Students will demonstrate their understanding of pantomime by performing simple actions.
Two copies of the improvisation duo scenes (attached), cut and ready to be handed out.
As students enter the classroom, stand by the door. Randomly hand students an improv scene (there should be eight pieces of paper total, equaling four random partnerships). After role has been taken, ask everyone to come to the stage with a half-sheet of paper and a writing implement—and for these eight students to find their partners and discuss who will be who in the improved scenes. Have them perform their scenes and after each performance have the class guess what the scene was about, down to the smallest detail. Who was on stage? What was going on? What is the relationship between the two? What was the conflict?
Step One—DISCUSSION: ask students if the performances were fun or engaging to watch? Why? Simple action CAN be engaging to watch. This is helped as action is clear and precise—it is important for action to be understandable to the audience.
Step Two—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have students leave their paper on the ground and circle up. Have them rub their hands together. Slowly as they continue to move their hands, a sphere forms between their palms. Some kind of ball. It can be very small, it can grow and become very large. It can be small as a marble or a pearl—it can be as large and heavy as an exercise ball or a watermelon. What size is it? Feel its weight. Feel its heaviness or its lightness. Try throwing it up into the air—be sure to catch it again! What is its color, its texture? Can you balance it in one hand? On one finger? What does it smell like? Give it a good lick—Does a basketball taste different from an orange? Now, using all of your strength, you will throw your ball as high as you can into the air, watch it go up and then fall back down—as it hits the ground it immediately becomes liquid and soaks into the floor.
Step Three—DISCUSSION: Having students reflect on the exercise just performed, teach them the basic qualities of pantomime. There are three! 1. Consistency—keeping objects the same size, in the same place, etc. 2. Exaggerated Resistance—define and make movements sharp and crisp, make every movement bigger than life. 3. Exaggerated Facial Expression and Gestures—keeping expressions and gestures specific, but bigger than life! Discuss each one in detail.
Step Four—DIRECTIONS: Get your papers and pencils. Sit in a circle. Think of an object, larger than a marble, but smaller than a microwave. Write it down on your paper. Pass your paper to the left. Using the object you on this new paper, write a simple, complete task or action based on the object. For example—if the object you receive is “balloon” a task can be “you begin to blow up the balloon. It gets bigger and bigger. Suddenly, it pops!”. Pass this paper to the left once more. You will have two minutes to create a short pantomime based on your object and action.
Step Five—INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: Give students two minutes to work.
Step Six—PERFORMANCE/DISCUSSION: Have students perform their pantomimes in front of the classroom. At the close of each pantomime, students will discuss what they saw—what was the object? What was the action? How did you know?
Participation is the assessment in this lesson.
1. You are waiting in line at a grocery store carrying a heavy basket and a screaming baby. The person in front of you is writing a check very slowly and having a lovely little chat with the cashier. You grow impatient and ask the person ahead of you to hurry along. The person sees the state you’re in, apologizes, and retrieves a $20.00 bill from her wallet to give to you.
2. You are children playing in the sand box. One of you is finishing the final touches on a very delicate and magnificent sand castle. You call your friend over to see it, but in his excitement he she trips and falls onto your castle. You are distraught. Suddenly it begins to pour rain. You both run under the nearest tree and collapse, laughing.
3. You are at a Doctor’s office. She comes in and greets you. She asks you to sit on the examination bed. She checks your temperature, your heart-rate, and your reflexes. She informs you that she’ll need to draw some blood and goes to get a needle. You are deathly afraid of needles and try to warn her. She assures you you’ll be fine as she prepares the needle. You take deep breaths, but as she puts the needle into your elbow, you faint.
4. You are playing a video game with your brother. He is winning. He puts it on pause and says he needs to go to get a drink of water and he’ll be right back. He leaves and you un-pause his controller and begin to play for him, making him lose. He walks in with the water to see what you’re doing. He is furious. He drops the water and chases you off stage.