Viewpoints of Time—Tempo, Duration, Kinesthetic Response and Repetition
Students will demonstrate their understanding of how the viewpoints of time can purposefully convey meaning by creating group scenes that retell a fairy tale using tempo, duration, kinesthetic response, and repetition.
TH:Pr5.1.I.a. Practice various acting techniques to expand skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.
TH:Cr3.1.I.a. Practice and revise a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using theatrical staging conventions.
Tell them we will return to talking about the clip after the next activity.
Step 1: Invite students to form pairs. Partner A holds her hand palm forward, fingers upright, about 6-7 inches away from the face of Partner B, who is then hypnotized and must keep his face constantly the same distance from the hand of Partner A. Encourage Partner A to move her hand: up and down, right and left, backwards and forwards, vertical to the ground, then horizontally, then diagonally. The hand must never do movements too rapid to be followed, nor come to a complete halt. After a few minutes, the two partners switch roles, the follower and the leader (“Columbian hypnosis” from Games for Actors and Non-actors by Boal).
Bring the class back together for a discussion:
How did that feel? Which role did you prefer and why?
How did the hands manipulate your movement?
Did you experience a sense of “hypnosis” when your body was instinctively reacting, without having to consciously think about it?
How did the video clip relate to the game?
Being so focused on a cellphone or your partner’s hand makes you lose awareness of other things, makes you react instinctively
That sense of “hypnosis” is called “focus.” With “soft focus,” you hold an unfocused consciousness or awareness of the whole room and group. The opposite, “hard focus,” is an intense concentration on only your most immediate surroundings or task, like your cellphone or friend you’re talking to. Because you’re so focused on one specific thing, you may not have the same awareness as you do with “soft focus.”
“Soft focus” is useful in theatre work because you can react instinctively because you’re not focusing “hard” on any one specific thing.
Why else would “soft focus” be helpful to you as an actor?
Step 3: Write the following on the board as a reference for students:
The 4 Viewpoints of Time
These four items are called the Viewpoints of Time. Briefly define the other three (tempo, duration, and repetition) with the students.
Define “kinesthetic response” for the students: it is your body’s gut reaction to the “energy” in the room (someone or something else). Explain that the impulses they felt during Columbian Hypnosis are an example of kinesthetic response. Other examples are flinching, laughter, or jumping in surprise. When their partners’ hands pull them closer or pushed them away, the students were experiencing kinesthetic response to their partners’ “energy.”
What gives off energy in a theatre space?
Other performers, the set, lights, sound, etc.
What are the ways we experience a kinesthetic response to these types of energies?
Step 4: Let’s try another exercise to practice kinesthetic response. We’ll play a game called “Circle, Clump, Line.” Encourage the students to practice “soft focus” because they’ll be much more successful. As a whole class, students wordlessly move into either a circle, clump, or straight line. They cannot signal to each other in any way, other than just to move their bodies to the next position. No one person determines if the next shape will be a circle, clump, or line; the whole group responds and decides together.
When did you experience kinesthetic response in the game Circle, Clump, Line?
How did having a soft focus help you be successful?
How could you use kinesthetic response in theatre work?
Step 6: Now that I have taught you about kinesthetic response, it is your turn to teach each other the other three viewpoints of time: tempo, duration, and repetition.
Divide students into about 6 groups, about 6 students each. Assign partnerships to one of the three remaining viewpoints of time, so that each group has two students presenting on each of the three viewpoints of time. They will have ten minutes to study the viewpoint and prepare to teach it to the rest of the class.
Distribute copies of the jigsaw learning materials. Students may pick any of the three conversations to perform and use Anne Bogart’s definition for reference. They perform the scene twice, manipulating their viewpoint of time between the two scenes. Then they will explain their choices to the rest of the group and define the viewpoint.
Step 7: Ask if there are any questions. Circulate the room and provide help when groups of students need it.
“Listen for when I clap my hands. You’ll need to freeze and be quiet so I can give you more instruction.”
Step 8: After ten minutes, *clap hands* and give each of the student groups time to teach their viewpoint to their classmates.
Step 9: When they have finished sharing, *clap hands* and they will now work as a whole group (roughly six students) to create a short group scene (30-60 seconds) using all four viewpoints of time. They should select a fairy tale (either Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs) they would like to retell through movement. Circulate the room as they work and supervise their decisions. Help them incorporate the viewpoints of time into their scenes.
Step 10: Pair up the student groups and have them perform their fairy tale scenes for another group. Ask the students to watch the scenes looking for ways their classmates used the viewpoints of time.
Step 11: (Write these questions on the board while students are working in groups). Ask the students to return to their seats. Pass out index cards and ask them to answer the following questions in writing. Ask them to turn in the exit card before they leave class. Stand at the door to collect the exit cards.
Which viewpoint of time do you understand the best?
Which viewpoint of time do you understand the least?
How can we help you better understand viewpoints?
Students will receive 5 participation points for their participation in the jigsaw activity, for both their teaching presentation and their respectful listening to other groups. Students will also receive 5 points for turning in a completed exit card. Proficiency will be 8/10 points.
Teacher Note: Make sure to write down any students that may need participation points dropped that day. (Playing on phone after they were asked not to, distracting others from working, etc.)