Improv Games Featuring Genres : Genre Rollercoaster, Genre Replay, Genre Date . . . Print E-mail
For the purposes of this site, We have divided Genre-related improv games into two categories. For a description of the categories, please see the Genre Guru Glossary.

Mixed-Genre Games

Games Description
Genre Rollercoaster Where one scene is periodically frozen and then continued in a different genre.
Genre Replay (aka 1-scene 3-genres.) A 'neutral' scene is played and then replayed three times each in a different genre.
Genre Date This is most usually done as an emotion game, but can be done with genres. In it, one character goes on a date with another with 3 different personalities (genres). Each personality-trait is played by a different actor and these actors swap in and out to show the character's three sides.
Genre Taxi Driver Similar to Genre Date but where the taxi driver has the three personalities.
Genre Psychiatrist Similar to Genre Date but where the psychiatrist has the three personalities.
Conducted Story

(aka Continuing Story.) This is the classic game where a line of people tell one story, either in turn or when pointed at, each continuing where the previous left off. This game can be played where the story is in one particular genre, or each player has his or her own genre. When played with one genre for the whole story, it can be considered to be in the next section

Story Die The die version of Conducted Story is where players who mess up are ordered off the stage by the audience yelling "die!" (or D'oh or something similar if this seems a little harsh.)
Genre Fairy Tale A well-known fairy tale is retold in a different style. One key to this is adapting the original story to use the conventions of the new genre. It is possible here to replace one type of plot-element with the comparable one in the same genre.
Movie Different Genre In this game, the plot of a well known movie is retold in a different style. Harder than Genre Fairy Tale as it can be difficult to find one movie that everybody knows and remembers the plot of.

Full-Genre Games

Games Description
Genre Scene Any general scene can be done in a genre of your (or the audience's) choosing. For example several groups play games called Film Noir, Opera or Western, where a scene is played out that adheres roughly to that genre.
Genre Longform

(aka Genre Narrative) Where a whole longform piece (of 30 minutes to an hour and a half) is done in a genre of your (or the audience's) chosing. For examples, Musical, Tennessee Williams or Sci Fi Theater.

Genre in a Fixed Time

Get a genre from the audience, and play a whole longform in that genre within a certain set time. For example 15 minutes; 5 minutes; 1 minute.

Story Teller (aka Typewriter) Where someone narrates a story (optionally miming typing it on a typewriter or word-processor) which is acted out by the other players. The narration open and closes the story and helps change scenes, but once the scene is set the actors take over. The narrator can also help keep things moving or provide extra information when needed during the scenes.
Genre Space Jump A scene starts with one person in one genre. Soon someone freezes and starts a new scene using a new genre and justifying the current position of the first player; A third person joins and a new scene starts in the third genre, and so on usually until 4 players are in the scene. Then they leave in the order last in first out, each time causing the scene to revert to the previous one in the previous genre.
DVD Watch a new movie on DVD with a fictitious name from the audience. A caller controls the scene using any of the functions of a DVD. The movie can easily be set in a genre either pre-decided by the players; got from the audience or suggested by the title. Another option is that different scenes from the film can be shown as if shot in a different genre.
Video The precursor to DVD, but with much less functions. See also Laserdisc and Betamax.
Director

We see a movie or theatre director in action, directing actors in his or her latest work under development. Redoing scenes in a manner of ways, etc. A genre can apply to the whole game or added as part of one scene.

Director Interview Where a movie director is interviewed about one of his or her films which we see scenes from enacted by the other players. A genre can apply to the whole game or added as part of one scene.
Shift Left Shift Right Four actors stand in a square formation. The two actors at the front at any given time are in a scene based on audience suggestions (in this case, genres). The actors who are at the front, and therefore the currently played scene, can be changed by a caller who calls "shift left" or "shift right."
Channel Surfing

This is a variant of Scene Tag. In Scene Tag, three different scenes are played by three sets of two actors. The three scenes swap in and out controlled by any of the four players not in the current scene. The only provision is that the last thing said in one scene is the first thing said in the next scene. In Channel Surfing it's exactly the same except each ask-for is a style of TV show, and people say ZAP! to chance scenes.

Freeze Tag The classic game of Freeze Tag can be tweaked for workshops by having someone call out a new genre every time someone steps in to start a new scene.
Radio Play This is often played in the dark and a whole scene is done using voice only.
Radio Surfing

People line up and become the face of the dial on a radio. Each has a style of radio show. A caller plays the dial and moves up and down pointing to the channel he is listening two. As he moves, people fade in and out. Probably only really for countries like the UK, where they have things on the radio such as plays, etc.

Dubbing Where a foreign film or opera, spoken or sung in foreign gibberish, is 'translated' into the local language. A country where the piece is set gives the genre.
Puppets

The Puppets game is where two actors are controlled by members of the audience or other actors, and can only speak to justify the positions they are put in. A common variant is Spy Puppets where the two actors are spies on a mission obtained from the audience. Mission can be something big or as simple as plugging in the TV. But the format could used with other genres, such as Film Noir Puppets, Action Thriller Puppets or Puppet Superheroes.

Genre Gimmick Games

Games that generate not real scenes but single lines or snippets of scenes.

Games Description
Last Action Line

A suggetsion of an ordinary (household) object is got from the audience, something that would not normally be used to kill someone. Individually, the cast comes forward and demonstrates using it as a weapon, followed by a typical Action Hero / James Bond-style line relating to the object. For example (pencil): (stab) "I guess he got the point."

More info

For a description of the categories and terms used here see the Genre Guru Glossary. For a full description of nearly all improv games see Improv Encyclopedia or The Living Playbook.