Helping Hands

(the one where a player sticks her arms through)

In this game for performance, one player tucks her arms behind her back while a second player stands behind and sticks his arms through giving her a new set of hands. Working together to speak and act as one complete person, the hands follow along with what is being said, and the speaker justifies everything that the hands do as if they are hers. This effect can be used in a variety of ways, including playing a scene with one or more set of Helping Hands, or having the players pretend to be an expert on a topic and demonstrate a task. A fun option is to set a table of real props in front of the player and ask her demonstrate how to use them (preferably messy props like food or makeup).

(aka: Arms Expert, Arms Game, Prosthesis Scene, Bionic Expert)


Pro Tips:

  • Have the players face the audience the entire time so that the effect is as seamless as possible.
  • If you're not certain about players physical comfort level, match men with men and women with women.
  • Have players demonstrate the game by adjusting their clothing or scratching their nose, to give them permission to break those personal space taboos. 
  • Take suggestions that encourage a lot of hand use (professions like surgeon or tv chef are a good bet).
  • Control is shared both ways; the more fully the body and hands react to each other, going above and beyond to make sense of every single thing the hands do or the body says, the more compelling for the audience.
  • Once players are comfortable with the game, encourage them to occasionally make big moves that are more challenging for their partner to justify. 
  • This is a game that can be easily played with an audience member as the Helping Hands, or even as the body if you have a second player on stage to take care of them.

Alternate Versions:

  • Have two players stand behind the body and each play a single arm.

If you know more about this game, leave a comment and we'll update the website.