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Me --> You (recognition game)

This is adapted from a game I learned at Kani Club -- the improv club I participate in from time to time. (http://kaniclub.com/) In Japanese, the game is "watashi -- anata".

I like it because it resonates with several core themes of organizing: participation, recognition, individuality, collectivity, equality, awareness, re-distribution of roles, play. It gives people an experience of being aware of each other in a group and rotation of leadership and initiative, a common feature of many games. It is at once about individuals, about pairs, and about the whole group.

1. Group of people standing in a circle.

The joker explains the process simply, if at all, models it with someone who has done it before, then begins. (The less explanation the better)

Process: joker points (gestures, really, not a pointing finger, more of an open hand) to herself and says, "me" then gestures to another person in the group and says, "you", making eye contact. (It is important to really look directly at the other person and establish that momentary connection.)

That person acknowledges the first person, saying, "me" then points to someone else and says, "you."

This goes on until the group is good at it, but not so long that the energy declines.

2. "Level Up"

The joker then introduces a new wrinkle: when a person says, "you" s/he walks across the circle to take that person's place. The idea is to have people moving through the space, with a rapid flow of "me-you" exchanges.

When the moving version is up and running, the joker adds another wrinkle by starting another "Me/You" circuit, so that you have now two simultaneous recognition games. You can add another and another. (This challenges people to become more and more acutely aware of what's going on in the group.) Other players can add circuits, too, quickly resulting in chaos.

3. Debrief can be quick, with the joker pointing out what s/he sees in the game, for example that in the game we practice mutual recognition as individuals, networking, and awareness of others in the group. To be recognized you must be receptive and aware, both when giving and receiving. The role of leader/initiator starts with the joker but moves from person to person, etc.

Better to simply ask people, "what did you see?" Who did what? How? Why? When? Did the game change at any point? Who started it? Then what? Who ended it? How? (These are real questions, to verify our collective understanding of the activity.)

Then ask people what they think about the game. What meaning(s) does the game have? Is it relevant to anything you are doing?

And, following Jacotot, what can they do with the game. How can they use its lessons?

This longer discussion is good because it brings out perspectives that the joker doesn't have and makes the discussion richer. It also follows the game's lead, with the role of finding meaning moving from person to person.

The joker can use the same "me-you" approach in questioning, calling on someone who then calls on someone else.

Variations:
Play the same game using people's names. (You have to know their names first.)
Play the same game using some fact about each person, such as favorite book, type of music, etc.
You can add a step, having the receiving person acknowledge the giver before turning to the next person. Like this:
A --> B
A <-- B
B --> C
B <-- C
C --> D...
This emphasizes the moment of mutual recognition between the giver and the receiver, both are "me" and "you", as part of the flow of interactions. It also adds a complexity that may add entertaining tension.

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