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The Tongue Twister Game

In The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamics, Cyndi Suarez includes a section on games. She says, “Play catalyzes creativity and innovation. Play allows experimentation with different potential realities. Through play, one creates and experiences potential future events and preadapts; that is, one practices and fine-tunes one’s response a priori, before the event. Even daydreaming leaves an imprint on the brain. Innovation can be dangerous. One might fail and lose status or, worse, one’s life. Trying things out first in play space increases the chances of successful innovation in the structured space of everyday life.”

In Today’s excerpt, we share a game called “The Tongue Twister Game.” The game is from the field of theater. Actors play it to learn how to be in tune with their stage partner. The purpose of this game is to use the signs of interactions to tell a different, more mutual, story. In terms of the three main patterns of resistance — sign reading, deconstruction, and reconstruction — this is a reconstruction game. See chapter 2, Interaction Patterns. In this game, two people practice being in sync.

Excerpt from the book

Here are some tongue twister examples from easy to hard.

See more at the end of the blog

Easy

A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose!

Challenging

If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, I’m perfectly practiced and practically perfect.

Difficult

A twister of twists once twisted a twist, and the twist that he twisted was a three-twisted twist. Now in twisting this twist, if a twist should untwist, would the twist that untwisted untwist the twists?


The Tongue Twister Game: Reconstruction

Purpose

The Goal

The Tongue Twister game is from the field of theater. Actors play it to learn how to be in tune with their stage partner.

The purpose of this game is to use the signs of interactions to tell a different, more mutual, story. In terms of the three main patterns of resistance — sign reading, deconstruction, and reconstruction — this is a reconstruction game. See chapter 2, Interaction Patterns. In this game, two people practice being in sync.

Procedure for Action

Specific Actions Toward Goal

  1. The facilitator explains the game by reviewing the purpose and procedure for action.
  2. Players are divided into groups of two (2).
  3. Players sit across each other in their team, facing each other.
  4. The facilitator gives each team a tongue twister to practice.
  5. When the players are ready, the facilitator goes around the room as the teams each say their tongue twister for the rest as best they can. (See Rules Governing Action below.)
  6. The facilitator decides which team performed the best.

Here are more detailed debrief questions:

  • What were the most local/immediate power relations?
  • What narrative makes this power relationship possible?
  • How is this power relationship linked to other power relationships to form a strategy of mutuality, or egalitarian relationships?
  • How was the power relationship modified in the interaction?

Rules Governing Action

Principles That Direct Player Behavior

  1. Players repeat the tongue twister as fast as possible.
  2. Players repeat the tongue twister with the best diction possible.
  3. Players repeat the tongue twister as in sync with the partner as possible.
  4. Players keep repeating the tongue twister as long as possible without making a mistake.

Number of Participants

Any Minimum or Maximum Limit on Players

This game can be played with as few as two (2) players, in which case the goal is not to be the best among partner teams but to beat your best time.

Payoff

The Values Assigned to the Different Possible Outcomes

The payoff is that the players become more in sync and can perform in unified purpose.

Required Abilities

The Capacities Players Need to Play the Game Effectively

  1. Players need to be willing to interact in an intentional way for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Players need to be able to reflect on and attempt to articulate their experience.
  3. The facilitator needs to be able to, unobtrusively, gain and direct the attention of the players toward the goal, in accordance to the rules.
  4. The facilitator needs to be able to facilitate a debrief discussion among the players about the game, what they experienced, noticed, and learned; and close the game in manner that honors the potential vulnerabilities of the players.

Interaction Patterns

The Different Possible Player Relationships

In terms of the four personal interaction patterns of games, or the degree to which the game is competitive or cooperative, this is a directly cooperative game. See chapter 12, The Structure of Games. The players must respond supportively to the actions of others in a way that integrates goals. The goal is alignment. In terms of the eight player interaction patterns, or possible player relationships, this is an intragroup game where two or more players work together toward a mutual goal. See chapter 12.

Environmental Requirements

The Physical Setting Necessary for a Game

This game can be played indoors or outdoors.

Required Equipment

The Objects Used in the Course of the Actions of a Game

Traditional tongue twisters are used in this game, such as these samples.


Roles of Participants

Easy

  • I thought, I thought of thinking of thanking you.
  • Three thin thinkers thinking thick thoughtful thoughts.
  • She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • Round the rough and rugged rock the ragged rascal rudely ran.
  • Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards.
  • A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose!

Challenging

  • I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.
  • If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, I’m perfectly practiced and practically perfect.
  • I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop. Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.
  • Why do you cry, Willy? Why do you cry? Why, Willy? Why, Willy? Why, Willy? Why?
  • The big black bug bit the big black bear, but the big black bear bit the big black bug back!
  • Love’s a feeling you feel when you feel you’re going to feel the feeling you’ve never felt before.

Difficult

  • Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.
  • Betty bought a bit of butter. But the butter Betty bought was bitter. So Betty bought a better butter, and it was better than the butter Betty bought before.
  • A fly and flea flew into a flue. Said the fly to the flea, “What shall we do?” “Let us fly,” said the flea. Said the fly, “Shall we flee?” So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
  • A twister of twists once twisted a twist, and the twist that he twisted was a three-twisted twist. Now in twisting this twist, if a twist should untwist, would the twist that untwisted untwist the twists?
  • A tree toad loved a she-toad who lived up in a tree. He was a two-toed tree toad, but a three-toed toad was she. The two-toed tree toad tried to win the three-toed she-toad’s heart, for the two-toed tree toad loved the ground that the three-toed tree toad trod. But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain. He couldn’t please her whim. From her tree toad bower, with her three-toed power, the she-toad vetoed him.
  • This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

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