Body and Voice

LESSON 3-Body and Voice


Educational Objective: Students will create a believable character in body and voice by developing and practicing a physical trait and vocal pattern for their characters.


Supplies Needed:

  • Production photos from any show you are familiar with or find online
  • Princess Diaries 2 DVD
  • BYU’s Studio C sketch “Anne the Librarian”
  • Pictures to demonstrate physical traits of characters Lesson 3.Physical Traits Pictures


Hook: Project a picture of an interesting production photo.  Ask the students to raise their hands and tell you what they think they know about the characters just from the picture of their body positions and expressions.


NOTE: Consider showing a second photo from the same show and asking similar questions.


Step 1: Explain that you will be reviewing traits of physicality and voice today.  Have them make a list of these traits as you go and tell them to keep in mind the question “What kind of physicality or vocal traits will help establish my character in my scene?”


Ask the students to describe or explain how each trait or element is used to portray character.  As you cover each one, project a visual example of each one.

Physical Traits/ Elements of Character  these pictures are in the  Supplements

  • Energy (picture of Tigger and Eeyore-even just sitting, they have different energy levels)
  • Facial Expressions (Star Trek Capt Kirk vs. Spock, “How do their faces accurately portray their personalities?”)
  • Posture (picture of the army cook by Norman Rockwell)
  • Gestures (picture of town gossip by Norman Rockwell)


Step 2: Now that you have reviewed physical elements of performance, explain that they need to look for the changes that Chris Pine makes in his posture, gestures, and facial expressions in order to portray different types of people in this clip from Princess Diaries 2


Show the clip called “Nicholas Cooks” on the Deleted Scenes section of the DVD.


Step 3: Ask the students to tell you what changes they saw him make for the various people he portrayed.  Discuss.


Step 4: Now that we have reviewed the physical elements, we are going to review the vocal elements as well.  Since this is a review for most of them ask the students to describe or explain what each term means and how it might be used to portray character. 

Vocal Traits/ Elements of Character

  • Rate: How fast or slow one speaks
  • Pitch: How high or low ones voice is
  • Tone: The emotion in the voice
  • Diction: Articulation in the words one speaks


Step 5:  Introduce the next clip by saying that this time, they need to decided which character in the clip is the most interesting to watch visually and what that character does with his/her voice that makes them unique too.  (In essence we are laying physical and vocal on top of one character to make them more unique.)


Show the first clip of “Anne the Librarian” from BYU’s show Studio C.


Step 6: Ask them, which character was more interesting to watch?  What did she do to her voice to make it stand out from the other characters? To her body?  Discuss


Step 7: Ask them if anyone would be willing to try to mimic her in both body and voice?  Have a couple students come up and mold each other into Anne’s physical positions and try her voice.


Step 8: In order to establish a unique voice, we need to practice various ways of speaking.  Have a student choose a line from their favorite movie.  Make sure it is appropriate and write it on the board so all can see.  Have the whole class say it several times: normally, then with a higher pitch, lower, faster rate, a specific emotion, etc. Perhaps have them try saying the line as Anne would.


Step 9: Have them use their scripts and work together with their scene partners to brainstorm ways they could create their characters physically and vocally in order to create a unique, but believable character.  Tell them to decide on at least two changes each. 


Step 10: Brainstorm ideas for about 5-7 minutes. Then go around the room and have them tell the class what two traits they want to try to use for their characters in the scene.  NOTE: This is mainly to hold them accountable for their work.  We want to make sure that they actually have added some things and that the reason is legitimate and can be supported by the background of the character.   


Step 11: Give them the rest of the class period to work on memorization, (make sure they know their off-book date) and/or work on their scenes with their partners while also practicing their physical and vocal qualities.