Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shakespeare Improv Show! (improvise a Hamlet play)

Hamlet Improv - Improv Theatre with a Theme

All games relate to the plot of Hamlet

Your theatre group will need 4 actors and a leader to cover PLOT, run games, and get volunteers from audience.

INTRODUCTION (Someone plays a famous person and does charts of Hamlet plot - See "Our Story Begins..." below)

PLOT: Hamlet's father is murdered. The main suspects in the murder are his wife Gertrude and his brother Claudius (Hamlet's uncle) CSI - In the style of the TV show - actors try to solve the murder of Hamlet's father (select three audience members play Claudius, Gertrude, King) Witness (actor #1) - tells version and volunteers from audience act it out Cop (actor #2) - tells version and volunteers act it out Gil and Katherine (actors 3 and 4) - tell their version and volunteers act it out

PLOT: A ghost has been appearing at the castle. Soldiers are waiting for ghost to reappear - ghost is of Hamlet's father and reveals that it was a most unnatural murther. Film and TV styles - Audience calls out movies and tv shows (such as Batman and Robin, Dukes of Hazzard, Harry Potter, Blue's Clues, Dora, Alien vs. Predator, Star Wars) - Actors 1 with audience volunteer are soldiers waiting for something outside castle - a ghost appears (Actor #2) - LEADER CHANGES MOVIE/TV STYLE- ghost leaves when cock crews - CHANGE IN MOVIE/TV STYLE- Horatio (actor #3) enters - CHANGE IN MOVIE/TV STYLE- ghost appears and goes - CHANGE IN MOVIE/TV STYLE- Hamlet (actor #4) enters and talks to ghost

PLOT: Hamlet decides to use a play to make his Uncle confess to his father's murder. He believes that if the murder is reinacted on stage his Uncle will reveal himself. Possible games - Gibberish (we never found a good game that worked for this so if you figure one out, please email us at

PLOT: Hamlet goes to his mother because he feels she was part of the plot to kill his father. Polonius, Ophelia's father, is hiding and spying on them. Hamlet tries to make his mother confess but when he becomes violent, Polonius cries for help. Hamlet thinks it is his Uncle who is spying and attacks. Polonius is killed. Stunt Double (Hamlet - Polonius - Hamlet's mother) Three audience volunteers are needed. Hamlet: Actor 1 Hamlet's Stunt Double: Audience Member Gertrude: Audience Member Gertrude's Stunt Double: Actor 2 Polonius: Audience Member Polonius' Stunt Double: Actor 3 HAMLET COMES TO HIS MOTHER Two characters do the scene from Hamlet and when one of the actors is about to get hurt, they call for a stunt double. The stunt double takes the physical punishment, the scene then resumes with the original actor who is unharmed. The stunt doubles for the scene carry previous injuries into subsequent times they enter the scene.

PLOT: Ophelia is so upset that Hamlet has gone crazy and killed her father Polonius that she goes crazy too and drowns herself. Lines from our pockets - At Ophelia's funeral (four actors) Audience Participation: During an intermission or before the show, the audience writes lines of dialogue on pieces of paper. How it works: The two actors do a simple scene, but must pull lines intermittently from the pocket, and incorporate them into the scene. Wackiness ensues.

(use the following if the first CSI game went well) BAKCUP GAME CSI - Crime scene - Ophelia's death Witness - tells version and they act it out Cop - tells version and they act it out Gil and Katherine - tell their version and they act it out

PLOT: Laertes challenges Hamlet to a dual to the death to avenge the deaths of his father Polonius and his sister Ophelia. But Hamlet's uncle has poisoned them both and they are paralyzed. They can talk but they can't move. Poisoned! Battle to the death but can't move - helpers from audience help Hamlet (actor 1) and Laertes (actor 2) fight - introduce more actors into the scene to frustrate audience members - Gertrude (actor 3) and Claudius (actor 4).

PLOT: Due to a lack of Mr. Yuck labels in the castle, everyone seems to fall victim to the poison that Claudius intended for Hamlet alone. Which is kind of symbolic don't you think? Questions only (tournament of champions) - audience yells “Die” Actors vs. Guests - All volunteers from previous games asked to return - must speak in questions - audience person who answers the most times in questions in a row wins Scene: What is rotten in the state of Denmark?

More ideas:

Our story begins… (you may want to start the show with a plot poster - we tried this for one performance but ended up not needing it)
Denmark in a smellier time (poster can be in shape of Denmark - act like something on back of poster smells)
Hamlet's father dead
His mother Gertrude marries Hamlet's Uncle Claudius
The ghost of dead King appears at the castle and tells Hamlet that Uncle killed him
Hamlet starts to behave strangely after seeing ghost
Hamlet has some actors do a play that reenacts his father's murder and makes Claudius and Gertrude very uncomfortable.
Hamlet visits his mother in her bedroom in a scene that makes the audience very uncomfortable and kills Polonius who is spying (thinking it is Claudius).
Claudius sends two spies , Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to kill Hamlet but they have a contract dispute and receive larger roles in another play.
Ophelia goes nuts after her father Polonius is killed and drowns herself.
Hamlet agrees to a duel with Laertes (Ophelia's brother) and Claudius adds poison to Laertes blade to make sure Hamlet dies.
Claudius also offers Hamlet a poison cup to drink from but Gertrude drinks it instead and dies.
Hamlet stabs Laertes and Laetres stabs Hamlet. Hamlet (taking forever to die) kills Claudius. And Hamlet dies

Other games we tried

Dating Game with Gertrude plus Hamlet, Claudius and Dead Father as the bachelors - failed miserably for us. Party Quirks - we had strange quests coming to the wedding feast of Gertrude and Claudius - it was funny but it didn't seem to make sense in the overall context of things.

More improv games at

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