Students will demonstrate an understanding of how physicality portrays emotion and character by creating emotions and characters for their scenes.
List of stereotypical characters, cut and put in a jar (attached) Adverbs, cut and put in a jar (attached) Enough half or quarter sheets of paper and writing implements (these can be shared) for all students. Students’ storyline outlines they turned in yesterday.
Have students find a partner and then to take that partner and find a place on the floor. Decide who is person A and person B. Ask them to be perfectly silent and follow the instructions you give one at a time while the other watches. For example, “Person A, stand with your weight on one leg. Cross your arms in front of your chest. Look down and over your left shoulder. Eyes narrow and lids drop. Outer brow turns downward. Mouth turns down. Facial muscles sag. Hold that position. Breathe. Person B, what do you see? What is the emotion being portrayed? How can you tell? What are your clues? Good. Person A, relax. Person B, your turn…” etc. This exercise will show students how movement portrays emotion even without assigning meaning to it.
Step One—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have a jar of stereotypical characters on little sheets of paper. Pass the jar around and have everyone take a character. Tell them to put the sheet of the paper in their pockets. Group A take a seat and Group B fill the space. They are to begin walking around the space as their character without interacting with any other characters. Ask the questions—“how does your character move? Fast? Slow? How is his or her posture? Do they walk with confidence? In fear? Do they carry anything special with them? Now, without words, interact with other characters on stage. How do you approach others? How do others respond to you? How do you get to know someone else? What do you think of the characters you are interacting with?” Have group A guess what characters were being portrayed. Have them defend their answers. Switch groups and repeat.
Step Two—GROUP PRACTICE: Character Relay Race! Have students form four even lines on stage right facing stage left. Tell the students that they are going to have a relay race to stage let and back, running AS their characters. If they aren’t running as their character would run, they get called out and sent back at which point they need to start over and try again. This should be a fun, funny, and energetic activity. Feel free to laugh very hard and allow others to do the same.
Step Three—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have students sit in a circle with their half-sheets of paper and pencils. At the top of the piece of paper have each student write down an action (like unpacking groceries, chopping wood, making a sandwich, brushing teeth, etc.) When everyone is done, have them pass their paper to the right. At this point, pass around the jar of adverbs and ask each student to take one. With the new paper, write the adverb below it (ie: chopping wood tenderly, making a sandwich angrily, etc.) Have them pass that paper to the right once more. Students are to take this paper and to create a short 15-30 second pantomime.
Step Four—PARTNER PRACTICE: Students will choose a partner. Partners will present their pantomime to one another.
Step Six—PERFORMANCE: Students who desire can perform their pantomime and class will discuss their performance in the same way they did with their partners.
Step Seven—DIRECTIONS: Ask students to get with their partners. Hand students back their storyline outlines. Ask them to describe their character in-detail and character’s emotions in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Have students turn in their storyline outlines now with detailed character and emotion descriptions. Ditzy Blonde Football Player Elderly Person Rock Star Super Hero 50’s Housewife Caveman Bum Ghost Important Business Man Hippie Body Builder Gangster Aerobics Instructor Country Hick Ballerina Toddler Brave Knight Pregnant Woman Fairy Godmother Track Star Computer Geek Proper Lady Broadway Performer Hipster School Principal Cowboy Kindly Sadly Happily Gratefully Angrily Lethargically Fiercely Intensely Dully With Boredom Excitedly Hurriedly Fearfully Mischievously Faithfully Solemnly Impatiently Achingly Hysterically Devotedly Curiously Cautiously Religiously Judgmentally Coldly Patiently Resentfully Tenderly Competitively Longingly