Movement Intro

Lesson 1:  Movement Intro


Lesson Objective:

Students will demonstrate their ability to interact with imaginary people, places, and things by rehearsing and performing a one-minute pantomime.



TH:Pr5.1.I.a. Practice various acting techniques to expand skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.


Materials Needed:

Enough classroom space for students to rehearse and perform.


Hook: Magic Box (Viola Spolin) (20 minutes)

Have students sit in a circle. Explain that in the middle of the circle there is a magic box. Demonstrate how this activity will work by opening the box, paying special attention to the dimensions and details of the box, and pulling something out. Take some time to play with this object and invite students to guess what you pulled out of the box. One-by-one, each student will take a turn pulling an object out of the box. Make sure students give each performer enough time to pantomime for at least 20 seconds before they guess. For new-to-theatre students, you may need to preface this with something like, “Remember to make these movements and actions BIG or your audience may not be able to read them. Don’t be afraid to put your whole body into this so we can understand and so it’s more fun for everyone.”


What was difficult about this activity?  Was it always easy to tell what people were doing?

When it was easy, what were the performers doing to make their actions clear?

Why is it important to be able to express yourself without words?
Which of the six characteristics of a good performer can pantomime or movement help us improve? (Enthusiasm, Knowledge, Preparation, Projection, Articulation, Confidence)


Step 1: (5 minutes)


There are three things I want to focus on as we talk about movement for the next couple weeks:

-Interacting with imaginary people, places or things.  What does that mean?

-Becoming an object with your body. 

-Portraying emotions or ideas with your body

First, we are going to do a little more practice interacting with imaginary people, places, and things.


Step 2: (20 minutes)

Group Practice:

In groups of three, you are going to rehearse a silent scene. The bare bones of the scenario are that you and your scene partners are going into a house to get one or more objects and then leaving. That means you need to make a lot of decisions about what kind of house this is, whose house this is, why you are going in, how you go in, what you are getting out of the house, where you go in the house to get the objects, what the objects are in, under or on, how you leave, your relationship with your scene partners, and how you feel about the whole situation. That may sound like a lot but if we are thinking about these details, we can establish relationships, story, setting, and props without even saying a word or having anything onstage but our bodies. The final scene you will perform will be no more than one minute but you need to take the next 15 minutes to create the scenario and rehearse it at least three times before you perform.


Step 3: (35 minutes)


Remind students what we have learned about audience etiquette. Have them gather on one side of the room as the groups perform on the other. At the end of each scene, before the group tells us their scenario, have audience members guess the details of the scenario. Ask questions such as:

-How did you know that?

-What did they do with their bodies to tell that story?

– (If students didn’t understand or guess correctly) What could they have done differently to make the movements clearer?

After all the performances, have the students critique, reminding them what a good critique entails (Saying what went well, giving specific details about what they liked and what was clear, giving feedback in the form of questions or giving general feedback for what everyone could have done better).



Why is it important for us to be able to interact with imaginary people, places and things?