What is a character and who am I?

Lesson: 1

What is a character and who am I?


Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of how creating a character relates to knowing themselves by completing a reflection paper.



Hook: When students enter the classroom pull everyone into a circle and ask for someone to raise their hand and share one of their favorite characters from a movie. Ask them why that is their favorite character? Then ask if they were to see that character on the street would they be able to recognize them? Why? If asked could you describe how they moved? Do they have any quirks you could recognize? What is their personality like? How old are they? What do they like and dislike? Where are they from? Etc. Allow for a couple of students to share different characters that they know and discuss how they recognize the character and what they know about them.


Step 1: Transition/Discussion: Ask students to review with you for a moment the different topics we have discussed and learned so far in Drama 1. Ask students based on what we have done today what they think we are going to be studying now? Why do you think it is important to know how to become someone else in theater? How do you think we learn to become someone else? Do we completely get rid of ourselves? What do we have to change? Discuss with students the importance of using elements of yourself in character development, and the importance of creating real characters.


Step 2: Practice: Instruct students that they are each to write down two different famous characters from a movie. Explain that the character has to come from a movie under an R rating and needs to be someone that most everyone will know. Once they have written two characters on small pieces of paper explain that they are to come and put the paper in the hat you are holding. Once you have everyone’s papers explain that in a moment you will be walking around and they are to select one of the pieces of paper from the hat, if they don’t know the character instruct that they are to calmly come up and trade it for another one in the hat.


After they all receive their characters explain that they will all need to take a moment to think through that characters personality, do they have any catch phrases? How do they move? How old are they? What do they like/dislike? Etc. Then we will all begin moving around the room and they need to interact in their character with everyone else. Explain that this activity is kind of like Charades but all at once because they are responsible for trying to guess the characters that they are talking to.


Once someone has guessed their character then they are to quietly come and sit back in their seat and watch the rest of the characters and see if they can guess them.


Step 3: Discussion: Pull everyone back to a circle and ask the students about their experience? What characters were easy to portray and easy to guess and why? Which were more difficult? Were their other traits they could have utilized to make the more difficult characters more recognizable? Did you notice anything about how your movements or voice changed? Did you thoughts change at all? How did you become this character?


Explain to the students that although it is great to learn how to mimic someone, the trick to good theater is being able to make a character your own. Ask the students how they think this is done?


Step 4: Performance: Play the game again but this time tell students that they will each be performing their character for the class, like Charades. But the key is that we are not going to try and initially guess the character. Help lead the students to discuss observations that they are seeing. How is their peer moving differently? What are they doing with their body? Do they look old or young? Are they an animal or a human? How can you tell?


After they make observations have the students begin to try and guess the characters. First they will perform without sound and if they students cannot guess the character then allow them to add noises. If they still can’t figure it out allow them to quote the character while still moving as that character.


Step 5: Practice: Tell everyone to partner themselves with someone they have never worked with before. Explain that each partner need to take three to five minutes to describe themselves to their partner. How old are they? Where are they from? Favorite childhood memory? Have you ever been injured? Who is your family? What is your favorite subject in school? Explain that the partner listening should be asking questions to help discover more about your partner.


Step 6: Assessment: Ask students if they made any new discoveries about themselves from these conversations? Ask students why is it important to know yourself before trying to perform as someone else? Explain that they have the next 10ish minutes to write out a one page report describing themselves and who they are and how these individual traits will relate to creating a character. These papers need to be turned in by the end of class.


If students finish early play party quirks with them in order to create more distinguished characters.