This next exercise requires us to nominate a secret person. Now there are lots of ways of doing that.
I’m going to ask all of you to step in and with your clenched fist look away from the rest of the group and just place your thumb up if you wish to have your thumb squeezed once. Now I’m only going to squeeze it once…
But once we’ve all gone in, thumb up… if you don’t wish to just keep your thumb down, but looking away I will go in and find one thumb to squooze. That person will be our secret person.
Only they will know that they have had their finger squoozed or squeezed or squazed or as the case may be, Ange, in the most ridiculous fashion possible. Once it occurred I will give you more information. Got the idea?
Alright. Bunch on in. Bunch on in. Now you want to come all the way in so that your hands touch other people’s hands. Look out from the big bunch of hands. I’m going in there.
If you wish to be nominated as the secret person, you’re going to have your thumb up, otherwise don’t bother. Okay, I found one thumb. That person I’ve just squoozed. Okay. Put your hands down. Pull on out.
Now without nominating and identifying yourself, the person who’ve just had their thumb squeezed they are the “Pruie”. They are the “Pruie”. That’s a very important word because it’s the only thing from now on you get to say.
Here’s what’s about to happen. In a moment I’m going to ask you to have your bumpers up as we’ve described before, elbows in, palms facing forward, placed somewhere in front of your upper torso or your head. And with your eyes closed, slowly, I’m going to ask you to start to mingle, and you’ll just start to move in towards the centre.
You will bump off other people. Keep your eyes closed at all times until I ask you to open them, which will be another minute or so down the track.
Once you’ve started mingling I will then say the game has started, at which point continue mingling but here’s what occurs. If you are the Pruie, as soon as someone comes up to you, in fact this is the interaction all of you have…
So for example Ange if you could just have your hands like this, if you can do your best not to laugh as we go. I’m going to come up. We’ve both got our eyes closed. Let’s say Ange is the Pruie. I’m going to come up and the only thing I ever say is “Pruie?” It’s like a question. Pruie?
Now if she says ‘Pruie” back to me I know she’s not the Pruie. But in this case because she is the Pruie it’s going to go, “Pruie?” And then she might not have heard me so I say again “Pruie?” Okay. She hasn’t responded. She is the Pruie.
The Pruie does not ever respond, doesn’t say anything, at which point with my eyes still closed I link arms with her to become part of the Pruie, and guess what? It’s like an amoeba. We’ve now doubled up. We’ve now got two of us.
So if someone bumps into me, I wasn’t the original Pruie but I’m now the Pruie. Someone bumps into me, they will call out, they’ll say “Pruie?”, and I won’t say anything. They’ll probably check it twice, at which point they link up with me.
The object for the game is to have everyone part of the Pruie. Got the idea?
So to repeat, in a moment you’re all going to start mingling about. The Pruie is the only person when they mingle and bump into people and ask the question, they never ask and they never say anything in response to the question “Pruie?” So it’s basically saying are you Pruie but you just say the word “Pruie”. Ready to go?
(But we do keep our eyes closed the whole time.)
The whole time. The only time you open them up is when you hear me say you may now open your eyes, because I will know whether in fact the whole Pruie is here. Okay?
Got the idea? Alright. Anyone going out onto the Great Ocean Road, I will be pulling back.
Okay. Hands together. Elbows in, palms facing forward. Start mingling now. Keep your eyes closed. Pruie is the only thing you ever say.
Alright. You may now open your eyes. Nicely played.
(Who was the stem cell?)
Who was the original stem cell? Who was the original Pruie? Alright Josh, fantastic. Nicely played. Excellent. It’s good.
I have my eyes open except for one trip over by the chair over there. The Pruie does not need to move, so once you’ve found them generally you stay in spot. That’s okay.
But what I always enjoy and we’ll do this another round or two is that plaintive “Pruie” that comes out, when you can hear everyone else is part of the Pruie but you’re not and you hear this sort of going… “Pruie?”
There was a couple of those. Anyone out there? Have you all left the room? Alright…
How To Play Narrative
To begin, announce that you will shortly ask everyone to close their eyes for a few moments. This is often simpler then handing out and tying blindfolds, but if you sense that some people may peek, feel free to use a prop.
Before plunging your group into darkness, you need to appoint a ‘secret’ person. The easiest way to do this is to ask everyone to close their eyes for a moment while you wander about your group and tap one person secretly and silently on the shoulder.
Upon re-opening their eyes, explain to your group that one person has been tapped, meaning that this person will be the ‘Pruie’ for the first round.
What’s a ‘Pruie’ you ask? I have no clue, it can be whatever you want it to be, but I do know it is a silent organism. Which means, the Pruie never speaks.
Next, instruct your group (including the Pruie) to close their eyes, raise their bumpers up (hands up in front of chest, palms facing forward, elbows in) and wander about aimlessly within the immediate area.
Explain that during this mingling, each time someone bumps into another person, each person will ask the other “PRUIE?” as if enquiring whether the other is indeed the Pruie.
If both people reply with “PRUIE?” then each person will continue on their journey in search of the elusive Pruie. As you may have guessed, the only word that can ever be spoken in this game is “PRUIE.”
If, however, the person asking the question “PRUIE?” gets no answer, this will indicate that they have indeed found Pruie, and should immediately latch onto them by linking arms in some way. Obviously, the secret person masquerading as Pruie remains silent at all times.
As the game continues, more and more people become a part of the Pruie, which means that every person connected to the Pruie are also required to remain silent with their eyes closed. So, if someone bumps into a person who just joined the Pruie, the bumper will immediately latch onto this person, and so on the Pruie grows. Oh, and no matter who you are, everyone keeps their eyes closed.
Standing there in complete darkness, it is hilarious listening to those forlorn couple of folks at the end bleating out “PRUIE?” The ever-expanding Pruie will find it hard to stifle their laughter, but encourage them to be as silent as possible.
The game is over once everyone becomes a part of the Pruie. Be prepared to play another round or three.
Oh, and once their eyes are open, expect the group to explode into a never-ending series of enthusiastic conversations about their journeys.
The person masquerading as Pruie is entitled to move around the area at first, but as soon as two or three people latch onto them, it is safer for all of them to remain stationary.
Note, that while people’s eyes are closed, all movements must be slow. In the interests of group safety, there is no racing or crashing through the group.
People are naturally very vulnerable with their eyes closed, so consider your sequence carefully before launching into this exercise. Typically, a high-level of group trust should be present before introducing any activities which involve people closing their eyes.
Name Your Organism: Adopt another nonsensical (or meaningful) word as the name of the initial, silent and elusive person.
Multiple Pruies: For particularly large groups, appoint two or three Pruies.
Active guessing game to sharpen observation skills.
Come To Me
Fun partner exercise that develops trust & listening skills.
Useful Framing Ideas
There’s something pretty smug about being a part of the ‘in’ group. The flip-side, of course, is that it never feels good when you’re not part of the group. This activity is all about these feelings, and a whole lot of fun…
I have incredible admiration for people who are visually impaired or blind, insofar as they go about their daily lives and adapting their abilities to their environment. Those of us with perfect 20/20 vision, can never truly understand what it must be like to not be able to see, but for a little fun, I hope you enjoy this next exercise…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this zany, highly interactive group game:
Describe what it was like when you had your eyes closed looking for Pruie?
How did it feel when you found Pruie?
How did it feel to be one of the last people to find Pruie?
Describe a time in your life when you were (or were not) part of the ‘in’ group.
Fun ‘Community-Building Games’ Session
What You Need: 12+ people, 60 mins
Props: sheets of paper, pens