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Excuses the Improv Game: 2 Ways to Play

Improv, short for improvisational theater, is a form of live theater where most or all of what is performed is created spontaneously by the performers. One of the most entertaining and educational exercises in the world of improv is the game called “Excuses.” This game not only sharpens the wit of the players but also encourages creativity, collaboration, and quick thinking. Let’s delve into two distinct ways to play this game.

Traditional Method: The Guessing Game


One player temporarily leaves the room or covers their ears to ensure they cannot hear the suggestions from the audience or other players.

Getting the Suggestion

The remaining players or the audience suggest a reason why the absent player is late. The quirkier, the better!

The Return

The absent player is informed they’re late and must guess the reason based on clues given by the other players.

Dropping Hints

Players act out a scene, subtly hinting at the reason without stating it outright. They can interact with the guessing player, answer questions, and provide indirect information.

The Big Reveal

The game continues until the absent player correctly identifies the reason for their tardiness or decides to give up.

Alternative Method: Collaborative Storytelling

Starting Point

The game begins with a simple accusation, such as, “Why are you late?” or “Why didn’t you take the garbage out?”

Crafting the Excuse

The first player responds with a made-up excuse on the spot. The more imaginative, the better!

Building the Narrative

Other players jump in to corroborate and embellish the story. For instance, a player might chime in, “Oh, I witnessed the whole thing! Believe it or not, Jenny had to navigate through a maze made entirely of lasers while carrying a basket of fragile eggs. And not a single one broke!”

Balancing Act

The challenge is to create excuses that are extraordinary and entertaining, yet not too over-the-top. The aim is to weave a story that’s just believable enough to be hilarious.

Why Play “Excuses”?

Regardless of the method chosen, “Excuses” is more than just a game. It’s an exercise in creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. For those new to improv, it’s a fantastic introduction to the world of spontaneous storytelling. For seasoned pros, it’s a fun way to hone skills and think outside the box.

Whether you’re an improv enthusiast or someone just looking for a fun group activity, “Excuses” offers a delightful blend of humor and challenge. So, gather your friends or colleagues and give one (or both!) of these methods a try. The world of improv awaits!

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