Improv for Special People

Gibberish Game

Gibberish is a fun and interpretive improv game.  It is played in groups of 3 seated in a row of chairs.

The two people on each end are having a conversation with each other.  Because they can only speak in gibberish, it is up to the person in the middle to “interpret” each of the end players’ comments to the other. The interpretation is solely up to the middle player to decide.  The conversation can be as mundane as the weather or as outrageous as space aliens in a restaurant.  It is limited only by the middle player’s imagination and the bounds of good taste. 

The middle player speaks in the first person, and has to look at each of the other players as they speak or listen.   This game encourages the use of imagination, and helps develop the ability to interpret body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.  The middle person can choose to “play it straight” and interpret what they see, or can “play it for laughs” by saying something completely opposite of what they see. Either way, the middle person has to concentrate on creating a conversation by using imagination.  The middle player should aim to develop a cohesive conversational line and try to move the conversation forward without repetition.

The two end players take turns listening and “speaking”.  Because gibberish is nonsensical, the players have to use intonation, facial expressions, and body language to convey emotions.  These non-verbal cues help hone the participants’ skills in emoting and the ability to read other people.  Interpreting helps increase conversational skills.  Participants can make eye contact if they choose, but it is not critical.  Facing each player and noting non-verbal cues is sufficient, and skill increases with practice.

Each group is given a few minutes to develop a back and forth conversation.  When a natural break occurs, the facilitator tells the players to “bounce”.  Each player then moves over one seat, with a new player filling the empty seat and the game begins again.  This continues until everyone in the group has had the opportunity to be a gibberish speaker twice and an interpreter once.

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