Erica Marx

Gibberish Dictionary

by for .  


•Explore creativity and spontaneity. 
•Explore jumping and justifying.
•Explore following your instinct.
•Explore being in the moment and trusting that you will be able to come up with something. Explore tolerance around someone else translating a word you invented.


This can be played in a circle as an exercise, or as a performance game.

 Player 1 gives Player 2 a completely made up word.
 Player 2 repeats the word, and then provides a spontaneously invented definition for the word. Player 2 then gives Player 3 a made up word, and Player 3 provides a definition for this made up word.

Player 1: Sloppenhoffen
Player 2: Sloppenhoffen. Sloppenhoffen is what happens when you’re trying to run with a drink and you spill it on yourself. Sloppenhoffen.
Player 2: (Turning to Player 3): Hoodiewutzit
Player 3: Hoodiewutzit. Hoodiewutzit is the neighbor that no one has ever seen, except peering through their own windows late at night. Hoodiewutzit.


•Players can also be asked to use the word in a sentence after defining it.

 Performance options
To play this game in a performance, there are two options.

 A.Play just as described above, but stand in a line so that the audience can see all players

B.Get a word from the audience, and each player provides a different definition for the word. You can select a “winning” definition by audience vote, if you desire.

•This game can be played in “layup lines” •Playing a “turbo speed” version of this game (going as quickly as you can) can help some students get out of their head.

Leader Considerations and Assessment:
•Do any students seem to have pre-planned their definition?


Difficulty being translated: Some students may have difficulty with their words being translated. If a student tries to correct the translating student, one option... (cut off)

Topics for Processing:
•Which definitions did we like the most? Often they are the definitions that are consistent with what the word sounds like. The most “obvious” definitions (based on what words sound like etc.) are often the most enjoyable/loved by the group, vs. definitions that we force or create in an effort to try to be funny. What does this fact teach us about improv, intuition, and being in the moment? 


Taken from the Connect Improv Curriculum, (c) Lacy Alana, LCSW

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