Conditioning Forces


Students will demonstrate their understanding of Uta Hagen’s Conditioning Forces exercise by participating in a modified version of the theatre game “Freeze”.


Materials Needed

· Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen (preferably one per student)
· Slips of paper identifying a number of different conditioning forces (e.g. headache, cold, late, etc.)
· Hat or bowl


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Play the game Freeze.
How to play: Two students improvise a scene using extreme physicality. At any given moment, a student viewing the scene can call out “Freeze”. The performers must freeze in place, and then the student that called out freeze can replace either performer. He must take the exact position of the original performer’s position. Once situated, he will then start up the scene again, changing the narrative of the scene.



Step 1:
· As a class, read Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting, pages 129-133.
· Throughout the reading, periodically asks students
o to summarize what they’ve read
o for examples from their individual lives


Step 2:
· To warm up the students to the exercise, slowly read aloud pages 132-133 (starts with “Possibly you imagine that the apartment is overheated”) while students do what is being dictated.


Step 3:
· Once students have had sufficient time to practice the exercise and scene, inform them that they will be playing Freeze again.
· This time however, they will draw from the hat/bowl a conditioning force they need to implement in their improvised scene.
· When someone calls “freeze”, they will draw an additional force and have to act with both forces.
· When the third person calls freeze, they will once again draw a force so that they are improvising with three forces
· Continue this game until everyone has had the chance to participate
NOTE: If students are capable, continue to add forces. Otherwise, start over after three conditioning forces are implemented.



· 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 “The order in which you stagger and rehearse the conditions does have relevance. Start with the one you think has least importance so it can stay there in your bones as a reflex, and end up with the one to which you have to give the most conscious attention. In this way you will avoid having to ‘think’ of too many things at once.” (pg 133)



Participation: 10pts
Implementation of Exercise: 5pts
Total possible points: 15 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