How to play “Dave’s Famous Telephone Charades”

Dave’s Famous Telephone Charades is a party game that requires a minimum of 4 “participants,” as well as a certain critical mass of reasonably creative “audience members,” probably no less than 4. It was a perennial favourite of my circle of friends when I was an undergrad at Western.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Players 1–4 go to a separate room where they can’t see or hear the audience members talking.
  2. The audience members choose a scene to be acted out silently by the players.
    • The instructions for the scene to be acted out should be simple—aim for 1 sentence.
    • The scene should lend itself easily to physical movement and interpretation.
    • The scene must be something that can be acted out silently.
    • Examples include: “washing the dishes,” “an otter in its natural habitat,” “a day in the life of a …”
  3. Player 1 comes back to the room with the audience, where he is told the scene to be acted out. He is given 10 seconds to think about what exactly he will do.
  4. Player 2 comes into the room and watches player 1 silently act out the scene given to him. The scene should be about 30 seconds long, tops. To be clear: no one tells players 2–4 what the scene is until after the game is finished.
  5. Player 3 enters and player 2 acts out the scene from memory, not knowing the instructions that were given to player 1.
  6. Player 4 enters and player 3 acts out the scene from memory.
  7. Player 4 acts out the scene as best he can from memory, narrating what it is she thinks she is acting out.
  8. Player 3 corrects player 4.
  9. Player 2 corrects player 3.
  10. Player 1 reveals the instructions she was given in the first place.

This sort of game only works with certain kinds of people in the right sort of mood, but when you have the right combination of people with the right sort of energy all together in the same place, it can be hilarious.

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

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