Half of the workshop group stand along the back wall. The audience suggest machines, vehicles or animals (e.g. washing machine, microwave, tractor, aircraft carrier, elephant) and the groups standing physically become those machines as a team by coming in one by one and physically becoming different moving parts of the machine. They don’t talk about it, they find it by looking at each other and working it out with their physical offers. The can make sound effects.
Additional Playing Tips
- Make sound effects in addition to the physical play.
- Look around at everyone else to support everyone.
- Play with commitment.
- Let the machine move around the room, for instance the airplane could take off and fly around.
One machine merges to another. For instance the group form a battleship first, which then after another suggestion gradually merges to a tiger.
Also can be played with no suggestion, with the group building something physical and gradually working out what it is as they go. Patterns merge and definitions come and go.
Can also be done as an alien creature, with different groups moving around the room as different alien creatures.
A good exercise in looking at physical offers and building on them (yes and), and collaborating and supporting.
“This is a game called The Machine. Our actors are going to build moving machines that can represent anything, no matter how abstract. First of all we need a suggestion for a vehicle.”
Learnt from John Cremer at The Maydays and Charna Halpern with IO. Also appears in Keith Johnstone’s book Impro for Storytellers.
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.