Character Duets

Educational Objective:

Students will explore how their character approaches others by performing a task-based scene between their characters.


Facet of Understanding

# 2 -Interpretation, # 3 Application, #5 Empathy



Enduring Understanding 1:

We must use our own bodies to take on the physical attributes of a character.


Enduring Understanding 2:

Characters’ motivations and desires affect how they approach people.


Essential Question 1:

Why do characters need to interact with others on stage?


Essential Question 2:

How does good theatre depend on characters’ interaction onstage?







Household Tasks: As students walk in, assign each student a random household task to perform by pantomime. The idea is that as the later people arrive, they see the earlier arrivals doing something, then they’ll be intrigued to come see what they’re supposed to do. Once everyone is there, walk around and correct students. Informally assess them and help them see how to be more detailed and consistent with their movement and actions. Praise individuals for what they’re doing well. Notice the different ways different students approach the same task.
Examples: mowing the lawn, doing dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, writing a letter, moving furniture, carrying a stack of small boxes, carrying multiple heavy boxes, unpacking fine china, putting stamps on envelopes, decorating for a party etc.
Step 1 – When desired have them move into doing the task as their character.
Step 2 – Character Mirrors: Partner A takes on their character. Partner B copies. Switch-with a catch. Partner B leads, still portraying Partner A’s character. Freeze. Partner B continues to lead, but leads as their own character. Partner A copies. Switch like before: Partner A leads portraying Partner B’s character.
Step 3 – Discuss: Did having someone else lead as your character give you any ideas on how you could make your own character better or different? Did taking on someone else’s character help you understand their choices better? Did it influence the way you approach your character?
Step 4 –Character Showdown: 2 people face each other. Have the rest of the class line up behind them. On the count of 3, each character takes on a powerful pose that is representative of their character. They have one shot to trump the other character. Go through it once, so everyone gets a chance. Go through it another time and have an elimination round. Continue the showdown until there is one final character.
Teacher is the ref and decides who has the most powerful representation of their character.
If there are odd numbers that is perfect because they shouldn’t have to face the same character twice. If it’s even, then jumble the lines up before the elimination round starts. Encourage students to make different poses. (They should do this naturally because they are facing different characters and reacting differently each time.)
Step 5 – Character Duets. (Approx. 45 min/Half of the class.)
Have students find a partner they haven’t worked with before. Assign a household task to each partnership. Tell them to create a pantomimed scene in which they are working on this task together in character. They may talk as their characters. Emphasize that their characters need to work Together to be accomplishing the task. Repeat: Both characters need to be working on the task. (They may try to dodge out of the task by saying, “my character wouldn’t really do that.” Don’t let them.)
Tell them to create a scene where each character wants something from the other, and make sure it has a beginning, middle (climax) and end (resolution). Give them time to work on it.
Step 6 – Perform: Perform for the whole group their task as characters. Give each partnership oral feedback. Work their scenes if necessary to help them understand the concepts of reaction and interaction and maintaining consistent character.
Step 7 – Discuss: How were the characters able to accomplish the task together? Did the students make distinct physical choices to represent their character? Did their interactions with this foreign character make sense and stayed true to their character?



Final Assessment for Lesson 8:

40 points. Participation, involvement and good attitude – 10,
Distinct character choices- 10,
True to character in interactions with other- 10,
Accomplish task as character would-10




Bring Character Food and Costume for Picnic next class!