Tag Archives: Theatre Games

Jump, Shake Your Booty

My informant has been a dancer since elementary school, and currently dances with her performing arts high school. She told me the following piece of folklore about a pre-performance tradition:

So, after everyone gets ready and is about to go onstage for opening night before a show, everyone like gets together in a big group, and usually we turn off the lights but not always depending on where we are, but we usually turn off the lights, and then we all like get in a circle and its quiet for a few seconds and then sort of spontaneously it starts, we all start like shouting JUMP SHAKE YOUR BOOTY, JUMP JUMP SHAKE YOUR BOOTY and we all jump up and down and shake our butts along with the chant, and I guess it’s for good luck on opening night, I’m not really sure, but, like, we all do it before opening night and I’ve done it at, like, pretty much every show I can remember.

My informant told me she and the other members of her cast would perform this tradition for good luck before a show. She does not know when or where it began, but said it has been around for as long as she can remember. Although my informant is a dancer, she said many of her other friends in other disciplines celebrate this tradition as well, and it appears to be a long standing theatrical tradition across all disciplines. It could be a way to get the cast excited before the show, and to loosen up through the motions in the chant, or simply a way to remind everyone to have fun and enforce comradeship in the cast.

Ghost Potato

Click Here for Audio file of Interview

“So, Ghost Potato is a game, that was passed on to me, uh when I lived in England, by a colleague. And I don’t know where he got it from, whether it’s an ancient game, I am uncertain about that. But in Ghost Potato, a large group of people are divided up into two possible roles: one is Ghost, and the other is Potato. Uhh, the game is then played blindfolded or with closed eyes. Nobody can see anything. And uh, the participants wander around a-a confined space. When they bump into each other, they must gently whisper their identity to one another. So for example, someone would bump into someone and then they’d just go ghost, or like that, or potentially potato. Now, and then the rules of the game state that if a ghost meets a ghost and they, exchange identities, then nothing happens. And if a potato meets a potato, then, nothing happens. But if a ghost should meet a potato, then the potato DIES! That is the rule of the game. And then all dead potatoes move to the side of the room, next to the sensei or referee who’s looking, who’s looking after the whole thing, and um, and then when potatoes, dead potatoes see live potatoes in danger of being caught by ghosts, they are encouraged to make the following sound: oohwoahohoh. Like that, thus warning the still living potatoes, or tubers, uh that they are um, potentially about to be caught. That’s ghost potato.”

“Well, I understand, all walks of life can attempt Ghost Potato, but it is a little dangerous. So I prefer to reserve it for, um, sophisticated, uh, actors, who understand, the dangers of, of the imagination. And uh, I think in my time only one or two people have tipped over the edge and, and sort of lost themselves in the spiritual abyss that awaits them, at the vortex which is Ghost Potato.”


This game allows the players to really have fun, and prevent them from taking themselves too seriously. The rules are extremely simple, and its very funny when Actors, many of whom try to come off as serious artists play something that was probably designed for kindergartners. Its also like a practical joke on the players, because the source, who moderates this game with his students, gets to watch a group of adults wander around a room, bump into each other and whisper.