In a circle you must call someone else's name before a zombie gets to you.
work sequential processing
train "one thing at a time" muscle
There are three levels of difficulty.
Once names have been established, have one person go into the center of the circle to be a zombie. The zombie walks towards one person, and that person can save themselves by calling out the name of another person in the circle. The zombie then walks towards that person. And so on. It's fun if the zombie makes some zombie noises as they go. It's also important that the zombie walk at a slow and stately pace. If they get to someone before the person says a name, then that person becomes the zombie.
When the zombie walks towards someone, that person can no longer move or speak; they can only move their eyes. They need to make eye contact with someone else in the circle, and the person with whom they make eye contact will then call out a name. The zombie walks towards the person whose name was called.
When the zombie walks towards a person, that person makes eye contact with someone else; the person with whom the eye contact was made then points to a third person; that person then says a name. So, the sequence is (as the zombie walks towards Person A): Person A looks as Person B; Person B points at Person C; Person C says a name. The zombie then walks towards the person whose name was said.
1) remind people to breathe! If they are holding their breath and panicking, remind them that that's how magical improv is. Even in pretend situations, we can be actually physical invested and affected. The same is true for audiences watching improv or players in improv scenes. Learning to control and use that physical invested and being affected makes a performer more masterful and aware.
2) remind people to do one thing at a time. When we think of all the things that need to happen, we can lose focus and get overwhelmed. Focus just on what you need to do. [obviously, people generally are struggling because they are trying to remember what it is they need to be doing, but it can still be a helpful note to take things one step at a time]
Variation (alternate progression):
1. Have the class stand in a circle.
2. Go around the circle having each person loudly say his/her name as a zombie. (“Saaaarrraaaaahhhhh!”)
3. Then choose one student to be the “zombie”. The “zombie” walks in the middle of the circle zombie-style; arms stretched in front, head to the side.
4. The zombie heads toward someone calling their name and that person must call out someone elses name in the circle who is not a zombie before the zombie reaches them. If they dont then they too become a zombie. If they do then the zombie goes elsewhere, calling out someone elses name and heading toward them.
Note: If you call out someone's name and they are already a zombie then you lose. This game escalates quickly. You may need to start with 2 zombies. The more zombies you have the more people can be allowed to move away from the original circle.