The cross and the circle
This is a general exercise guaranteed to suit everyone, since it is almost impossible for one to do the exercises correctly and perfectly! Thus, there is no pressure to do it right, and seeing that everyone fails, make them more comfortable and relaxed. Can be used with both small groups and very large groups, because all you need is a small space around you.
The joker asks the participants to stand up, and form a circle around him/her (Note: if the group is too large, the joker stands in front of the audience): S/he asks them to draw a circle in the air with their right hand –circles can be big or small, however they wish. Everyone should be able to do so. The joker then asks them to stop, and with the left hand, draw a cross. When everyone is doing that right, they are asked to do both circle and cross at the same time. Almost no one is able to do this. Let the group try for a while. (Boal 2002:50).
Person to person, Quebec-style
This exercise is aimed at breaking down barriers among participants, creating a feeling of inclusion and integrating everyone. The exercise is conducted in pairs, making everyone feel that their participation is important, since their partner would be left alone without them.
The group is split into groups of 2. The joker names different body parts. The partners then join these parts together. For example calling “head to head”, then the partners put head and head together, or “Foot to elbow”, putting their foot to their partners elbow, and when possible, the partner should do the same. While acting out what is called, the pairs must keep the previous body parts together, so the heads stay together, while the foot and elbow are joined. After four or five calls few possibilities are left, so the joker says “person to person” which means separating and changing partner, and then the game begins again.
The pairs can choose to stand, sit, lie, or position themselves however they wish. Also, different people can take turns in calling out instructions. (Boal 2002:77).
Walking the room in different paces 1 to 10
Participants are asked to walk around the room in a normal pace – this pace is called 5. The Joker then gradually increases the pace up to 10 which is almost running, then slows down to 1 which is slow motion. After going through speeds the Joker calls out different numbers in random order and the participants change pace fitting the number.
Generally, one’s manner of walking and moving is very mechanised. This exercise is meant to activate muscle groups not usually used, and to create awareness of the body’s possibilities.
The slow motion exercise takes form as a race. Participants line up, and when the race begins, they should move according to the following rules:
- Participants must never stop moving
- Each move must be done as slowly as possible
- Always take the largest step forward you can, and stretch the body right out
- Putting your foot down should be audible
- Both feet must never be on the ground at the same time
- The winner of the race is the last person to finish the distance
Make sure to choose an appropriate distance for the race, remember that it happens in slow motion and could take a while. (Boal 2002:71).