Improv Game: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING is a staple drama (or theatre) improv game. It is a perfect game to play with beginners to improv as it prompts kids to quickly devise simple scene ideas in a whole group setting. But it's not only great for beginners - once students are familiar with the game, it can be played quickly and is a great energy lifter and warm up. So, it's suitable for all improv skill levels and suitable for middle elementary / primary (years 3 or 4) up to the end of high school.
How to play what are you doing?
This is a whole class circle drama game and can be played with small or large groups.
How to play this improv game:
One student starts in the middle of the circle and is given “something” to do (e.g. getting ready for a big event”).
The next student enters and asks the student: “What are you doing?”
The first student responds with a different activity (different to what they have been doing) and leaves the circle.
The second student immediately starts acting out the new activity until the next student enters and asks: “what are you doing?” They must then come up with a new activity.
Encourage actions and words in the short improvised activities.
Example: The first student is brushing their hair and the next student comes in and asks "what are you doing?" and the first student says something like 'riding in a bike race' then leaves. The next student immediately starts acting out a bike race scenario.
Keep playing around the circle.
Elimination in what are you doing?
Once students get the hang of the game, start playing more quickly and eliminate students who say “ummmm” or repeat an activity that has already been said.
Hints for playing what are you doing
Encourage students to start with simple ideas when they say what they are doing (such as brushing hair, riding a horse, getting dressed, putting on shoes, eating breakfast etc.) as it will get harder as the game goes along and ideas are eliminated.
For beginners to the game, it may be necessary for the teacher to have some ideas to give the students quickly. The game works best when it flows at a nice pace around the circle, so I don't like to let students ponder for too long. You will find that if you help them the first time, by the second or third time around the circle they will be ready with their own ideas. The pace of the game is importance. I don't start eliminating students until they are very familiar with the game and it runs at a smooth and quick pace for the whole class.
This improv game is included in the FREE Drama Games PDF which you can download HERE!
Looking for more drama and improv games, ideas and scenarios?
Find out how drama and improv cards and games transformed my drama classes and why I wouldn't teach drama without them HERE!