Introduction to Devised Theatre/Get to know you day
Students will demonstrate their ability to understand community and the ability to work together by participating in various activities and creating a definition of community.
A large space
Gather everyone in a circle to play Samurai. This game will help them get warmed up. Everyone stands in a circle. One person is chosen as a sensei. Everyone bows while making a ninja sound. The sensei points with both hands to another person while making a ninja sound. That person, on the second beat, makes a ninja sound while clasping their hands together in the air above their heads. On the third beat, the two people on either side of the second beat person karate chop inwards toward the person in the middle—with a ninja sound of course! This middle person now points to a new person in the circle and the game continues. If you get off beat or miss a beat, you are OUT.
STEP 1: Discussion- Tell the students that we will be starting a unit where we will be creating theatre. What is devised theatre? If they do not know explain that it is a form of theatre where the script originates not from a writer or writers, but from collaborative, usually improvisatory, work by a group of people. We will be creating theatre together. We will get the opportunity to share our devised piece with elementary school students. Keep in mind our audience as we make theatre. We will have to learn to work together, encourage one another and their ideas, problem solve keep an open mind, trust one another with our ideas etc. Before we do that we need to get to know each other better. Get to know everyone in the class, not just those you sit by. That is what we will be exploring today.
STEP 2: Group Instruction- Gather the students in a circle and conduct the next activity. This activity will help the group begin to focus and get used to being close to one another. To get them comfortable with one another and level the playing field.
Switching Places- In a group, depending on how large the group is it can be split into two, have an individual stand in the middle. The people on the outside make eye contact, and through non-verbal communication, they are to switch places. The individual in the center has the job of moving into one of the spots of the person switching. This process continues for about 10 min and then in the last minute, asks them to make as many switches as possible.
STEP 3: Group Practice- These next set of activities are for the students to get to know each other and break the ice a bit more.
Group walk the space- try to keep the whole group in your sight, don’t turn your back to anyone. At any point someone can stop and the whole group must try to stop with them. This game continues while another starts:
Affinity Groups: place yourself in groups without talking based on what you’re wearing on top. Combine two or three of those groups. Make sure you know each other’s names. Place yourself in groups based on what you’re wearing on bottom. Repeat by splitting into groups based on shoes. Repeat by splitting based on eye color.
Where I’m From- Whole group stands in a circle. Person in center finishes prompt, “Where I’m From”. Everyone who that prompt applies to must find a new spot in the circle. Whoever doesn’t find a new spot stands in center.
STEP 4: Transition- Discuss with the class what was that experience like for them? Did they learn new things about each other? What did they learn? What did they observe about people? What can be gained from this activity? Did you learn something about yourself? What?
STEP 5: Group Practice- Gather the students back together and have them come up with a definition for community. You will use this definition throughout the next weeks as you create theatre together. First write the word community on a piece of paper and have them just shout out words that they think of when they see the word community. Then have them discuss what it means to them. A possible definition could be, “A group of people working toward a common goal.”
STEP 6: Group practice- Once the students have an established definition of community ask the students why community in this class is important. Ask them what is valuable about having community? Basically the students need to know if they don’t have community and they aren’t willing to work together they won’t be able to create theatre together.
They can be assessed by their definition of community. At the end of the lesson you want to the students to feel more comfortable around each other. They can also be assessed by their participation in the activities and the discussions.