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  1. I want to share an idea for a group activity. My family & a couple of friends have played this game a couple of times and it really is a lot of fun. It can be played via email or text so no worries if folks aren't all in the same house. Here's our Dinner Party Conversation Game as we played it. I'm sure you'll see right off how the structure could easily be modified for musicals. The game begins with the question, who would you invite to an imaginary dinner party? You set parameters like only real people or just fictional characters. You can set a time range (within the last 200 years). You also decide on the number of "guests" who will be seated at the table (# must be a multiple of the number of players). One of the players acts as organizer. Without consulting with any other player, each player draws up a list of invited guests and gives it to the organizer. These guests must be randomly seated at the dinner table. There are a number of ways to do this, the easiest is for the organizer to write the names of guests on slips of paper and pull them from a hat. First name pulled sits at the head of the table and you just fill the "chairs" with guests. It's fun to visualize this on a white or chalk board, or just as a graphic on the computer. You can string inviting and seating guests out for a week or more, or you can do it in one evening. (We are such statistics geeks that we randomly assigned numbers to guests and then randomly seated them at the table. But you could just seat them clockwise or whatever.) That part can be mildly amusing. For example, my eldest daughter invited five of the Doctor Who's. The twelfth Doctor was seated at the head of the table next to Hesiod. Chuck Berry wound up next to Elon Musk. Here's why that's fun. What do guests do at a dinner party? They talk with the people they're seated next to. Here's how that works. The guest at the head of the table begins the conversation by saying something that he/she actually really said. For example, I quoted Amelia as saying, "Help!" (For this game we had to provide citation information-- where the quote came from-- and I said "common knowledge".) The person seated at that guest's left (e.g., go clockwise around the table) responds. This is critical. The response has to be something that the guest said, and it has to be a response to what was said. So son-in-law's guest, Phillip K. Dick (who wrote the novel "Ubik") responds: Has perspiration odor taken you out of the swim? Ten-day Ubik deodorant spray or Ubik roll-on ends worry of offending, brings you back where the happening is. Safe when use as directed in a conscientious program of body hygiene. We made up the "rules" as went alone in this game; one was that if the guest was an author (or composer) than anything he/she wrote was fair game. Here's a funny one-- Hunter S. Thompson: We can't stop here. This is bat country. Willie Nelson: On the road again, like a band of gypsies we go down the highway, we're the best of friends, insisting that the world keeps turnin' our way, and our way is on the road again. ~~ The way we play, after the guests are seated and the conversation begins, we try to allow just one day to come up with an appropriate response. But there are any number of ways you could do this. It's important to make up the rules as you go along! Aside from the fun, playing the Dinner Party Conversation Game is educational. I can see this applying to musicals especially. You have to sort of dig into a guest's "work" to discover what would be a good response so you learn more about your guest. It's also true that a player will inevitably choose guest(s) that the other players are unfamiliar with. So you can introduce your guests to the others. Have fun!
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