Theater games for young kids in an audition setting
October 12, 2017 12:39 PM   Subscribe

What are some easy drama games that can be played with a couple of young kids?

I'm auditioning kids (ages 3-9) for a small role in a film, and I'm not experienced with directing children - or being around kids in general. I'd love to try some quick games that will help the kids relax and have fun during the audition - but also help reveal which kids focus/take direction best.

The scene doesn't have any scripted lines, but requires two older siblings to be teasing the younger one, to the point that he runs to an adult, upset. I'm currently auditioning a few sets of siblings because they'll already have a rapport and trust - but I've discovered it's hard for them not to just all giggle and smile and be silly with each other. Which is fun - but not the point of the scene.

The kids I'm auditioning for the youngest part are so young (3, 4, 5) that they of course aren't "actors" yet - but I don't want them to be actually upset or angry - I want them to have fun. It's a conundrum!

If there are any games that will help the youngest kid feel comfortable playing different emotions (including being mad or sad) - that would be the most helpful thing. Thank you!
posted by egeanin to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We used to play a game when I was in a children's theater group that involved standing in a circle with a ball, and calling out a feeling or very short situational cue that the person who was thrown the ball would then have to act out. ie you would throw the ball to someone and say "excited!" or "sad!" or "the ball is really hot!" "the ball is a cupcake!". After reacting for 3-5 seconds, the child with the ball got to pick the next person and situation. It was pretty fun :)
posted by ananci at 12:50 PM on October 12, 2017

I remember a game where we sat in a circle and tried to count up to 10 collectively, where we would have to use some sort of non-verbal communication to indicate we were going to say the next number. If two people spoke at the same time we had to start over.
posted by dilaudid at 1:19 PM on October 12, 2017

Some ideas for drama games with little people:

Have feelings faces on a spinner or on cards they can turn over, then have everyone try to make the face together

Pretend to be different kinds of animals and have the other kids and yourself guess what animal they're being. You could make up animal cards and then have them draw an animal card and a feelings card - so "Sad" and "Monkey" and then act those out.

Lionface-lemonface (I cannot remember the other theatre name for this one, it's for warming up your face and mouth before a show)

Tell your favorite joke (just more as a warm up)

Do some "scenario" ones -- they get a prompt like, "You just found out that you're going to Disneyland! What would your face and body do?" or "A friend made fun of you on the playground. What would your face or body look like if that happened?"

Have some paper plates for them to make masks with (a 5-10 min activity, little ones aren't going to take forever to do that) and have each person do a different feeling. Then each person puts on their mask (one at a time) and everyone else tries to make that face and guess what it's called. Kid A puts on mad mask, everyone makes mad faces. You: "Hmm, what is this feeling we have on our faces?" Kids: "MAD!"

One of my tips is that for lots of the little people that I see, it's hard for them to want to do something all by themselves. If I do it with them, they will try more.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 3:44 PM on October 12, 2017

Simon Says is good for figuring out who takes direction well. You can give direction similar to actions they'd do in the script: Simon Says you're very sad! Simon says you yell "Daddy come back!" Etc
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:18 PM on October 12, 2017

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