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.

Teaching Purpose

A good exercise in looking at physical offers and building on them (yes and), and collaborating and supporting.

Show Introduction

“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.

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