Characterization II: Animals and Inanimate Objects


Students will demonstrate their understanding of the nature of children’s theatre non-human characters by creating non-human characters and by talking about an experience in character.


Materials Needed

“Toy Story”
Slips of paper with animal names on them
The Top Hat


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Have a TV set up when the students enter the classroom. Play a clip of “Toy Story”.



Step Two: Talk with them why “Toy Story” makes a great story (reference Lesson 2). Discuss children’s theatre use of animals and inanimate objects. How in children’s theatre and media, animals and things obtain human personalities and qualities while still maintaining their common attributes. Have the students give examples of when they have seen this in stories or movies.


Step Three: Ask the students to stand up and tell them to imagine they are in a toy store. Have them pick something in that toy store to become. Encourage them to use their voice and physicality to aid in the transformation. Have five or more students, “go shopping” and talk with the objects, and “buy” them (have one shopper buy at least three, etc. until everyone has been “bought”). Then have the shopper describe and introduce the “object: to the class. Have the “object” talk about him/herself. Do this several times with different locations such as: Grocery store, Antique shop, Abercrombie and Fitch, Barnes and Noble, etc.


Step Four: Have the students sit in their seats. Discuss what they did to convey “what” they were playing. Talk about the emotions that the characters may have. For example: is a toaster naturally happy, or mean? What “larger than life” emotions did their characters have?


Step Five: Split them up into two teams, and explain that they are now going to work on their animal characters by playing charades. They are allowed to make noise, and talk in this one, but it can’t be in English. Have many slips of paper with different types of animals on them, and have them draw from the magic hat.


Step Six: Have them pick their favorite character they played that day, or previously, or come up with one on their own. Have them get into character and announce that they will be taking a campus stroll. Ask them to observe carefully what they see on their walk. Take them on a walk throughout campus, through lots of different places, so the characters will have a chance for many different reactions depending on their likes and dislikes. Return to class.



Step Seven: Have each student stand up and describe what they saw on the campus stroll, while remaining in character. Take an informal assessment. Remind them of their homework.