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)


Assessment (Exercise Assessment Point Value)

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