EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate an ability to create vibrant worlds onstage through mapping out imagined spaces for songs based on questions in Elinor Fuchs’ “EF’s Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play.”
MATERIALS NEEDED: Printer paper, crayons, Song lyric copies, “Selected Questions to Ask a Play” worksheet.
HOOK: Have participants move through the space. Call out different environments and climates for the participants to physically explore (lava, sand, sea, home interiors, grassy plains, warmth, cold, etc.). Gradually transition to more abstract concepts of time, mood, and tone (reversed time, leisurely-paced time, cyclical time, joy, existential peace, sorrow, delicate, course, etc.)
Step 1: Guided Meditation: Imagine you are in outer space. See around you. There are many planets in the distance. Let your gaze fall upon one that is appealing to you. Begin to move towards it in your mind. What does it look like? Move closer. Begin to notice more details. What colors are on your planet? Break the atmosphere and land. What does the ground feel like under your feet? Gaze about you. What textures are present? Feel them. Begin to walk about your planet? What is the climate like? What is the seasonal feel of the world? Is it wintery? Summery? What mood is present? What do you hear on your planet? Every planet will have characteristic sounds.
Step 2: Discussion- “What you did see?” Have a few people share what they saw/experienced, “How can this kind of thinking help you create theatre?”
Step 3: Group text analysis- Have the students get into groups of three. Have song lyrics spread out and let the groups pick out which song they want to analyze. Also hand out the “Some Questions to Ask a Play” worksheet. At least one group member should fill out the questions sheet to turn in.
Step 4: Group world mapping- When the students are almost through the questions, give them the instructions for drawing out their worlds. Imagine the song lumped up into a ball. Draw out your song as if it were a small planet. Use your answers on your sheet to guide what you will draw.
Step 5: World Map presentations: Have each group present their picture, and explain their choices.
CLOSURE: How could you use some of the techniques we used today as directors? For next time, we will be applying some of these techniques to your script for the play you are directing for class. Bring your script with you.
ASSESSMENT: Completion of the question sheet, pictures.