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Strut the Boards

To all budding actors out there, here’s a hot tip: Why pay for expensive acting lessons to hone your craft, when playing Charades can develop your acting skills for a fraction of the cost?

What is Charades?

Charades is much more than just a word guessing game – it’s a whole body experience where you physically, but silently, act out the meaning of a word or phrase. The most commonly used are titles of books, movies, TV shows, plays and songs, but a person’s name, quotation or proverb or even a website can also be used. It’s like Pictionary for extraverts, as your whole body animatedly communicates the gist of the word or phrase for your team to guess. Your performance skills are crucial, but the game can also be enhanced by learning a few conventional signals to help your team-mates guess correctly such as:

  • Person – stand with your hands on your hips
  • Book title – open your closed hands as you would a book
  • Song title – spread your arms dramatically and mime some lyrics
  • Movie title – make a circle with your left hand and hold it to your left eye,
  • while rotating an imaginary crank like an old fashioned movie camera with your right hand
  • Phrase or quotation – lift both arms above your head and make quotation marks in the air
  • TV show – draw an imaginary rectangle in the air with your fingers
  • Correct guess – point to your nose and to the correct guesser – look happy!
  • Numbers of words in the phrase – hold up the correct number of fingers
  • Sounds like – cup your ear or point to your ear

But hey, the whole point is to be creative, so feel free to make up your own rules as you go along – as long as your team mates are in agreement!  And don’t hold back your acting skills either! Hamming it up is crucial, as it speeds up the guessing process.

History of Charades

Charades was born in 16thc France as a parlour game called Petit Jeux. It soon became a favourite activity in many royal courts. Both the 17thc French King Louis XIV and 18thc Russian Queen Catherine the Great were well known enthusiasts. Charades only truly reached its heyday however in Victorian England in the mid 19thc, where due to its immense popularity, it became known simply as “The Game”. Charades was released commercially in 1968 by Leisure Ltd, and has since cemented its reputation as THE game to play at social events, as it’s guaranteed to generate lots of laughs.

Charades in spades

Now there are a whole range of Charades games on the market, such as Charades for Kids (1999), Bible Charades (2000), Running Charades (2000) and adults only editions such as Saucy Charades (2004) and Sexy Slang’s Naughty Charades (2008). The latest release is Sedarahc: The Game of Reverse Charades (2009) (pronounced suh-DARE-icÂ), which, as the name implies, reverses all the conventional rules and even the name itself!

The More the Merrier Charades

The old saying “the more the merrier” is especially apt for Charades. So why not get a few friends together (six or more is best) and strut the boards for some really serious fun.  Charades is a new experience every time, and that’s what keeps the play continually fresh and creative.


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    October 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM

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