Pantomime Exploration

Lesson Objective:

Students will demonstrate and understanding of non-verbal communication elements by exploring character, environment, and emotion in a space-walk.


Materials Needed:

board, markers


Hook (20-25 min):

We are going to do a little warm-up pantomime game to get us thinking about what we have learned about pantomime and physical communication.
Ask for 4 volunteers. One eye-witness and three detectives. Detectives are sent out of the room. The class chooses three things about a murder (VICTIM’S OCCUPATION, LOCATION OF THE MURDER, AND THE WEAPON) that has taken place (the one that the eye witness saw). Eye-witness must pantomime these things to the first detective. when he thinks he gets it, he has to say BING and do a hand motion above their head (like a lightbulb has gone off) (no guesses out loud, no asking for hints, the eye-witness just has to keep trying different ways until the detective thinks they get it). Once he has said BING to all three things, HE has to act it out for the next detective. Same rules apply. It’s like the telephone game mixed with pantomime. After all three detectives have been told what happened, the last one tells the class what they think happened in an official sounding police report. An example could be: batman, in a donut shop, killed by poison.
So there is no talking at all, except for the BING that the detective said for each clue. Go ahead and write down Occupation, Location, and Weapon on the board to remind the participants the different categories they are pantomiming/guessing.
Have the volunteers choose people to replace them so that a fair amount of students get to participate.
– What did you learn doing that activity that can help you as we work on pantomime today? What helped you to understand what they were trying to communicate?


Activity 1 (40-45 min):

We now need to push chairs and tables aside. With your partner choose who will be #1 and who will be #2. #2 partners need to sit on the floor along the walls of the room. You are going to be observing what you see your partner discovering and others as well. #1 partners, you are not meant to be performing for your partner but it will be helpful for them to be able to see what you are exploring. As we have discussed in other lessons this is a silent activity.
#1 partners start walking around the room as you normally would, notice how fast or slow you are walking, pay attention to breath, where you naturally lead, etc. Now I want you to start thinking about your character in the pantomime story you have created. Now change how you walk based on this character. You may not have a clear idea of your character yet but use this time to really explore what that character could be like. Do they walk fast or slow? Big steps or small? Walk in straight lines or curves? Do they lead with their head, chest, hips, or feet? If you don’t like what you are trying, try something else. Really see how detailed you can get.
Now I want you to continue walking as your character as if you were walking from a class to another class, now if you were walking outside in the cold. How does your character change their movement when the environment changes. Now think about the location/environment your scene is set in, how does your character move in that environment? Really explore this environment, what things do you see in it? What is the temperature like? Light? How does you character discover the space around him.
Continue walking in the environment as your character but now I want you to try a possible emotion your character would be feeling in the scene you are portraying. How does you character show that through movement? How does it change from one emotion to another? Now try another potential emotion, how can you portray that without any sound? Do you speed up your movement, slow down? Do you change how you lead? Does your posture change?
Now get together with your partner and discuss what your experience was like. What did you like that you did? What didn’t you like? What do you think you want to keep and what do you want to leave? What did your partner like in observing? What worked well? What didn’t?
Now do the same activity with partner #2 and allow for discussion.


Activity 2/ Conclusion (20-25 min):

You are now going to have the opportunity to work with your partner in solidifying your scene. Really pay attention to those discoveries that you made and incorporate them into your pantomime. Make sure that you are paying attention to the different objects you will be using as well because we are going to work on those next time.