• Jillian Barron

Chain Death Murder: Improv Games From On Stage to Online

With the new era of online improv theatre, it can be tricky translating improv games for the video streaming forum. In this series, learn how to play popular improv games in their original form and how to adapt them for online improv performances and rehearsals.

GAME: Chain Death Murder

Set up: 3 players standing off to the side or in the back so they are unable to hear or see anything happening on stage. 1 player on stage with the host.

How to Play: The host will introduce the game and explain to the audience that there has been a terrible murder! Player A (person on stage) has seen what happened and needs to tell Player B all about it. THE CATCH: All the players can only speak in gibberish.

There are three components (three suggestions) that each player must pantomime and describe in gibberish to each other: LOCATION of the murder, OCCUPATION of the person murdered, and WEAPON used to kill them.

Once these three suggestions have been established for Player A and the audience, Player B will come on stage. Player A will go through each suggestion one at a time and act them out for Player B. When Player B thinks they know what Player A's suggestion is, they will give a thumbs up to the partner, signaling Player A to move to the next suggestion.

After Player B thinks they have figured out all three suggestions, Player A will go to the side or back of the stage and Player C will come out. Play continues until Player D thinks they know all three suggestions. Host will go through Player D's guesses and see how well the players did at communicating the news to each other.

Play it Online: This game is little tricky, but definitely not impossible to do online. Since this game heavily relies on physicality and movement, players may want to position their cameras so they have space to stand and move around while being recorded.

For the first part, you can have the three off-stage players turn off their cameras, mute their mics, and swear on something that they won't cheat and listen in to the conversation or prior pantomimes. Getting them back on camera can be tricky, so you may want to establish a large hand signal or flash a bright light at the camera, or use the chat box to let them know it's their turn.

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