Color on Stage

Lesson 2: Color on Stage

 

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of the effects color on stage has on an audience by comparing/analyzing color examples from film and stage. 

 

Lesson Length: 60 minutes

 

Class: Intermediate Technical Theatre

 

Materials Needed/Room set up:

-Still from the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd (the iconic picture of Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney).  One in black and white and one in color.

-Video clip of “Priest” from Sweeney Todd

-Color slides

-Color meaning slides  Lesson 2.How Do You Mean Worksheet     Lesson 2.Color Theory Meanings

-Stills from various plays/movies highlighting colors: -Picture of Petit Trianon from Marie Antoinette (white and soft colors), Willy Wonka cover, Kenneth Branaugh’s As You Like It (fight scene) etc. 

-Video clip from Kenneth Branaugh’s As You Like It (fight scene) and Tony performance of Next to Normal

**NOTE: all the above are probably best organized on a Power Point or Prezis**

-Assorted costume pieces and props in blue, red, orange and purple

-Brown bags to put said costume pieces/props in

-Mr. Elgin scene (one copy for each brown bag color group)\

-Whiteboard or chalkboard

-Dry erase markers or chalk

 

The Plan:

(Hook)

Black and White vs. Color Activity:  Have the black and white still shot up on a projector/tv from Sweeney Todd. Ask the students: What’s the feeling of this picture? What do you think the message is of the picture/show? How do you know?

 

Now show the same picture in color. Ask:

-What’s the feeling of this picture?

-What do you think the message is of the picture/show?

-How do you know? What changed between the first and second pictures (color obviously).

How does the presence of those colors affect what you think of the picture/show? What feeling do you get because of the color?

 

Color is a huge component of communication on film and on stage. Certain colors mean certain things or convey certain messages.

 

(Instruction)

Sweeney Todd Group Color Picks

Looking at this color still get into small groups (of 3 or 4 students) and pick out the major or most prominent colors from the still.  After the groups have picked out those colors tell them to discuss why they chose those color and what they think each color means or how it adds to the overall ambience or meaning of the picture. After they have had some time to discuss, bring the whole class together and have the groups share their findings. As students list the colors write (or have a student write) the colors and ideas of meanings on the board. Tell the students to keep those ideas/findings in mind.

 

Sweeney Todd Clip Color Application: Watch the clip of Priest (the video related to the still). After the video, ask:

-How were your findings about the colors in the still similar to or connect to the actual emotion of the clip?      

 

Game: How do you mean? The Color Edition. Hand out the How do you mean? Ballot. Tell the students you will be showing a color on the projector and they will have 15 seconds to look at the color and write what they think the visual meaning of the color is. After you’ve gone through all the color slides, start with the “meaning” slides. First have students share what they think the color means and then show them the technical color theory meanings. Then go through the “practice pictures” where students will look at the pictures and you will point out a certain color and ask the students what they think the color means in that context and how it affects the feel of the picture.

 

As You Like It Clip: Now we’ve seen still pictures, let’s look at a clip. Tell the students that they will watch a clip from Kenneth Branaugh’s As You Like It, keeping these questions in mind (you can write these on the board):

What colors do you see (what are the main colors)?

-What do these main colors communicate?

-What’s the feeling of the clip and how does color support that?

After the clip, discuss the answers to these questions as a class.

 

Brown Bag Color Scene: Let the students know that now they can see the effects of color on different plays/movies they are now going to experience the effects of different colors on the same scene.

 

Split the class into four production teams. Give each group a copy of the script and a brown bag of specific colored props.

** Prop/Costume Ideas:

 

-hat

-yellow raincoat

-orange construction vest

-orange (food)

-scarf

-telephone

-watch

-tablecloth

 

 

Instructions for Game:

-Use at least one of the props/costumes in the bag.

-Production team needs to decide how much of the color is present

** (this does not need to be stellar acting, reading is just fine). Give the students time to prepare their scene and decide on the amount of color.

            Performance:

Have students perform their scenes. After each scene ask:

What does the specific color in the scene communicate?

-How does it affect the emotion/meaning of the scene?

-How much of the color is present?

-What would be different about the message/meaning of the scene if there was either more or less of that specific color present?

 

After all teams have presented ask:

-How were the 4 scenes different and similar?

 

(Final Assessment)

Next to Normal Clip Analysis: Same as the As You Like It exercise.

Now ask the students to get out a piece of paper and writing utensil.

Watch the clip of the 2009 Tony performance of Next to Normal twice.

Have the following questions on the board (they’re the same that were used in the As You Like It exercise)

 – What colors do you see (what are the main colors)?

-What do these main colors communicate?

-What’s the feeling of the clip and how does color support that?

**Focus on first two questions during first viewing. Last question the second time.

Give the students time to write the answers to the questions after the last viewing of the clip and tell them to turn it in after they are done.