One of the key concepts we discuss in our Urban Theatre Project (and many other VSC Education projects) is the idea of taking the focus off of the SELF and placing it on ANOTHER. It’s a very simple concept in theory, but in practice, sometimes it can be quite challenging. Yet, as students set themselves to this task, they often gather insights about empathy, collaboration, team-building, and social intelligence.
A first “game” that we offer towards this shift in focus, is the “Interview Game.” It goes like this…
The Interview Game
1. Divide the group into pairs. A group with an odd number of participants can have one group of three, or the odd person can partner with the group leader.
2. Spread out as much as possible so that each of the partners has a sense of public-privacy, and also so they can hear each other speak. (The Interview Game gets noisy with lots of people talking in small groups. Its best in a larger room where participants have a chance to spread out, and where high levels of noise won’t bother anyone.)
3. Pass out a copy of the interviewer’s sheet (below) to each person.
4. Each group will need to decide who is first going to be the “interviewer" and who will be the “interviewee." Everyone will eventually play both roles, so it doesn’t really matter who goes first.
5. Give the group three to five minutes for each interviewer to collect their facts. The goal is that the interviewer will gather among their answers three interesting facts about their subject. They do this by asking enhanced questions inspired by the interview questions. For example an interview question may be, “Where do you go to high school?” But a more interesting, enhanced question coming from that initial interview question may be, “Do you like the school there? Which classes are your favorites? What’s your mascot there? Do you do any arts or sports there?”
6. Do NOT allow the interviewers to simply ask, “Hey? What are three interesting facts about you?" The idea is that the interviewer is really seeking to learn about their subject. Here are some more examples of good questions: Where did you grow up? What did you do for lunch at the school? What do you like to do in your spare time?
7. The interviewer jots down interesting notes about their subject on the sheet. Then, after three to five minutes have passed, have the interviewer and the interviewee switch roles. Give the groups another three to five minutes for that interview.
8. When the interview time has elapsed, it’s time to prepare the notes. Ask all the interviewers to take their sheets and circle three of the most interesting discoveries from the interview. You may allow them the opportunity to write out more detail about the discoveries if they’d like.
After the interviews are done and the interesting, fun facts discovered and circled, you might decide to go through the participants one by one, having each introduce their subject and tell the audience about the three facts they discovered. You could also have someone jot down notes on a whiteboard or flip chart next to each subject’s name, which helps name recognition and sparks later, group conversation.
You may also choose to do a next activity: TALK SHOW! (More on that in the next blog.) You’ll find the interview sheet below….
Printable version: Interview Sheet
Your job, as the interviewer, is to ask the questions below and/or enhanced questions inspired by the interview questions. For example an interview question may be, “Where do you go to high school?” But an enhanced question from that initial interview question may be, “Do you like the school there? Which classes are your favorites? What’s your mascot there? Do you do any arts or sports there?” Jot down the subject’s answers below.
a. What is your full name? Where were you born?
b. Where do you live? Have you lived other places in the world also?
c. Where do you go to school? What is your favorite class?
d. What kind of music do you like? What is your favorite and why?
e. What kind of movies or TV shows do you like? What is your favorite and why?
f. What kind of books do you like? What is your favorite and why?
g. What kind of pets or animals do you like? What is your favorite and why?
h. What kind of food do you like? What is your favorite and why?
i. What kind of sports or hobbies do you like? What is your favorite and why?
j. Who is someone that you respect or admire?
k. What is something you are good at doing or like to do?
l. Where is some place you’d love to visit?
m. What is something you’d like to do in the future?