Students will be able to demonstrate their abilities to create cohesive stories, characters, settings in a collaborative group by creating their own long-form specifics to the plot points of a story in a group.
• White board and markers • Story plot points • Groups of 5-6 students created and ready for your class (Each group should have a strong improv student and a weak one as well as varying mid-level improv students to balance out the group. I made sure to create groups where people who didn’t work well together were not placed together. Create groups that will hopefully support each other!)
Have the students divide themselves into groups of six and play “Pop-Up Story Book”, making sure to use the idea of the storyteller as a director/facilitator that works with the actors.
Ask the students how they utilized the idea of the storyteller as the director/facilitator. If they were to create a story together, can someone take on this role while still allowing everyone to play a major part in the collaboration process?
Step 1 (Review): Ask the students what they remember about the “How to be a Theatre Director” video and what was touched upon as the most important elements of directing. They were as follows: • Create an environment in which people feel like they can do their best work and to take chances • Process must be the most enjoyable part of the voyage • We have time to rehearse Let the students know that the creation of an environment where the process is enjoyable and allows everyone to do their best work is crucial to a long-form improvisational production. They must keep this in mind as they will be creating a group production using long-form improv.
Step 2 (Instruction): On the white board, write out the plot points (found in supplements). Inform the students that these plot points are the basic script for their long-form performances. They will have to create, in the groups that you will give to them, a production using this outline, but still creating their own group’s plot points. Their stories must be 7-8 minutes in length. They will have to create and cast characters as well. These things should be written on a sheet of paper, which will be turned in by the group on the day it performs. Each group should have a scribe to make sure this is done. Obviously, this is not to be an exact script–it should simply allow everyone to be on the same page in each group so that the production runs smoothly while still being mostly improvised. Advise the students that they will be responsible to make sure that every member in the group is heard and able to do his or her best work. In order to make sure each person is held responsible for the piece, there will be peer evaluation forms assigned. Each member of the group will be receiving the same grade for their performance, but the peer evaluations could give extra or subtract points from those individuals who either are exceptionally rated or didn’t help the group at all. Each student must have an equal role to play–no one student can be the obvious “lead”. Read off the groups as you have created them and ask the groups to find their own areas of the room in order to start their work.
Step 3 (Group Practice): Inform the students that each group should elect a scribe for the group, should discuss their ideas for the stories, and decide on a title for their piece. It would probably be best if the group went through each plot point as it is written on the board and figure out how to make each plot point happen. This will also mean that the characters will be created, which they should list at the top of the paper under the title. As the groups work, go around the room and “drop in” to each group’s conversation, helping as they need it. Help to guide them to create something that allows each person to work and to share ideas.
Step 4 (Instruction/Group Practice): If the students are able to create their stories before the end of the period (which is most unlikely), have them start to walk through their plots so that everyone is on the same page. This is where rehearsal in an improvisational setting is applied!
Ask for each group’s sheets of paper before they leave for both a participation grade and for safekeeping. If the characters are created and cast, a title is made, and the plot is following the basic plot points you wrote on the board, each member of that group will receive 10 participation points (provided that you didn’t note any students who were not participating during the period).