Stage Pictures

LESSON 5: Stage Pictures


Educational Objective: Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of how to create effective stage pictures, by developing a distinct picture for the beginning, middle, and end of their scenes.


Supplies Needed:

  • Performance space


Hook: Have 4-5 students come to the center of the room with you.  Explain to the rest of the class that they will need to identify the story fairy tale that these three pictures are telling. Put them in the three tableaus.

1-Cinderella on the floor scrubbing. With step-mom pointing down at her and two step-sisters turning their backs or putting on make-up being hoity-toity.

2-Cinderella in her gown being asked to dance by the prince (perhaps he’s kissing her hand), with the fairy god-mother in the background waiving her wand!

3-The Prince putting the lost slipper on Cinderella as the step-sisters gasp and the step-mom covers her face in shame or shakes her fist in anger.


Step 1: After you have staged all three tableaus, ask the class: What fairy tale did you see?  Can you identify the beginning, the middle, and the end?

If they get stuck on one you may need to have the group go back to that particular position to help refresh their memory. 


They should have gone more in depth with stage pictures in their earlier classes, so here, review the following elements of stage pictures:

  • pulling focus
  • power and authority in levels
  • body positions
  • proximity


Remind them that effective stage pictures reveal the relationships of the characters, the story, and may also give us a clue as to who is winning their objective at that moment.


Step 2: Explain that for their scenes they will need to make sure they have created at least three pictures that help tell the story to us.  They should show us the beginning, the middle, and the end.  Give them examples from one of their scenes or a movie.  Pick out the beginning, the middle and the end of it to help them understand how they could break their scenes into 3 parts too.  Give them about 7 minutes first to see if they can focus their rehearsal on it.  Check their progress and then, if they need more time, extend it to a full10 minutes.


Step 3: After their 10 minutes, have them review what the stage pictures communicate story, relationship, emotion, character, focus.  Ask the class to gather to watch the pictures of the other groups.  Allow each group to show all three pictures and encourage the other class members to tell the group what they are seeing.  This will help the group assess if their pictures are giving the effect they wanted.  Coach them, if needed, so that they can fix anything in the picture that is misleading.


Step 4: Discuss their experience as a whole.  What elements did they see well done?


Step 5:  Tell them to finish class by rehearsing and memorizing while using their picture positions.  They should mark in their scripts when they will reach or create each picture.  They can do whatever they need to in order to move from one picture to the other, but we need to maintain a clear beginning, middle, and end.


Step 5: The rest of time needs to be working on memorizing and rehearsals. J