"Santa's Lap" Christmas Improv Game

Santa Claus
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This is a variation on a theater game called "Surprise Guests." As with that game, one person will leave the stage area -- making sure they are out of earshot.

The remaining cast members will then gather suggestions from the audience by asking them: "Who should I be?" The audience may suggest generic character types: cowboy, opera singer, cheerleader, etc.

They may also suggest specific individuals: Walt Disney, Saddam Hussein, Queen Elizabeth, etc.

Or, the audience can be encouraged to offer some bizarre yet creative suggestions:

  • A man without any bones.
  • A woman who is madly in love with pasta.
  • A person who fears candy.

How to Play

Once each cast member has received a character, they then form a single file line. The person playing "Santa" enters in character and the scene begins. Santa may be played in a very genuine sort of way (think Miracle on 34th Street), or he may be portrayed as a disgruntled mall Santa (as in A Christmas Story).

After Santa interacts with the audience or perhaps with an Elf employee, the first character in line sits on Santa's lap. (Or they can at least approach Santa if sitting is not appropriate to the character). As Santa asks what the person wants for Christmas, he will also engage in a conversation that will deliver funny little clues about the identity of the character.

As with "Surprise Guests," the goal isn't so much to correctly guess the character.

Instead, the performers should focus on humor and character development. Make the most of the interaction between Santa Claus and his mystery lap-sitter.

Once the lap-sitter has been identified, then Santa moves on to the next person in line. Note: In order to make the improv game more dynamic, Santa should feel free to move from his chair, taking the characters to see his workshop, sled, or reindeer barn.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Improv!