Lesson #4 – Children’s Theatre Discussion/Improv Work
Students will demonstrate their creativity by exploring specific techniques of children’s theatre.
Strips of paper with physical nouns written on each i.e. sofa, water, windmill, cart, beanstalk, chair, oven, flying shoe etc.
If you haven’t already begun scheduling the elementary school performances, you’ll want to follow the advice in the following handout to do so immediately to set up performances: Scheduling Performances Advice
Ask the question: What is the difference between a play and a children’s theatre performance? What aspects are the same? Have the class split into two and have one group discuss the differences and the other group discuss the similarities. Share highlights with the opposite group.
Continue the discussion moving into how the process drama experienced yesterday has helped students understand the story.
Explain to the class that they are responsible for their own story. Each class member must direct/block the story they have already chosen. Each student will be graded for his/her directing work, but all stories may not be chosen to be part of the actual production due to time restraints or other elements.
The most important and unique element of our Children’s Theatre productions is that we DO NOT USE PROPS OR SETS. Everything the story needs must be created with actors bodies. (Give examples from other shows: Little Red Hen’s oven; Jack climbing the beanstalk; Princess and the Pea’s “rolling” bed; Winken, Blinken and Nod’s flying shoe, etc. – these are personal examples; each teacher teaching this unit will have different ones.) Also explain that “the costume” for these performances will be white tops (tee shirts with no art, polo, button, etc) and jean bottoms (jeans, shorts, skirts, overalls etc.)
Have a volunteer come to the stage. Have him choose one slip of paper out of the container (see materials needed) Have the student pantomime being or using the item by himself. Then a second volunteer named “the director” will come down, using a different student from the audience as a “prop” to become what the first volunteer pantomimed and direct the action.
Discuss how the using of bodies enhances the enjoyment of the story, how children’s minds are delighted to see the unexpected. Encourage class to open his/her minds to come up with unique and unexpected ways of using other actors in each story. Remind students that their typed working-copies of their story are due next class period.
Student can be assessed by participating in predetermined activities, but true assessment will come as they create their own CT piece.