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I Second that (e)motion

The idea of this game is to help people develop their ability to make a range of expressions by magnifying and reducing motions and emotions made by others.

Good for: breaking down barriers to expression, observing degrees of expression, developing registers of speech and motion, learning culturally specific forms

Setup: empty space, standing in a circle

Number of people: three at least

Materials: none

Time: 30 mins or so


    Participants form a circle, standing, and count off.
  • Explain that each participant will mimic the motion (and/or expression/statement) made by the person whose is before her in the numerical order. #2 mimics #1; #3 mimics #2, etc. Person #1 mimics the last person.
  • When you mimic the motion/expression, you should magnify it by one degree (whatever "one degree" is!?). If I smile slightly, your smile is bigger. If I clap, you clap a little louder.
  • The first joker is chosen by the group or by the facilitator, after that the previous joker chooses the next, etc.
  • Before beginning, scramble and reform the circle so that the numbers are not in sequence.
    The joker makes a motion to start the game. The person next to her in the initial order magnifies the motion and so on until we reach the end.

Watch for: the initial motion or expression should be small enough to allow room for magnification. It should also be simple and self contained, though in an advanced variation of this it could be a whole chain of actions, or a scene (coming home, taking pills, going to sleep).

Encourage people to closely observe the person before them and closely calibrate their imitation -- if the motion jumps too many degrees the effect will be lost.

Variations: Magnify, shrink, extend, speed up... any change in scope, quality, etc. The idea is to develop flexibility in expression, so flex it!

Try magnifying the gesture, but keeping the emotion the same, or even minimizing it. Try magnifying/minimizing the emotion, but keeping the gesture the same...

Do it for motions, gestures, facial expressions, a word, a phrase (like Se Murio Chicho), even a sequence of actions or a scene...


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