Invite students to spread out and find a space in the room. Next, have them pantomime an ordinary activity such as raking leaves. After a short time, add in a ‘difficulty’ such as ‘rake the leaves with feet made of lead.’ Do this with three or four other activities and then discuss how even the smallest of difficulties/obstacles can change the nature of an activity/scene.
Divide class into pairs. Tell students that in a moment, each pair will be picking a set of characters and a situation out of a hat. Give them an example such as a hairdresser and a client. Tell them that they will also have an obstacle or conflict, such as ‘the client hates his/her new haircut.’ Remind students that this is a silent game. Instruct students that they are to practice the scene from beginning to end without the obstacle first, and then practice it adding in the complication.
Invite players to pick their characters/situations out of the hat. Give them ten to fifteen minutes to practice. Tell students that if they finish early, to find another pair of actors to rehearse in front of and to give each other feedback.
Ask for a pair to volunteer to go first. Tell the actors to first act out the scene ‘straight,’ or with no conflict/obstacle, and then to perform it again with the added complication.
Invite the audience members to give feedback on the scene. Ask: What was happening in this scene? Could you tell who the characters were? What was unclear? How did the scene change when they performed it for the second time? How could the scene be improved? What does this exercise tell us about finding conflict or obstacles when doing scene work?
In pairs, students will develop their own pantomimed scene in which two characters experience conflict. Students will be assessed on how clearly they conveyed the characters and the conflict.