Improvisers often stand in circles and play games where we pass around energy. This can be done in a number of ways–by speaking, with eye contact, through movement, by changing places in the circle, etc. These games fuel connection, spontaneity, and a sense of fun and play.
I learned an awesome variant of this type of game last week at the Vancouver International Improv Festival from Matt Folliott, who directed the international ensemble I was part of at the festival. Standing in a circle, one improviser would start chanting “I’m a crab!” and make crab motions scuttling about the circle. The crab would then approach another improviser in the circle and that person could choose to change places with the crab by chanting “I’m a crab” or pass by crossing their arms and saying “I’m a bat.”
It was a silly, dumb, wonderful exercise that filled me with joy. Because standing in that circle with skilled improvisers from all over North America, I realized this is what it means for me to be a professional in my chosen field of work. My job is to play with people, to teach people to play, and to just let loose and be a crab!