Improv at the Ranch, wanted or not

Sterling tries to make Kyle laugh

I told Marci, who has bravely agreed to take on the 17th summer of Ranch Camp this year, that I wanted to start spending chorus time on coming up with games, songs and activities that we could try out to use during camp on the Ranchers–you know, see what works and doesn't work.

Well, I yesterday I had a particularly creative bunch of Ranchers to work with on this project, none of them willing to “color between the lines,” so to speak.

Our first little game was “Poor Kitty.”

Couldn't be simpler! Participants sit in a circle, and “Kitty” crawls from person to person looking pitiful. Kitty can meow, purr, hiss, and pretend to bare her claws at you or try any anything else she thinks might make you laugh.

Your job is to sit stone faced through it all and not laugh. If Kitty makes you laugh, you lose and you then become Poor Kitty.

Well, this was a short-lived game because the members of my gang can't sit straight faced through anything. The minute I (as Kitty) approached Sterling he broke into a huge grin and started laughing, almost falling off his chair.

“No, Sterling, you try not to laugh,” I said, breaking out of my role for the moment. “You can't even smile or you lose.”

Sterling tried to make a straight face but failed utterly so he now became Poor Kitty.

On all fours he approached Kelly, who looked away trying hard not to smile. Kitty meowed at Kelly, but she held fast for a second or so. Kitty got right in her face and hissed menacingly.

“Oh,” she cooed, “what a cute little kitty you are.” She then planted a big kiss on his face and started to laugh.

Enough of Poor Kitty! I moved on to “Doggie, doggie, find your bone!”

“Doggie” has to stand in front of everyone else while his bone is given to one of the participants. Then everybody calls out “Doggie, doggie, find your bone!”

Doggie then turns around and approaches the one he believes has his bone and barks. If Doggie is right, that person must give him the bone and now becomes the new doggie. If he is wrong everybody chants “Doggie, doggie, find your bone!” and he continues until he finds it.

Kyle retrieves his bone from Alaina

Kyle proved especially creative on this one. Doggie not only barked, he scratched fleas vigorously, shook hands, and relieved himself on imaginary fireplugs. When admonished not to do so he approached his girlfriend Alaina, licked her face vigorously and then barked.

Kyle retrieved his bone from Alaina

“Okay, okay, guys,” I said. “Let's try something else!”

“No, I want to be the Doggie!” said Alaina. So the bone was hidden again and everybody chanted, “Doggie, doggie, find your bone!”

Alaina turned around, got down on all fours, and immediately succombed to hysterics. This set everyone else off and they all collapsed on the floor, howling with laughter, and reprising Kyle's clever ploy with the fire plug.

Method acting at the Ranch

Maybe next week. I'll be careful to make my selections a bit more thoughtfully.