Students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept of a high stakes moment before by creating and utilizing a moment before in their performance.
**this lesson was originally created for placement in a monologue unit, but could be used for any performance piece that can utilize a “moment before”**
Performance piece for the students, video examples (URL’s listed in lesson plan)
Hook: Moment before improv game
Pair students up. Have one student think of an action that they would stop doing if someone were to suddenly walk into the room (dancing crazily, singing into a hairbrush, brushing teeth, ect.) and have them begin to act that out. Have the other student “walk in” and begin a dialogue based upon the action.
Pick a couple of groups to perform these short dialogues with the class.
Step 1: Discuss reactions
Based upon the brief performances, discuss the differing reactions to the situations the students “walked in” on.
Ask students who participated to share why they reacted the way they did, what actions clued them in to the context of the action, etc.
Discuss how these reactions could have been different had there been more clear context to the situation.
Step 2: Introduce moment before
Write “moment before” on the board and have students share ideas of what that might be, what it entails, etc.
Use their ideas plus own input to explain what a moment before is and how it is used.
Specifically make sure to include:
What a moment before is: a way to transition into the performance piece, use for a way to connect with a partner, define what the actor was doing, thinking, and feeling right before the scene started.
How it is used: used to draw actor and audience into the monologue, helps to define relationships and background within the context of the monologue.
Step 3: Video Clip examples
Show the following examples and discuss what may have been the moment before, or what caused the scene to take off.
Step 4: Introduce the concept of a high stakes moment before
Write on the board some ideas of what high stakes means.
Have students reflect on the video clips and discuss what the high stakes were, and how they affected the way that the scene played out.
Step 5: Analyze the performance pieces to create a moment before
Present an example of how to look at the text to decipher what could be used as a moment before. (something that you have on hand – could be put on a PowerPoint or handout for the students to read and analyze alongside you)
Have students look at their own monologues that they chose and analyze the context of the monologue.
Have them create a moment before using their own ideas, a line before the piece starts, etc. (If time allows have them perform for a partner and have the partner give feedback)
Step 6: Practice using the moment before
Again have students pair up or even put them into groups and have them physically act out the moment before, to help flesh out their ideas and solidify the concept.
Bring the class back together to discuss the results, what they saw, if it worked, what could be improved on, suggestions, etc.
Also specifically make sure to discuss how creating a moment before helps the students personally in their own acting? Why is it necessary?
Step 7: Discuss using a moment before without physically moving
Discuss and help the students understand how they can work with or envision the partner they are talking to, and envision what had just happened before they start their piece.
(This can lead into another lesson on working with an “invisible other” for a monologue)
Students will be assessed by their participation throughout the class period, and receive participation points based upon the work that they do during the class.