Player 1 begins miming some action. Player 2 shouts, "What are you doing?" Player 1 responds with some action other than that which he or she is miming. Player 1 stops performing the action and watches Player 2 perform whatever action Player 1 suggested. After several seconds (just long enough for Player 2 to establish the action he or she is performing), Player 1 shouts, "What are you doing?" Player 2 responds with some action other than that which he or she is miming. Player 2 stops, and Player 1 performs this action. Repeat.

Notes: "What are you doing?" should be shouted loudly and clearly. It should sound more like a command than a question: WHATAREYOUDOING! The purpose of this game is not to make a joke of the question ("So, uh, what are yooooooou doin'?"), nor is it to be funny. It is meant to train quick thought and action.

Action suggestions should be stated loudly, clearly, and directly. Do not say, "I'm... baking a cake." Skip directly to the verb. "Baking a cake!"

Use of sound and environment is highly encouraged.

Players may find it helpful to go down the alphabet when giving suggestions for actions. (Advancing aardvarks, Baking a cake, etc.)

Video example

Improv Warm-Ups : Improv Warm-Ups: "What Are You Doing" Game


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What is the "what are you doing" game? Learn about the rules of improv in this free video on theatre acting tips and techniques. Expert: Jayne Entwistel Contact: Bio: Jayne Entwistle is a professional actress and improviser who founded and directed the Improv troupe, Big City Improv. She has been directing, performing and teaching improv for over fifteen years. Filmmaker: Nili Nathan

Learn how to do stand up comedy with different improvisational games like the "What are you doing game?" in this free video. Get improve comedy techniques from a comedian. Expert: Les McGehee Bio: Les McGehee is a working, award-winning comedian and improvisation pioneer, who has entertained and trained millions of people throughout the US and the world for 20 years. Filmmaker: Todd Sapio
last update: 2015-09-23
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