The Basic Object Exercise


Students will demonstrate their understanding of Uta Hagen’s The Basic Object Exercises exercise by rehearsing and performing a 2-minute slice of their life.


Materials Needed

· Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen (preferably one per student)


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Conduct a number of physical exercises (i.e. ab exercises, bicep exercises, squat exercises, etc.). Ask students why athletes perform warm-up exercises (possible answers: for training, to warm-up, to improve craft, etc.) Inform them that just as athletes have specific warm-up exercises, Uta Hagen (renowned actor and director) has created exercises for actors. Transition to the first exercise by reading from Uta Hagen’s book, Respect for Acting. (Detailed instructions below)


Step 1:
· As a class, read Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting, pages 81-86.
· Throughout the reading, periodically asks students
o to summarize what they’ve read
o for examples from their individual lives


Step 2:
· Based on the reading, students must now decide a moment in their daily life when they can apply the principles discussed in the reading
· Specifically they need to think of something where they’re able to answer the following questions:
1. Who am I?
2. What time is it?
3. Where am I?
4. What surrounds me?
5. What are the given circumstances?
6. What is my relationship?
7. What do I want?
8. What’s in my way?
9. What do I do to get what I want?
(For additional examples or further clarification, read pages 91-94 )
· Once they determine the situation they want to use in their exercise, have students write a detailed description of the occurrence. (They will turn this in after they perform.)


Step 3:
· Once students have had sufficient time to practice the exercise and scene, have them perform
· To performers: emphasize that they are simply trying to “recreate 2 minutes of their life and bring it to presentation as if for the first time”



· Once everyone has performed, discuss their process in doing this exercise (Possible questions: what did this exercise do for you? How did it help you? How do you think it can help the performance overall?, etc.)
· Conclude by emphasizing “all technical variations of the ensuing exercises incorporate the elements you have examined in this one. Don’t omit any of them.” (page 94)



Participation: 10pts
Implementation of Exercise: 5pts
Write up: 5 pt
Total possible points: 20 pts


Implementation of Exercise POINT VALUE
Description of Qualifying Standard Points
Barely understands the exercise and its application to improving one’s acting ability 1
Sufficiently understands the exercise and its application to improving one’s acting ability 3
Understands the exercise and successfully applies it to improve one’s acting ability 5