When I was in elementary school in Northern Ontario, Canada, a group of friends would get together sometimes and play a game we called "statue". This was a sort of hybrid between another freezing-in-position game called [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statues_(game) "statues"], a game called "swing the statues" and charades. Unlike the other games, this one focused on role-playing and did not have a competitive aspect about it (i.e. no one was "out"). It does not appear anyone has documented this version of the game, and it may have been a local invention.
Overview: The game is set up as a store scenario. There is a dealer (or curator) who has a collection of statues (actually, they are more like role-playing machines) and a customer who is interested in buying one of the statues. Each "statue" gets a chance to demonstrate his or her abilities at the cue of the "dealer", and the "buyer" chooses whichever statue he/she likes best, and then the roles are switched around. The game can be played in about 10 minutes, or however long the players want it to last, and the game can be also be a good ice-breaker at adult events. You need at least four players - one two act as the "spinner/seller (or curator)", one to act as the "customer", and the remaining players are the "statues".
Note: It is possible that there is a French-Canadian version of this game under a different title, as it was played in a bilingual area of the province, but I have never heard of the game referred to any other name than "statue". I would be interested to know if anyone else played a similar game.
(Map of Northern Ontario from Wikipedia - created by user Vidioman, public domain.)
Step 1: Players and Location
As a children's game, I would say that an ideal minimum age to play is around 6 years old, as it requires role-playing and taking turns. It was played up to the ages of 11 or 12, but there are really no age limits on the game. For adults, it would be good a good icebreaker at conferences.
Minimum Players: 4
Roles: Spinner/Dealer, Buyer, Statues
Suitable locations: A grassy lot or backyard, Gymnasium, large rec room free of obstacles and fragile items
Step 2: The Spin
This part of the game most resembles "swing the statue", which is why I think this game may have been made up of other children's games at some point.
The player designated the "spinner/dealer" takes each of the "statue" players by hand and spins him/her around a few times, and then lets go. The "statue" player then falters off and freezes in a unique position. He/she then thinks up an imaginary role based on that acquired position. (Example, land in a crawling position and become a cat.)
The "spinner/dealer" continues until every "statue" been made.
Step 3: The Spiel
Once all the "statues" have been formed, the "spinner/dealer" goes around to each of them and asks what they are supposed to be (i.e. they are now the merchandise). The "buyer" now comes along and the "spinner/dealer" makes the sales pitch. He/she takes the "buyer" to each "statue", explains what it is supposed to be, and then turns it on for a demonstration with a tap on the shoulder.
The "statue" then goes around and acts out his/her role with great exaggerations, sometimes even going out of control. When the "buyer" has seen enough of the demonstration, the "spinner/dealer" turns the "statue" off again with another shoulder tap. (This may not be easy if the "statue" is pretending to be out of control.)
Once the "buyer" has had a chance to see all the demonstrations, he/she then picks the "statue" to buy, and the next round begins.
Step 4: The Next Round
The purchased "statue" is now the "spinner/dealer", and the "spinner/dealer" from the last round is now the "buyer", while the "buyer" is now another "statue", and the game begins again. Depending on the group of players, there may be preference to keep the same spinner over and over, with only the "buyer" and "statues" changing places.
The more I look over this game as an adult, the more I'm certain this had to be made up on the playground at some point, as there is really no objective in the game, except for it being a great opportunity for make-believe. I always enjoyed the game for this aspect, and I would think it would be quite enjoyable for imaginative children who don't necessarily like to be competing all the time on the playground.