Lesson Objective: Students will begin to build a visual vocabulary by participating in an introductory Viewpoints workshop focused on tempo, repetition and gesture.
Step 1: Behavioral vs. Expressive Gesture
Have students find their own space on the stage. Have them think of something they did this morning. Ex. brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, shutting the alarm off, brushing your hair, putting a shirt on, washing your face etc.
Ask them to begin to silently act out the action so it becomes a fairly short action with a beginning, middle and end.
What they’re doing right now is called a behavioral gesture, something they’d do in real life.
Have the students stand still again. Tell them this time they will do another type of gesture, only this does not need to be directly related to an activity they do in their day-to-day lives. Have them think of an emotion. Tell them to then physicalize that emotion, without doing a gesture that mirrors and activity in life (i.e. making a crying face and wiping their eyes, if sad is their emotion) encourage them to abstract the emotion into movement.
Ask: How is it different creating a behavioral gesture and an expressive gesture? How could both be used in a visual theatre piece?
Step 2: Tempo and Repetition with gesture
Tell the students that we’re first going to play with tempo and repetition.
Ask: What is tempo? What is repetition?
Tell them to begin exploring a gesture. It can either be the behavioral or expressive gestures they just came up with in the previous activity or they can use a new one. Once they’ve figured out the gesture, tell them to keep repeating it over and over and that you will help them find different tempos with the gesture.
Tell them that the tempo they’re at right now is called medium.
Speed up just a bit—fast
Speed up a bit more than that it’s super fast.
Go back to medium
A little slower than that is slow
A little slower than that is super slow
Step 3: Tempo and Repetition practice
Have the students rest for a moment. Tell the students they will begin repeating their gesture again and you’ll call out different tempi (based on the tempi they discovered in the previous activity) and they’ll go that speed.
Have them stop and reflect:
What was your experience at different tempi?
How do the different tempi affect the gesture?
How did repeating the gesture affect the gesture and affect you?
How do you think these two things might contribute to a visual theatre piece?
Step 4: Closure
Have the students answer the last question in their groups. Then tell the students they will continue to explore creating Visual Theatre and gain more tools to build their visual theatre piece.