions and when people finally get it they experience being very present with the rest of the team.

It is also good training for justifying mistakes, as the players will have to be constantly justifying each other’s movements.

Additional Tips for Playing

  • Justify what’s said with the physical movements, and justify the physical movements with what’s said.
  • Try to not move until moved by the puppeteer.
  • Give offers for each other.
  • The movements don’t always have to make sense. You can move first and find out what it means afterwards.


  • Sometimes audience members are used as volunteers to be puppeteers. If doing that always make sure audience members are thanked and made to look good.

Show Introduction

“This game is called Puppets. Two improvisers on stage are in a scenes but they can’t move until two other improvisers move them.”


Not sure, maybe Whose Line Is It Anyway or Keith Johnstone.

Hoopla courses we play this game in

Mostly in our level 2 course as a show game and justification exercise.


This exercise is in the following categories:


Justifying Mistakes

Short Form Games

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