Four Devising Games that are guaranteed to create dialogue

Four Drama Games that are excellent ways of improvising and devising dialogue to work with in a scene or play. They can be done in the Drama Studio, Classroom or online learning environment and always create interesting, engaging and exciting dialogue.

Need more detail

This game is great when you want your students to write action or dialogue as it helps them to think about going into greater depth in their writing.

It is best played with two students and it helps if the students are given a scenario to start with. So for example, their car has broken down. The scene might unfold as follows:

A: The car has broken down.

B: Okay, can you be more specific?

A: It was making a funny noise and then it stopped.

B: Ah, can you be more specific about that? What noise did it make and where was it coming from?

A: It was a clicking sound coming from the front tyre.

B: Right. Maybe we should go and check. Are we still being followed?

So here B is in charge of the direction of the dialogue. When B is happy with the level of detail and depth, B can then move the dialogue on to another topic and start again. It is fine to simply ask for more specific detail, but it helps when B asks specific and targeted questions to help the details come from A.

Guess what we’re doing

This game is a good verbal game that encourages students to engage in quick thinking dialogue and basic scene structure.

It is best played with two students with one of the students taking the lead for the scene over the other. In this example, Student A leads by asking questions of Student B. Student B does not know yet the context or content of the scene but has to guess it by the answer they give. Once they have guessed it, the scene must then be finished in a satisfactory way.

The aim here is to create good dialogue, so Student A must ask sensible questions that all contain clues to the context and content of the scene.

A: Did you bring the tools?

B: Oh, yes. They are right here.

A: Good. It’s not going to be how we planned. How long do you think it’ll take you?

B: Me? Oh, about 2 or 3 minutes. Not long.

A: Good. Did anyone see you coming?

B: No. The place was deserted. No one in sight.

A: It’s later than I thought too. It’s 2am. I think they might have set the alarm. Do you have the right tools to silence the alarm?

B: Oh yes. I’ll get on to that now and then start cracking open the safe…

Unknown objectives

This is a good activity to use when creating dialogue between two characters who don’t know each other. It is best played with two students and when they are given a scenario and a location.

The students are also given an objective to work on in the scene secretly. The objective can be anything from “to finish the scene by getting the other character to help you change a tyre” to “finish the scene having asked the other character to borrow their phone”. The objective can be pretty simple but what is important is that the scene is played out to completion and the two characters converse around the preexisting objectives.

Calm closer

This is a good game for generating devised dialogue which can be developed further into a more polished scene at another time.

It is best played with two students with one of the students taking the lead for the scene over the other. Student A decides on a scenario and a crisis that has something to do with Student B. The simpler the idea the better to start with, so a good example is they are late for the cinema and need to purchase popcorn and drinks before they go in.

Student B does not know the scenario, the crisis or the solution to it. They have to guess it or at least be guided through the scene by Student A’s words and actions. So when Student B isn’t following Student A’s instructions, they act really angry. As Student B does what Student A demands and starts to guess what is happening, then Student A needs to be calmer.

A quick example of this might go like as follow:

A: I can’t believe we’re do late! I really hate being late!

B: But I thought we had loads of time.

A: We really have no time at all! I really wanted to see that! I hate this.

B: It looks like it might be about to start. We can go in now if you want.

A: No! I don’t want to go in just like that!

B: Okay. Maybe go to the toilet first?

A: No!

B: Popcorn?

A: Yes, let’s get popcorn…