Choosing and Exploring a Theme


Students will demonstrate their ability to explore the chosen theme by creating a story that has to do with that theme.



Materials Needed

Note cards (1 for each student)



Lesson Directions

Conduct the warm up game Samuari. This will get their body and voices moving.


Group practice- Gather everyone in a circle and conduct the activity Find your mother like a little penguin. Everyone stands in a circle. Count off pairs 1, 2, 1, 2, etc. The 2’s form a circle inside the circle and face their 1. The 2’s are then asked to make a noise that they can repeat without laughing. Then everyone is asked to close their eyes and move around the room silently. Then the 2’s are instructed to make their noises and the 1’s are instructed to find them. Hold hands when you think that you found your mother. Next repeat this exercise except have all the students stand in a circle with their eyes closed and while making their noise listen to the person on their right. Have them repeat that with the left side. Then have themwalk around silently with eyes closed. Then have them try to move around and find their mother again and get back into the order of circle they were in.


Check for Understanding- What were some of the things you gathered from the last two exercises? (Trust, unity, ensemble, energy, etc.) What was challenging? These were to help you get acquainted with one another and develop a better sense of community and that everyone has to do their part.


Instruction- Have the students gather back to the poster. Decide on a theme or possible ideas that we would like to share and explore. Find out what the students have a lot to say about. See what words really prompt their talking and imaginations. Decide on 2-3 topics that they want to explore in their devised theatre piece.
Get into partners and tell a story about that theme. Come up with a question to ask the students and see what their response is in a 1 min story to each other?


Discussion/Check for Understanding- Tell the students that we want to start thinking about how we are going to tell this story. The activities we do today will hopefully help with those decisions. How are we going to tell this story? Is it a narration, with characters acting things out? Do we have dramatic sound effects, dancing, movement, music?


STEP 5: A series of activities that will help simulate possible ideas for creation.
Group Practice- Gather the students in a circle and conduct I am a tree exercise. Everyone stands in a circle and someone goes in and says “I am a tree” another person goes in and says, “I am the grass,” or anything that has to do with the environment, etc. This continues until everyone from the circle is now in the picture. The person who first went in says “I am a tree and the grass stays”. (or whatever they thought was really interesting) And then this builds onto another scene and another scene. Continue this for a little bit.


Group practice- Conduct the activity of Tag Shape. All the students stand in a circle as you explain the game. One person steps into the circle and makes an image/shape with their body. Another person runs into the circle and completes the image whether it is literal or abstract. (Define terms.)Literal means if one person makes the shape of a fist going out, another person runs in and makes the shape of they are falling backwards. It’s what is really going on. Abstract would be any way they interpret the shape and add to it. There can be any possibilities, and there are no wrong answers. Once the image is complete the first person leaves the circle and the 2nd person is in the middle. Then another person runs forward to complete that new image and then the 2nd person leaves, etc. Continue until desired. To end ask them to make as many images as possible in 30 sec. Try to get them to move quickly and have everyone participate


Transition- We are going to build on this, but explore it in a new way. I need everyone to line up against the wall. I need two volunteers.


Partner practice- Conduct the activity Complete the image. Tell students to go to one side of the room as you face them. Ask for two volunteers. Ask the volunteers to walk toward each other and shake hands and then freeze.
– Ask the students: What do you see in this picture? What are they doing with their bodies? What are the facial expressions you see?
-What does their body language tell you? What is a possible relationship between the two? Help the students, give them prompts or scenarios. For example, one person could be a teacher and the other person could be the principle or a boss and the employee.
-Tell one person to sit down and the other to freeze in the handshake position. Ask for another volunteer. Have them complete the image, doing anything besides a handshake and freeze. Ask again what is this picture telling us? What is their relationship?
-Ask one of the students to sit down. Explain to your left over volunteer that you will now be creating a continuous image. Start with the handshake once again. But then you step back and think about the next shape you want to create and make that shape in connection to them. The volunteer will then step back, look at the shape that you’ve created, and complete your image in a different way than previous. This continues until desired.
-Ask participants to all get into pairs and tell them they will be doing what was just demonstrated. They will make a continuous image with their partner and start with the handshake. Once they get to the handshake, ask them to freeze. To gear their images and thinking, give them a specific theme, the theme they chose for their devised theatre “bullying/teasing”. Their images should form around that particular theme in any way that they desire, abstract or literal. Have them go until desired.


Discussion- Ask the students what images they saw, relationships that were developed. Give examples of things you saw and ask for the students to make those shapes and then comment on them with the class.


STEP 10:
Individual practice- Hand the students a note card and tell them to write down a short story where you encountered this theme in elementary school. Collect the note cards, have the students get into partners and redistribute them out to groups. Have each group improv the situation that is on the card, give them time to rehearse.


STEP 11:
Discussion- Perform the note card scenarios for the class. After they all perform ask if anything we created today something we can use for our piece. What ideas do you have now that we have explored topics and images and possible stories?




Students can be assessed by participation in the activities and their performance of the note card improvisation.