Lesson 8: Performance—Again!

Note: The class will likely need two days of performance. If on the second day, the performances run out early, and there is extra time, the activities in Step Four are recommended. 

Length: 70 min.

Objective:Students will demonstrate an ability to perform objective-driven and vocally-refined characters through a live puppet show.

Levels of Understanding:

Perspective, Empathy, Explain

National Standards:

TH:Re9.1.7a. Explain preferences, using supporting evidence and criteria to evaluate drama/theatre work.

Materials Needed:

stage of drama blocks

Puppet Performance Rubric


Have a stage built out of drama blocks set up at the front of the class. Announce that today there will be performances. The class will be giving feedback.

Step One:

Lead the students in the traditional spinal alignment and tension release exercise.

 Step Two:

Give the students six minutes to freshen up.

Step Three:

Each group will slate and perform, the teacher grading the actors as a collective group. Major discrepancies between actors’’ performance quality will be taken into consideration, adjustments to grades being made.

After each group performs, the rest of the class will share two positive critiques and one suggestion for improvement. Each student needs to give feedback at least once to receive participation points for the day. The teacher will comment on the performance after the class.

Step Four:

If there is extra time, it is recommended that an episode of the original Muppet Show is viewed as a class. Inform the students that about seven men voiced all of the Muppets—including the talented Frank Oz, who is known not only for Miss. Piggy but Yoda. This is a chance for the students to see character voice applied professionally. Each episode lasts about 35 min.

It is recommended an episode featuring a stage celebrity, such as Julie Andrews, Sandy Duncan, Ethel Merman, Ben Vereen, or Joel Grey be shown. This will increase students’ awareness of theatre history.

As you view the episode, you may ask the class what they think the characters’ objectives are, to consider the differences between the human and puppet voices and how each uses the vocal characteristics discussed. Are there any characters with poor diction or poor projection? Is this a mistake or a conscious choice on the part of the actors? Why? Are there times when breaking the rules is encouraged?

Puppet karaoke to well-known songs or more of the dating game are also excellent alternatives to fill time without deviating from the unit objective.