Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of character movement by applying class activities in order to create a walk for their historical characters.
Standard TH:Cr3.1.I. b. Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.
Materials Needed: A ream of paper for name tags, markers, yarn, hole punch
Hook: Have a piece of paper with hole punches on the corners set on each student’s desk as they walk in. Have them grab a piece of yarn and a marker to make a nametag for their character. Explain that these nametags are going to be very important as we work today so that everyone knows who you are.
Step 1: Who can imitate how someone walks in this room? Does anyone think that they can do it? How about how I walk? – if someone can do it let them and discuss how they did this. What made them look exactly like these people? If they can’t that’s okay, we are going to learn how.
Explain that we are going to practice portraying our historical character’s walks today. We will continue to develop more movement on top of your characters with hand gestures, etc., but it is important to get “the walk” down first. Why do you think so? What is so important about a walk?
Step 2: So how do we start? Does anyone have an idea of where you could begin a portrayal of someone’s walk? I want to make it clear that we are not necessarily imitating these characters word for word and walk for walk. This is a portrayal of your own. You are you portraying this character. How do you think they are supposed to move?
Watching and observing
Watching their gestures
Knowing them and how they react to different things.
Think about age and how that affects posture
Think about height and how that affects posture.
Step 3: An important place to start is with your friends. We talked a little bit about the surface and the background of getting to know these characters you’re portraying. By a description, one word, and a sentence. Think about how you get to know your best friends to a certain point.
Do any of you get to know them so well that you can imitate the way that they walk? How? Can anyone think of specific examples?
Demonstrate how different people in your life who are close to you walk… Allow them to show as well.
We are going to observe each other as friends in this class today and how we all walk before we get into how your character might walk.
Step 4: The first thing to observe is their center of gravity. How do they hold themselves? Then we observe what they lead with when they walk? Watch me, what body part initiates first when I walk?
I usually initiate from my knees, you could initiate from your hips, shoulders, etc.
Everyone find a partner, we are going to go to the auditorium and observe this about each other. Figure out what you initiate when you walk. What is your center of gravity?
What is their posture? Age? Mood when they walk?
Step 5: Now add in gesture. What kind of way does your partner move their hands and their head when they walk? I want you to follow your partner around the room and see if you can imitate their walk exactly.
Have someone show the class. First have their partner go, then have them show after that.
Ask. Tell me how this went for you? What did you do to learn the walk of your partner’s? Was it easy or hard? Why? Did you exaggerate some of the things they do?
Explain that sometimes we tend to over-exaggerate something that a person does to get a point across. How do you apply this to your characters? What are you going to do to create a walk for your character?
Think about posture, what they exaggerate, gesture, where their center of gravity might be
Why is this important for your character?
Think about height. Explain that my cousin is super tall about 6’ and he slumps his shoulders because he doesn’t want to be sooo tall. I have an older sister who is shorter than me and she has very good posture to appear taller.
Step 6: I want you to treat your characters like your best friends and get to know them so well that you can give them a walk. You have done your research on them, so you should know a lot more about them. How can your research help this experience? What are you going to use from your research to help you?
some of you may not know exactly how your person moves. Go from your research is there a physical attribute about them that might cause them to move in a certain way? How tall are they?
Some of you are smaller than your characters, how are you going to overcome this to look bigger or taller? Tell me? Show me?
Step 7: Have the whole class explore walking around as their character. Then have a few students go up in a group of 6-10, have them explore walking around as their character. Tell them to play with gesture, center of gravity.
Ask them how their age affects them, how about posture. ASK class if they can pick out any characters based on the walks they are giving them.
What are they observing? How will they apply it to them?
Have the whole class get up and try it now. Tell them to come up with something pretty good because we will be doing a runway of their walks and showing it off to the class in a minute.
Maybe pull out a few who are doing really well and have them show the class. Let the class observe.
Assessment: Take students back to class. Turn on some runway music and have them in pairs walk down the runway as their characters. I want them to experiment with time and use duration to make it all the way to the end of the runway and then turn around and walk back. I will be taking notes on what I see and how well you have embodied this character and give them a 1-10 based on their ability to portray them.
Ask students to observe their character. Can they see the character in them? How are they doing this?
Make sure you write up on the board things to think about, gesture, center of gravity, personality, etc.
Written Assessment: Have students pull out their journals and begin it as, “I went on a walk today…” They need to write observations of what they discovered about their character based off today and how their research helped them.
Debrief: Ask. What have you learned about your characters today?
What can you glean from today’s experience and apply to acting in theatre?
How does this apply to characters you might play in an actual show?
Keep exploring these and learning about them when you can. I want to keep asking you what you are discovering.