Whoosh, Bang, Pow!
This is a classic improv warm-up! Players stand in a circle. It is best to introduce the game in three parts. Part one: “Whoosh” … Players stand in a circle and the leader talks about how this game is about passing an invisible ball of energy around the circle. The first way to pass the energy is with a woosh. Have everyone hold their hand in front of them with their elbows bent and the palms of their hands facing each other, as if they are holding a basket ball. When the energy is passed to a player, the player “Whooshes” the energy along by pushing it to the other side. This is done by shifting the hands at the wrists in that direction, and saying “Whoosh”. Have them try it out in the circle, so that the energy is passed to the right around the circle. Part two: “Bang” … Once the circle has mastered the Whoosh, you can now introduce the “Bang”. The Bang reverses the direction of the energy as it moves along the circle. To do this, one must wait until the energy is passed to you, turn to face the person passing it with both hands at head level and palms out and say “Bang” very enthusiastically. This means that the person who had passed the energy to that player will Whoosh in the opposite direction. Have the group play with Whooshes and Bangs for a little while, until they get the hang of it. Part Three: “Pow” … Now there is one more option. The “Pow” can send the energy across the circle to any player. A pow is accomplished by taking one step toward the person, pointing at that player with both hands together, and saying “Pow.” The player who receives a Pow can whoosh in either direction.
In The Classroom:
Encourage the players to go as fast as possible. The fun of this game is when players exist on the edge of confusion!
If things fall apart, no big deal, just start again. “Okay, who has the energy?! Start!!”
There will be rule controversies: Can you “Bang” a “Bang”? Can you “Bang” a “Pow”? My opinion is yes, but I never tell them this in advance, I allow for a brave player to test the limits of the game! “I never said you can’t!”
This game is pure warm-up! It is a great energizer to play when they need a break, or when the class just starts.
This is one of those classic games that everyone who has ever taken an improv workshop has played. I have seen it in several resources.