Week Two, Lesson Two
How can I create a scene in a collaborative, productive, time efficient manner?
How do I incorporate an acting exercise into an already created scene?
Activate Prior Knowledge
Read another story from list.
Ask the students what that story has to do with respect. Which kind of respect does it relate to?
Ask students if anyone has done their homework yet by showing respect to anyone or anything since the last meeting of the class? Have them tell the story. Congratulate them on their good work.
We are going to work on our scenes again today but I want to play around with an important idea in acting. That is how we get the audience to know the place that the scene is in. This is the “Where” of the scene?
Why is where important?
Can a scene be different depending on where it takes place?
How would a birthday party be different if it took place in a roller skating rink? A backyard? A football stadium? A library?
As directors of your scenes, you have to decide where it takes place and it has to be clear why that is important to the scene.
Where is very important. We are going to play a guessing game now. One person will go up onstage and pretend that he/she is in a place. The person can talk but she/he cannot tell us where they are. We will watch very quietly and at the end of a minute I will stop it and will let you guess where she/he was by raising your hand. Who wants to volunteer?
Take class through this exercise. Students will get more enthusiastic as more people volunteer. Make sure that this does not turn into charades where audience members keep calling out. Remind them that they need to practice good audience etiquette even when they are playing a game. Another reason why it is important for the audience to remain silent is because the actor has a tendency to stop acting when someone guesses correctly. The actor needs to remain focused for the whole time.
Next stage - Instead of guessing, I want you to raise your hand and if called on, get up and join the other person onstage. You should not do the same activity but one that you can also do in that place. So if Mary is walking a dog in a park, what are some other things that can be done in a park?
Several rounds of the game should be played. If there is interest have more than one person join in the scene.
The same thing as with Where Two, but this time the entire class joins in once they know where it is and have raised their hands and were called on to join. Remind the class that they are choosing complimentary activities to do in the place, not everyone is walking a dog. It also has to be a place that can hold the amount of students in the class. If you have thirty students, the initial player should not choose driving in a car.
(If you cannot get through all three exercises in a day, save the unused games for another day later in the week or as a reward later in the year. As long as they get the idea that the location is important to the scene, that is enough.)
We are going to get in our groups now. I want you to add a place to your scene. So you have to decide as a group where your scene of respect will take place. But this will get a little more interesting. I want all members of the group to decide on a different place and I want you to play the scene in each of those places. Only after you have tried all the varieties, should your group decide which location was the best for the idea of the scene to come through. It might be fun to do your scene on the moon, but will the audience get why that’s important. And speaking of the moon, your places don’t necessarily have to be normal, it just has to be right for what you are trying to get across.
Students work on it for a while and then they will show their scenes. In the critique ask performers what environments they worked on besides the one presented and why they thought this one was the best for their purposes. Also ask how their work has improved since yesterday.
Have students think about three activities that they can do in their environment. Next time when students work on their scenes, they will have to include at least three activities each. That will be a graded part of their final grade for this project.
Ask how incorporating an environment into their scenes has changed the scene. Ask also who was being a good actor today and who was a good audience member. It is important to ask these questions as much as possible so the students get that each time the class meets it is important to be respectful as an actor and audience member.
Remind students that they need to do their homework on being respectful to others or observing respectful behaviors of others.
You might want to bribe the students by telling them if they do something respectful each day, they will get some sort of reward.
Some people might object to rewarding students for behaviors that they should be doing normally. I believe that if this is not a part of an individual’s personality, a push in the right direction could help. If the student normally models good behavior, why shouldn’t they get a little perk for being good.
This class has several informal assessments that can be used; class discussion, group work, and audience etiquette.
Theatre Builds Character - Lesson Plan 2