Students will demonstrate their ability to incorporate exaggerated body movements by participating in group exercises and writing out final performance specifics.
Hook: (5 minutes)
Have students take three minutes to run around the room and get their body warm. Tell students you will count down the last twenty seconds and then they should be standing in a circle at the front of the classroom quietly.
Instruction: (10 minutes)
Tell students that today we are going to be playing some games. These games are variations of games from the fabulous Viola Spolin who is really great at helping us get into the bodies and minds of our characters.
The first game we are going to do is called Who Am I?. We are going to send one person out of the room and then decide who they are. When they come back in, we are not going to pantomime so that they can guess who they are; we are going to be other people in their environment that they might normally interact with. Rule #1: Interact with them as if they know who they are, don’t show them what they should be doing. Rule #2: Pick general characters like doctor, zombie, or dinosaur. Don’t make it a specific celebrity or other person. Rule #3: Don’t stop the activity until I say stop and ask you who you are.
Practice: (20 minutes)
Ask for volunteers of who would like to leave the room. Facilitate picking a good character after they have left. Call the person back in from the hallway. Students should immediately start interacting with them. Watch the first one without interacting in the scenario.
Facilitate a small discussion after each round, especially if there is needed clarification on the rules. Remind students to use their bodies!!! We need to be able to guess what you’re doing so use exaggerated movements to make your point.
Repeat the activity three or four times.
Discussion: (10 minutes)
How interesting was the activity? How quickly were each of the people who went out able to guess? Do you think that has anything to do with the amount we as other people in the environment used our bodies? (Specifically get opinions from people who left the room). Did any of the exaggerated movements feel natural to you? Why? Did anyone else’s exaggerated movements look natural to you? Why?
Instruction: (5 minutes)
Tell the students that now we are going to do a Spolin activity that focuses on controlling your reactions. I am going to start describing a scenario. You will be listening to the scenario as you walk around the room. React to the description. But again, you are not pantomiming what I say, you are experiencing it. This will be very important when you hear the rest of what will happen. After I start describing a scenario, there will be a distinct mood shift in what I am saying. However, you CANNOT RESPOND to the mood shift. As with rehearsed acting, we know a few lines before it happens that a revelation is coming for our character, but you can’t show us that you know it’s coming! So, when I start talking about the mood shift, you need to continue to act as if the original scenario is still happening. Then, I will clap my hands and you will immediately switch to the changed situation/mood.
Remember. NO PANTOMIMING. If you start pantomiming, what are you going to do when I start describing the new mood shift? You can’t pantomime that because I haven’t clapped my hands yet. Make sense?
Practice: (20 minutes)
Ideas for scenarios: You are sitting in a park, sun is shining, everything is nice. Great feelings. You sit down on a bench, everything’s great. Then you realize you sat on gum. You try and scrape it off with a newspaper but then you smear ink on your pants. It starts raining. CLAP.
Repeat the activity two or three times.
Discussion: (15 minutes)
What in your final performances requires an emotional mood shift? Your Bunraku head flip!! But you can’t lead into the change in emotional state before the head flip. We need to see a distinct before and after in facial expression, the way you are holding your body, and your voice.