Twelfth Night, Tenth Post: Game Night

Dear Friends,

I went to a “game night” last night at a friend’s house, and while this group was (for the most part) unrelated to the cast of Twelfth Night, we played a game that is very popular among theatre people — I’ve played it at many a cast party — so I thought it would be an interesting thing to share.  It’s called Celebrity.  Here’s how you play:

First, you need a pretty good-sized group.  6 or more, I’d say.  And the more the merrier.  Divide into two or more (usually two) evenly-sized teams.  Each person gets 10 slips of paper (5 slips if lots of people are playing, or you’ll be playing all night) and writes the name of a celebrity on each slip.  Use “celebrity” loosely: entertainer, politician, sports figure, dead, alive, real, fictional.  Cover the spectrum.  The idea, in selecting your names, is not to stump people: try to offer names that everyone will recognize.  Now, put all of the names in a hat.  Here’s what happens next:

Round one:  Team One gets the hat first.  Person A (on Team One) has THIRTY SECONDS (timed by the other team) to try and have her teammates guess as many of those celebrities as possible.  She can say anything she wants about the celebrity, as long as she doesn’t mention the celebrity’s name, or any words in the name.  (Example: For “Minnie Mouse,” she can say: “This is a Disney character, big ears, Mickey’s girlfriend,” but NOT “a famous Mouse.”)  At the end of thirty seconds, Team One should keep the slips of paper they identified before the time was up and pass the hat to Team Two.  Person A on Team Two then does the same thing.  Then Team One gets the hat,  and Person B has a go at it.  This goes on until all the names are out of the hat.  Then both teams total their scores to see who won Round One.

Round Two:  All the names go back in the hat, and the teams go through them again, only this time, rather than freely describe the celebrity, you can only use ONE word to describe them.  (Example: for Minnie Mouse, “Disney,” or “Mickey,” would be good trigger words.  “Cartoon” would be more difficult, because there may be other cartoon characters in the hat.)  Hat gets passed back and forth until all the names are gone.  Tally score.

Round Three:  Same thing, only no words.  Only charades.  Tally scores, add ’em up.  Winners gloat, losers weep.

 It’s a pretty hilarous game with a lively group of friends.  Try it sometime!

At most regional theatres, casts consist of people from all over the place – some local, some from far-off magical lands, like New York or LA.  That’s a big reason game nights are so popular amound theatre folk: frequently many of the castmates are living in the same hotel, and game nights are a cheap, easy way to get to know each other.  And, let’s be honest: most actors aren’t afraid of charades.

One of the great things about being an actor is that every cast you’re in quickly becomes like a little family.  I might have been in a show with someone for only a few months, but when I run into him in the years that follow, it always feels like I’m greeting an old friend– even if I don’t remember his name.  And I probably won’t.  You meet a lot of people in this line of work.  And you memorize a lot of lines.  My short-term memory’s razor sharp: I can memorize lines for an audition in just a few days.  But my long-term memory?  Swiss cheese.  What’s your name again?  Oh, right.  Sorry, Mom.



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