By Thirteen for Halloween on May 22, 2008 | In Party Games
What is an “Exquisite Corpse”? Well, for our purposes it is a game (though it is also a process of collaboration used in the fine art world). The term for the game comes from one of its early results, “The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.” There are several ways to play the game, all require a group of three or more people.
1. The original game was used to create sentences. Each person in the group takes a turn providing a different part of the sentence and then folding over the paper so the other players can’t see the contribution (or can only see the last word that was added). A basic sentence you can construct is: adjective, adjective, noun, verb, adverb, adjective, adjective, noun (you must decide on sentence structure before the game starts). The next page contains a game sheet with this suggested sentence structure that you can copy and use to play this version of the game. To keep people interested, make a copy for each player (or every other player) and get multiple sentences going at the same time. When you are all done, have each person read the sentence that he or she started.
2. Art variation: take a piece of paper and fold it into three equal segments. The first player draws on one of the segments with the drawing overlapping slightly onto the next segment. He or she then folds that segment under so that only the overlap is visible for the next artist. The second artist repeats this action and passes the paper to the final artist with only the slight overlap exposed. The third artist finishes the work and then opens the drawing for all the participants to examine. Once again, to keep everyone’s interest start out with a paper for each of the players (or every other player).
3. The variation that I created to play with my family at our Halloween parties creates stories rather than sentences, poems, or works of art. In this variation each player is given a notebook and asked to write the first sentence of a Halloween story. After the sentence is created the notebook is passed to the player on the right. There is no attempt to hide the sentences when they are passed on to the next player. Each player then adds a sentence to the story and then passes it on until it arrives back at the person who started it. Each player then takes a turn reading out loud the story they started. I have added some stories created at my last three Halloween parties as examples of what can happen with this game. As you will see, the stories can take on a humorous, gruesome, or nonsensical slant depending on the mood and personalities of the writers.
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