The Energy Game (Hands of Power)

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The Energy Game is a drama class warm-up exercise. One player starts by making a sound and a motion, such as a raising fist and growling, or spreading out their arms and roaring. In turn, each player amplifies the energy of this action, as it gets louder and louder around the group.

Play the Energy Game

  • Everyone stands in a circle.
  • The first player makes a sound and a motion. For example, they might put their hand up and say “Umm”, or wrap their arms around themselves and shiver, or hide their head and whimper, or shake their finger and sigh. Everyone should be at ease doing whatever action and sound they feel like. This is an opportunity to be creative, but part of the beauty of the game is that the player who has the difficult job of starting things off only has to do so in a small and inconspicuous way. From here, things will only get louder.
  • The player to the right mimics the sound and the action of the first player, but they must increase the energy level of the action. The sound must be louder, and the gesture must be exaggerated.
  • Continue around the circle, with each player adding more energy. When everyone has had a turn, the starting player must do the action/sound combo once more at the highest intensity yet, to finish off the round.
  • Another player starts a new round with a new sound and gesture.

Each player will naturally unleash the energy with a little of their own personality. This, combined with the increasingly absurd exaggeration and volume of the actions, can make for a very funny game. To outperform their peers each player will put aside any self-consciousness and be able to simply shout and show-off a little.

When everyone has had a chance to be both loud and quiet, the group will be both more at ease with, and more receptive to, themselves and each other. This exercise gets endorphins flowing and smiles showing.

Bonus Exercise: Hands of Power

When your vocal cords have been stretched, take up this leading and following exercise for a different style of play. Also regularly deployed at the start of a drama lesson in schools, Hands of Power is a game of trust and awareness and is fun for all ages.

Play

  • Make up pairs of players.
  • One player, the leading player, holds their hand in front of the other player’s face, so that the second player’s vision is obscured. The leading player starts moving around the room.
  • The second player must follow the first so that their face follows the first player’s hand. With a large group and lots of pairs moving around, this can get quite chaotic, and their are both concentration and trust elements to this game. It is the leader’s role to guide the follower safely around the room!
  • The leader might want to try raising their hand low and high or twisting their palm to see how their partner reacts.
  • After a minute or two, have the players switch roles in their pairs, so the leader becomes the follower and vice versa.

There may be no winners in these exercises, but they’re still great fun.