Drama game: Question Time
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
A mystery character tries to guess their own identity through questions asked by the group.
Age: 8 to adult
Players: Whole group
Time: 10–20 minutes
Skills: Improvisation, Speaking and Listening
This amusing activity is based on the improv game Press Conference. One player leaves the room while the others choose a famous or fictional character. Once decided, the player returns and the rest of the group take on the roles of interviewing journalists. Through the questions they ask, they give clues about the character's identity, which the player tries to guess.
The online version is closer to BBC Question Time than a press conference and is played using Zoom or other video-conferencing software. The teacher mutes all students and a volunteer is asked to turn their back on the camera/screen. The teacher holds up a sheet of paper with the name of a character (Harry Potter, for example) so that the rest of the class can read it (use a thick felt tip). When all the students are ready, the player turns to face the screen. Now any student can ask a question by signalling to the teacher (for example by raising their hand or clicking the ‘thumbs up’ sign).
Using the example above they might ask such questions as ‘Do you have any pets?’ or ‘Where do you go to school?’ Depending on the player's answers, further questions could be ‘Do you have a pet that flies?’ or ‘Do you have to catch a train to school?’ The teacher gives support by suggesting suitable questions which give subtle clues to the character's identity without directly revealing it. If the player finds it difficult, then more obvious hints should be given through the questioning.
When the player thinks they know who the character is, they can prove it by continuing to play along and answering the questions convincingly in character. Once it becomes apparent that they have guessed, the teacher asks them who they think the character is.
At the beginning the player is likely to give ‘wrong’ answers, which the journalists should respond to by asking follow-up questions which guide the player onto the right track.
David Farmer runs the website www.dramaresource.com – a site that offers a wide range of ideas, games and courses for drama practitioners. He is the author of several books including 101 More Drama Games and Activities, from which this game is taken.