Humanities › Literature Friendly and Fun Improvisation With Fairy Tales Share Flipboard Email Print Eva Carollo Photography/Getty Images Literature Plays & Drama Improvisation Games and Activities Basics & Advice Playwrights Play & Drama Reviews Monologues Best Sellers Classic Literature Poetry Quotations Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By Wade Bradford Theater Expert M.A., Literature, California State University - Northridge B.A., Creative Writing, California State University - Northridge Wade Bradford, M.A., is an award-winning playwright and theater director. He wrote and directed seven productions for Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera's youth theater. our editorial process Wade Bradford Updated February 21, 2019 For a good exercise in impromptu storytelling, try performing a well-known fairy tale in one minute flat. Drama classes and acting troupes alike can use the “60 Second Fairy Tale” to sharpen improvisational skills. It's also a great game for families and kids. How to Play Your cast size should be at least three people. (Four or five would be ideal.) One person serves as the Moderator, a person who interacts with the audience and plays the narrator, if necessary. The rest of the cast are the fairy tale performers. The Moderator asks the audience for fairy tale suggestions. Hopefully, the audience will shout out some great choices: Snow WhiteRapunzelThe Little MermaidHansel and GretelSleeping BeautyLittle Red Riding Hood Then, the Moderator selects a story everyone in the cast knows quite well. Remember, narratives such as “Cinderella” and “The Ugly Duckling” are more preferable— and more performable— than obscure fairy tales from ancient Babylonia. The Performance Begins Once the story has been chosen, the 60 second show can start. To keep the storyline fresh in the mind of the performers, the Moderator should quickly recap the key events of the story. Here’s an example: MODERATOR: “Okay, great, I heard someone suggest “The Three Little Pigs.” This is the one where three brother pigs each go about building their new homes, one with straw, the other with sticks, and the third with brick. A big bad wolf proceeds to demolish the first two houses, but can’t destroy the third. Now, let’s see this famous fairy tale performed for us in 60 seconds! Action!” Then the performers begin to act out the story. Even though they are trying to complete the entire tale in a very short amount of time, they should still create funny, interesting characters. They should also establish setting and conflict. Whenever the cast members slow things down, the Moderator can prompt them by narrating a new event, or simply by reading from a stopwatch. Nothing moves a scene along like calling out, “Twenty seconds left!” Variations Although the fast-paced nature of this game is very entertaining, there’s no harm in trying a “slower” five minute version. That way, actors can take their time and develop more character interactions and hilarious moments. Also, if the well of popular fairy tales runs dry, feel free to try out some of these Aesop fables: Tortoise and the HareThe Mouse and the LionThe Fox and the CrowThe Boy who Cried Wolf Or, if the talented acting troupe has a taste for pop-culture, try performing a movie in a minute. See what you can do with films such as: CasablancaStar WarsThe Wizard of OzGreaseGone with the Wind As with any improvisation activity, the goals are simple: have fun, develop characters, and think fast!