Viewpoints topography, gestures, architecture

Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the final viewpoints through activities and will write a response on what they have learned through these workshops.
(pick their scene today or by this date)


Materials needed:

• Library of scripts for the students to choose from, Large open space, Chairs, tables and blocks, The Viewpoints Book by Anne Bogart(source of activities and exercises)



Play the game of numbers that works with spatial relationships. Divide the class in half and then split the half that’s up into 2 groups. Instruct the students that for the activity there must always be a contrast between the two number groups. For example have them go in groups of 4 and 7, 1 and 10, 5 and 5. Switch the amounts throughout the activity. Then have that group sit down and the other group come up and do the same thing.


Step 1:

Discussion: How did the spatial relationships change throughout the process? How did your group inform how you felt? How did the rule of having contrast between the groups affect your movement patterns? Remind the students that movement pattern is topography. It is the pathways that we take in traveling. Maybe they are circular. Maybe they are straight. Maybe they are angled.


Step 2:

Activity: Have the students practice topography. First have the student’s walk just in straight lines. Then have the students walk in just curved/circular pathways. Then have the students walk in different angles. As they do these throw out big, medium and small sizes to practice with as well. Then have the student’s freeze where they are at.


Step 3:

Transition to architecture: As we move around the space we are also affected by the environment around us. Have the students set up blocks, chairs and desks in a particular way. Add props and items for the students to explore with and play with. Have the students explore the different architectures around them. Have them explore with light, mass, color, objects, others, distant architecture. These architectures inform how you move. For example if they are working with color maybe they choose red as their color and they move from one spot of red to another. Or their movement can be inspired by the clothes others are wearing. Another example is with distant architecture. Have them react to architecture away from their self.


Step 4:

Introduction: Introduce the last and final viewpoint which is gesture. Reflect back on last class and how they used shape to create a story and an image. A gesture is taking it one step further. There are 2 kinds of gestures. There is expressive gesture and then behavioral gesture. Begin with expressive gesture. Expressive gesture is a shape in motion that has something behind the movement and has a beginning, middle, and end. Have the students start with working with an emotion. Have the students create a gesture based on an emotion for example the emotion of happiness. Then have the students do another like fear. Have the students do a few other emotions. Now have them create a gesture based off an idea not an emotion. Examples are freedom, chaos, and justice.


Step 5:

Now have the students focus on behavioral gestures. Have them first focus on body and health. Give them suggestions of do they have a limp, reactions to weather etc. Then have them practice time period. Give them examples of time period. Then have them practice idiosyncrasies such as curling the lip, a twitch, scratching.


Step 6:

Application Assessment: Now bring the students into the center of the room. Have each of them find a piece of architecture that inspires them to move and to interact with. Remind the students that they must be appropriate in all of their choices. If they do something inappropriate they will no longer be able to participate and will not get points for today’s activities. Ask for a volunteer to run to his/her selected set and perform a repeated action with it. Ask another person to run and join in. Remind the students to be spontaneous and imaginative. Don’t view it as how you would typically use it. What is a new way? Make sure each person in the group has to do it once whether it is starting the action or joining the action.


Step 7:

Written Assessment: What are 3 things you have learned during these workshops? How will what you have learned help you as an actor in your scene?

*Give the students the rest of the time to find a scene to perform. If they have already picked their scene then they can begin reading through their scene and memorizing their lines. They are not allowed to begin blocking they are only allowed to work on their lines.