Students will practice listening, relationships, and building character by rehearsing their monologue with a partner without movement or props – merely focusing on listening.
Facets of Understanding:
• Interpretation • Perspective • Empathy
• Theatre teaches how to collaborate and communicate • The importance of making strong decisions
• How do character relationships affect performance? • How can understanding others alter our own perspectives?
Hook: (15 minutes)
Instruct students to find a partner. Once they are all in partners ask for them to decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B and ask for partner A to raise their hands and then partner B to raise their hands to check for understanding. Instruct that partner B in a few moments will be asked to close their eyes. Partner A is going to lead partner B around the room by touching index fingers. Explain that you have to really listen to one another in order to follow. There must be no talking, and the only way partner A can guide B is through the connection of their index fingers. As they lead each other around instruct them to find new ways to move, ask them how they can use levels, etc. Once partner A has lead partner B around have them switch.
Step 1 – Discussion: (10 minutes)
Ask the students what their experience was with this activity? How did you listen to one another? Did you have to trust one another, why? Did this trust ever fail? Why is listening and trust important in theatre?
Step 2 – Discussion: (10 minutes)
Tell students in acting it is important to listen to our scene partners. But wait, how do we listen to a “partner” in a monologue? Do we have a partner in monologues? What does that mean – listening to our scene partners? We listen to their lines, don’t we? Why is that important? Explain to students that merely hearing the lines as que lines isn’t true acting. You become a parrot rather than a human being on stage. Ask students what that means to them – reciting vs. listening and reacting. Tell students we’re going to do a few more games and exercises to practice listening 30
Step 3 – Instruction/Practice: (15 minutes)
Instruct students to sit in two large circles on the floor (if you have a smaller class size, one circle will be fine). Tell them that you are going to state a phrase in a moment and it will be their responsibility to repeat the phrase exactly as I stated it, passing the phrase around the circle. Tell them to listen for specific inflections and tempos and try to exactly mimic the phrase “the lips the teeth the tip of the tongue, articulation can be fun”. After they have gone around the circle tell them we are going to do it again and they are going to use the same phrase again but trying to mimic the person who said it before them. Tell them they will have to really listen for any variations because their goal is to mimic the person before them exactly. Remind students that the goal is not to make fun of or over-exaggerate what the previous student did, but to copy exactly what the previous student did. After the phrase has gone around tell them that we are going to do it again and this time they need to mimic gestures as well as the exact speech.
Step 4 – Discussion: (5 minutes)
Ask the students what was their experience? How did they have to listen differently? How could this experience apply to their scenes?
Step 5 – Practice: (15 minutes)
Instruct the students to get into partners and sit across from one another and go through their monologues really listening to one another and applying the principles we discussed today. Tell their partners to say “what?” every time they feel the person delivering their monologue isn’t being honest or “listening”. Give them 10 minutes to work and then bring the class back together in a circle. Ask students to go around the circle and say one sentence that describes a discovery they made while listening, or one sentence describing something they want to try next time they rehearse the scene.
Final Assessment for Lesson 5: (informal during step 5)
During the discussion in step 5, there will be an informal assessment of student’s discoveries while truly listening to their scene partner. Before students leave, remind them to be memorized by the 6th lesson day (whichever day this lands on, let them know, i.e. Monday, Tuesday)