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Drama Game: Why Are You Late?!


May 18, 2015 Drama Games , 18 Comments

Drama Game Why Are You Late?Type: Creativity, Improv

Procedure: A fun improv game that includes a lot of players.


1.  Ask six players to take the stage. Choose four of the players to be “officer workers”, one player to be the “boss”, and one player to be the “late worker”.

2.  The “officer workers” should sit facing the audience, miming typing on a computer.

3. The “boss” and “late worker” leave the room while the “officer workers” come up with a reason why the “late worker” is late. (i.e. Her hair got caught in the dishwasher!, Her car got crushed by a dinosaur!, etc.)

4. Once the “office workers” have decided, they go back to typing at their computers. The “boss” enters and stands with his back to the office workers so he can’t see them. Then the “late worker” enters and faces the boss. The “late worker” can see the “officer workers”, but the “boss” can’t.

5. The “boss” asks the “late worker” So, why are you late?!

6. The “officer workers” mime out the reason for lateness behind the “boss’” back and the “late worker” has to guess what it is.

7. At anytime, the “boss” can turn around to face the “office workers” – if he catches one of them not typing, that “officer worker” is fired and must leave the office.

8. The game ends when the “late worker” guesses the correct reason for lateness, or the “boss” fires all the “office workers”.


–  The more silly the reason for lateness, the better!
–  The number of “office workers” can vary.

Have a suggestion for a reason the office worker is late? Leave it in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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  • Thresia Wille
    May 22, 2015 at 9:51 am Reply

    I want to make a version of this game where the office workers choose the reason the employee wants to leave early.

    1. bbbpress
      May 22, 2015 at 10:01 am Reply

      Great idea!

    2. Susan
      Apr 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm Reply

      What a good idea ! i might even try this twist with the littlies to change things up a bit!

  • educator
    Sep 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm Reply

    I tried this this today in class and it was awesome!!!! My students loved it so much and so did I. I really love this site. Thanks bbbpress.

    1. bbbpress
      Sep 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm Reply


  • Josh
    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:53 am Reply

    We do a variation on this called “button factory”, where the office workers are twiddling with buttons (not sure why, actually…), and they not only come up with a reason why the worker is late, but also (2) how they got to work, and (3) what they’re going to do to make it up to the boss. We also do this with a line of all the other students at the ready, and if the boss catches a worker not working, they go to the back of the line and someone from the front of the line joins into the working (so there are always three people working, cycling through the line until the late worker figures it out).

    1. bbbpress
      Sep 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm Reply

      LOVE this idea of cycling through a line to get more kids involved and keep the game going. Thanks Josh!

  • JulieA.M.
    Oct 6, 2015 at 10:51 am Reply

    Q. Does the audience get to KNOW the reason the worker is late before the action starts? Do they volunteer reasons for the workers to choose from?

    1. marcus
      Nov 15, 2015 at 2:23 pm Reply

      most of the time yes and yes

  • marcus
    Nov 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm Reply

    my class loved this game. but we only had the late worker not know why he was late the boss knew aswell

  • Charlie
    Jan 17, 2016 at 11:17 am Reply

    How do you avoid the problem of the boss turning round more or less continuously if they can turn round at any time – also if the boss turns round in a split second, it is likely that they will see everyone in the act of resuming their typing positions, so its hard to define whether or not they’ve ‘gotten away with it’. Any thoughts on this – it sounds like a good game. Thanks.

    1. bbbpress
      Jan 18, 2016 at 10:33 am Reply

      Hi Charlie, great questions. Consider giving each boss only 3 attempt to catch the office workers.

      Another variation to help solve the problem: tell the officer workers only one of them can be gesturing at a time, the rest must be typing. When the boss turns, he must look specifically at a single officer worker. There’s a good chance that worker will be typing, so it will make the game more difficult.

      In regards to defining whether they have “gotten away with it”, make it very clear from the beginning that YOU are the ONLY judge of this, and whatever you say goes. Be as fair and consistent as you can, and don’t allow the kids to argue or negotiate.

  • Student
    Sep 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm Reply

    We played this in class a few days ago, and it was the most fun game I’ve played all year. we only had 2 workers trying to illustrate why they were late, and we got some funny stories. Instead of firing the office workers they just had to explain what they were doing in their poses (They just froze when they got caught). Then they were told to get back to work.

    Our story was this:
    “I had to go buy some food for breakfast, all I could make at home was a cup of coffee. So i was heading out, and I apparently forgot to put a lid on my coffee cup, and it spilled all over me… It was very hot. This caused a chain reaction of many terrible things, eventually leading me to crash into the store I was headed to. So driving wasn’t possible anymore. Thankfully i wasn’t seriously injured. I decided to buy a bagel, and start walking. Though i knew i couldn’t walk the whole way. I lost my wallet and phone in the crash though, so i didn’t know what to do. Thankfully there was a bank just up the road. So i decided to rob it (Because i always carry a gun, and it’s the one thing i didn’t lose in the crash). I stole about $200 then made my getaway. Then I had a cab take me the rest of the way.”

    Yeah our class is weird…

    1. bbbpress
      Sep 20, 2016 at 9:42 am Reply

      Haha…thanks for sharing!

  • Mariana
    Dec 23, 2017 at 12:25 am Reply

    I really lova all of your game ideas. Also, I thought this was a really good game. So when I tried it out with my children, nieces and nephews, they ran to the bedroom. I was like what are they doing
    They came back dressed up as the workers, boss and late person.
    They went absoloutely crazy with the game(!) and really enjoyed it.

    In fact, they were playing this for the whole afternoon!

  • Drama
    Apr 14, 2018 at 3:53 am Reply

    The way we played in my drama class, was we make up the excuse along the way

  • Susan
    Apr 25, 2018 at 6:54 pm Reply

    I love this game so much, i am in year 11 darama and my teacher has selected a few of us to run a game each week and this is the one that i have chosen! everyone in my class loves it and it is great to get into a good mood after a long day of work! i also work in childcare as i am studying my cert III, i introduced this game to them and all of the kids love it. i will defiently use this game and this site for many years, such exciting context! Many thanks, Susan!

  • Ashlee
    Feb 12, 2019 at 7:54 am Reply

    We also played a version where, instead of an office, it was a celebrity talk show. They sat in a semi circle, the host and the late celebrity walked in after the other celebrities on the panel had planned the reason for the celebrity’s lateness. The other celebrities were able to share actions and words to give the late celebrity clues without being to obvious.

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