Hook: Play the animal voice game. Students stand in a circle with one person in the middle. That person sticks out their hand and points it at someone. They spin around and when they stop they go to someone and say make a “gorilla noise.” The person needs to disguise their voice by saying the gorilla sound. After saying the sound, the person in the middle has to guess who it is. If they guess right, they trade places with that person. If they are wrong they have to spin around and play again.
Step 1: Discussion: What did you guys notice about voice in this game?
You had to disguise your voice so that they wouldn’t guess who you are
Some people it is easy to tell who they are because of the way they sound
Voice is a huge part of what defines us as people and actors. How we use our voices tells us a lot about who we are.
-Who was a person that you got right off the bat because of the way they sounded?
– In theatre if you can learn how to manipulate your voice to sound different in different ways, then you will be able to play many different characters in shows. You also will be able to tell a lot about a person’s story by understanding the way they use their voice.
Step 2: Go back to Drama Foundations and Review: Rate, pitch, tone, volume, diction and what they mean. Have students go in their journals and write what their character talks like based on rate, pitch, tone, volume, and diction. Have them turn to someone by them and say as their character: “I eat fruit with my cold cereal.”
Step 3: Did any of you go home and research how your character sounds? What was a specific character trait in the way they sounded that you want to add to your own vocal work? How are you going to apply this?
There is so much creativity in voice. You can change the entire meaning of things when you use voice. Play the single word game. Students sit in their circles. I will give them a word. They are to go around the circle saying that word or phrase in the way their character would say it.
Ask. What did you do to make your version different than all the others?
Changed the pitch, the rate at which I said it, the volume at which I said it, the way I emphasized it.
Tell students that there are specific ways that each of them used these words. They used techniques that you use everyday but there are names to them.
Step 4: Talk about how people can change their voice but sometimes it requires physicality.
We are now going to watch a video clip. I want you to observe how he uses the vocal tools but also his physicality and movement to be these characters. Apply these to you.
Did you see him physically change his voice? What did he do with his body?
So how does physicality play into voice?
The way we are built physically affects how our voice sounds, it makes us talk lower or higher or through our lip, etc.
How are you going to do this with your own characters?
You can’t just be students and expect to be able to pull these characters off too. You need to try these voices ALONG with the physicality. Convince me that you are actually these people. Take on their physicality.
Step 5: Pull up a PowerPoint of a few pictures of some of the students historical characters. I have some pictures of people’s historical characters up here. I want you guys to create how this person might sound to you. The PowerPoint changes based on the different characters that students might choose in this unit.
Show the pictures one at a time. Have the class turn to a group and create the voice for the character shown on the screen. This is just to give everyone a chance in a less threatening environment before sharing with the class. Everyone gets to try creating a voice for those characters.
Have them then look up at the picture on the slide and say the line “I eat fruit with my cold cereal” while everyone is looking at the slide.
Assessment: Create a voice for your historical character and do the following scene (contentless scenes) for a group of students. Have students vote on who should do it for the whole class. Or I will just draw names out of a hat and they will come up to read the script together.
Review guidelines for the character lunch. Students need to bring a snack or treat for at least 8 people in the class for participation points
Wear or bring your costume to class, I will give you time to change.
Check for allergies in the class so no one brings dangerous food
You will be expected to stay in character for the entire 30 minutes.