Pantomime Scenes


Students will demonstrate their understanding of pantomime stories by creating a pantomime storyline for two performers.


Materials Needed:

Copies of Pantomime Rubric, Pantomime improv


Hook (15-20 min):

Have a couple of students come to the front of the class to perform a short pantomime improvisations (see attached scenarios). After they have read through the scenarios have them improvise reminding them that they are not to use any sound or vocals. After the performance ask the class what did you observe? What was happening in the scene? What do you think the characters wanted? What did they communicate through their body language?


Activity 1 (15-20 min) Transition  

Talk with the class about how a simple activity or situation can be engaging to watch. Reinforce the idea with the students that sometimes action comes about because of how a person is. Encourage the students to always create interesting, engaging, and unusual characters that have a need to fulfill in their performance work.



Introduce the basics of creating a good pantomime storyline: – KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) – make sure it is easy to understand and not cluttered with excess movement and gestures; audiences need all the clues they can get to understand what you’re doing – Tell a complete story – have a beginning (initial situation), middle (complications, obstacles, or problems that get in the way), and an end (some kind of solution to the problem) – Be fantastic – both in the “good performance” aspect and the “not reality” aspect; pantomimes do not have to follow regular rules and should be larger than life at all times.


Activity 2 (10-15 min) Modeling

Either by yourself or together as a class, create a rough outline of a story that follows the storyline basics just taught. Some examples could include “Dinner at Aunt Bertha’s” (a reviled relative with nasty food), “The Bionic Ant” (man versus insect for a piece of popcorn that was dropped on the sidewalk), “Window Washer vs. Bird” (a flock of birds deposit their goods on a clean skyscraper window), “Wild West Shootout” (a cowboy gets into a fight in a saloon and takes it outside), “The Pop Machine” (an eager teenager wants a can of pop so bad that he’s willing to climb inside the vending machine), “The Best Bubble Ever” (a chewing gum incident gone so big that the chewer is trapped inside the bubble and can’t escape).


Activity 3 (35-40 min): Group Work

Divide students up into pairs previously assigned. Assign each pair to create – and write down – a pantomime story that involves two people.

– Title – make it interesting and yet give a clue into the pantomime character or story – Duo – meaning two people must perform it and have equal opportunity to be seen – Time – three to four minutes – Storyline – use the basics discussed in class – Simple – be sure each partner has the chance to demonstrate all three qualities of pantomime – Written outline: characters (one sentence description and relationship), place (setting/situation), story outline (including at least four conflicts) Guided Practice – Have students write their outline and begin to rehearse their pantomime on its feet.
Duo-Improvisation Scenarios
1. Awaiting a friend to come and play chess, you prepare the chessboard. When your friend arrives both begin to play. The game is close and your friend loses. He accuses you of cheating and there is a heated argument. He walks out angrily.

2. You enter a shoe store and sit to be waited on. You describe to the clerk the type of shoe you want. He brings three pairs. You try on two pairs and decide to take the first pair. The clerk thinks the second pair looks better and attempts to change your mind. The scene ends with you buying both pairs.

3. You are reading a very humorous book in a public library. You laugh aloud. The librarian reminds you that you must maintain silence. You are embarrassed and apologize, but return to your reading. Again you laugh aloud and the librarian rebukes you. You move to another seat and resume reading. This time when you laugh, the librarian asks you to leave. You persuade her to read from your book. She does, and breaks into loud laughter.

4. You stealthily enter the kitchen. You place a step stool near the cupboard and climb to where you can reach the cake box on the top shelf. You get it down and cut yourself a slice of freshly baked cake. Your sister enters. When she sees what you have done, she is furious since the cake was for a cooked food sale. You make a flippant remark, and she grabs the nearest implement and chases you out the door. She returns feeling discouraged and begins to eat the piece of cake you cut.