The students will demonstrate their understanding about how various relationships with other characters affects character development by participating in a “Contentless Scene” with a partner.


Materials Needed


Lesson Directions

Have each student get out a piece of paper and write their name at the top. Next have them write down 10 names of various people they know underneath their name. Finally, have the student identify how they relate to each of the people they wrote down (I’m their…brother, friend, employee, student, etc.). Ask the students to describe how they behave/act around the various people on their lists.


Step 1: Show 2-3 short movie clips (maybe even older ones so that the students mostly wouldn’t recognize them) with NO sound. According to the body language that is used between the characters, have the students write down what they think the relationship is in the scene and why they think it’s that relationship (justify their choice).


Play more movie clips but this time do not let them see the movie. Using only sound and language, have the students do the same written response as before.


Show a few more movie clips with audio and visual and once more have the students identify the relationships.


Step 2: Facilitate a discussion focusing on these questions:

-What relationships did you observe in the clips?

-What clues did you use to determine the relationships?

-Why did their behavior change depending on who they were with?

-How did their voice, language, posture/body positioning, and movement vary through different interactions and help convey the relationship?


Step 3: Set up a scenario for students where they need to borrow a car. Explain to the students that it’s extremely important that they have a car this weekend!


Have written on cards different relationships such as:






Best Friends


Boyfriend or girlfriend



Randomly picking one of the cards, each pair of students needs to attempt to persuade the other to let them use the car – taking into consideration the relationship.  This can be done as an improv performance or multiple partnerships could be completing this exercise at the same time; pair partnerships up to perform for each other.


Step 4: Discuss, even though it was the same scenario for everyone, what made the scenes different?

Talk about the importance of relationships in drama.  What does showing relationship convey to audience members?  How does it further storyline?  How can it help characters in connections and interactions and objective work?


Step 5: Have the students get back their partners. Give them about three minutes to decide how their characters are related (it can be the relationship from the card or a completely different one).


Step 6: Have each student write on their paper what indicators their character might give to show this relationship.

Example: My partner is my best friend so I would:

– Be comfortable touching him/her

– My voice would be more natural,

– I wouldn’t always have to look directly at them but do feel comfortable looking them in the eye

– I’m more likely to laugh, etc.


Step 7: Give every student a copy of the “Contentless Scene.” Tell them they will perform these scenes in front of the class. They need to display the relational characteristics they wrote down on their papers in step nine. Give them about 10 minutes to prepare.


Step 8: Have each group perform their “Contentless Scene” for the class. Tell those who are watching to write down one relational characteristic they observed for each performer. Inform the students they will be turning the papers in at the end of class.


Step 9: After each performance have a couple of students share what they wrote down.



Have the students turn in their papers at the end of class.