28. Awards show

Awards is similar to Circus, Newsflash and other activities in this list in that they are similar performance based improvisation games.

Awards is a spoof on an awards show, and like Circus it requires a ringmaster, or main presenter. Awards is basically a series of awards which are presented to each member of the family in the style of the Oscars for spurious made-up categories, ‘such as the person with the most hair’, ‘the person with the silliest laugh’ etc. These should be non-insulting and if possible, not at all rude.

The person who is chosen a s the main presenter gives an over the top introductory speech whilst standing in front of everyone along the lines of ‘Hello and Welcome lades gentlemen and children and thanks for joining us tonight on the 1st annual XXX family awards ceremony…and the tension is mounting as the light fades here in XXX (your town).. our first award is going to be introduced by ‘ (name of one of family..’at which point everyone claps enthusiastically. There is a great deal of clapping in this game which relies on audience participation as much as the participation of individual actors.

The idea is not to stick to a script but improvise everything within the structure of the show. The selected introducer then comes to the stage area and makes up a category ‘thanks so much XX, well our first award is for..best person at eating pasta!’

In our family we then have a round of votes conducted by the introducer ‘votes for Mum! votes for Bronwen! ‘etc. The winner is then announced by the introducer and comes up and receives the award and everyone claps (we don’t use any props but you could if you wished). The winner makes a possibly tearful speech where they might thanks whoever they like and then sits down. The audience clap again.

The main presenter then briefly calls up a second member of the family and the process is repeated. Sometimes it may be necessary to call a short break if someone needs the toilet but this can be easily accommodated with ‘Welcome back etc.’

In our family we are a pretty egalitarian bunch and I’m pleased to report the only time I recall having played this game we gave an award to a different person each time. It can be quite a short activity and may only take less that ten minutes for the entire performance but still may still feel like enough of a shared activity to constitute family time. On the occasion that we played this game it was followed by a spontaneous game of Kung fu cushion, for some reason, which I will endeavour in describe next.

The beauty of Awards is it has enough set structure that everyone quickly picks up the gist of the formula, although it may be too challenging and therefore unsuitable for younger children. Within the set structure, however, there is enough ‘wiggle room’ to improvise and performances that are over the top and muted or mumbled can be equally funny.