Students will demonstrate their ability to focus on their partner by mirroring them while improvising a scene.
For the hook, the class will do a focus train! Have the class get into two straight lines. They will march around the room while counting one-two-three-four, fairly slowly. The person at the front of each train will do some sort of hand gesture for the first four counts. The second four counts, the person behind them will copy the first person’s first four counts while simultaneously watching the first person do something different on the second four counts. On the third set of four counts, the third person will now be doing what the first person did on the first four counts because they are copying the second person. So, the movements will ripple through the train as they move about the room. We will then keep halving the amount of time to do the movements until a different movement is being done by the first person on every count.
Discussion: What was needed to make the train successful? Was it hard to concentrate? Why or why not? Did anyone mess up? What happened when one person messed up? · This discussion should lead to them realizing that they need to focus on the person in front of them for the train to be successful.
Group Practice: This activity is called flocking. The whole class will get into a clump, whoever is at the “point” of the clump will start some sort of movement, and everyone behind them will copy it. Then, the person will “pass” it to someone else by turning in another direction in the clump. Now, someone else will be at the head of the clump in that direction. They have to smoothly take the lead and begin their movement that everyone will be copying. The movement should be slow and fluid so everyone can follow. Continue this until many students have had the chance to be the leader.
Transition: Did anyone have trouble focusing there? Now let’s do an exercise that requires even MORE focus!
Group Practice: Students will get into groups of three. Two people will be twins and one will be an interviewer. If there are uneven groups, a set of triplets will be fine. The interviewer will be interviewing the twins on some sort of amazing thing they’ve done. The twins must say the exact same thing at the exact same time. This will require them focusing on each other intently. It sounds hard, but it’s possible! Have them practice doing it in groups and go around to watch and coach. Then have 5 different groups perform for the class.
Discussion/Check for Understanding: Is focusing hard or easy for you? Why? How can focusing on your partner affect your scene? What does it add?
Guided Practice: Every student will choose a partner. Partner A will imagine that some sort of big object is in front of them. They will be completely focused on it, touching it, feeling it. They need to be extremely detailed. Is it smooth? Are there grooves in it? Is there an abnormality in it? Is it dusty? Does it have sharp edges? While partner A is feeling their object, Partner B will be trying to have a conversation with Partner A. Partner B needs to be completely focused on Partner A. Partner A, can listen, but should interject with statements about their object to Partner B. Their scene will continue that way. Then, they will switch roles. Walk around and comment and help if needed, then we will do them in front of the class.
Discussion/Check for Understanding: Did Partner B have any trouble communicating with Partner A? Did Partner A have trouble focusing? Why or why not? Partner A, how did it feel to be so focused on an object? Do you think you could be that focused on a scene partner? Did this activity frustrate anyone? Why or why not?
Assessment: To assess the class’s ability to focus on their partner, we will do a mirroring scene. Each student will choose a partner. They will stand face to face and mirror each other while creating a scene. They will take turns being the one who leads the mirroring, but without telling us. They will have to be focusing on each other in order to do this, while speaking. Remind them to accept and add, as we learned last class. Don’t kill the scene!
* Students may receive scores of 4 or 2 as needed.
MIRRORING SCENE ASSESSMENT RUBRIC
· Remained clearly focused on partner and really listened.
· Did not let us know when he/she took charge of the mirroring.
· Accepted and added in the scene, didn’t kill it.
· Tried to remain open.
· Trusted impulses and didn’t try to think ahead.
· Did not break eye contact.
· Was mostly focused on partner, but possibly lost focus one or two times.
· Accepted and added most of the time.
· Didn’t entirely kill the scene.
· Possibly was openly pausing to think of what to say, didn’t trust impulses.
· Broke eye contact maybe once.
· Did not focus on partner.
· Broke eye contact frequently.
· Did not accept or add, killed the scene.
· Was not open at all.
· Did not trust impulses. Stopped the scene to think.
· Broke character.
Was this difficult for anyone? Why or why not? What’s something new that you learned that can be used in your acting? Why is focusing on your partner so important? What are some techniques you used to focus?