Honest & Thoughtful vs. Overacting


Students will identify aspects of performance that affect an actor’s “Over acting” or ability to act and react honestly through displaying both possible performance styles in the performance of small actions and reactions.


Materials Needed



Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Step 1: Warm up – Gather the students in a common area and have them form a large circle. Within this circle instruct students that we are creating an “Energy Ball”. Have students begin by forming the circle, and rubbing their hands together, gathering energy. On the count of three have students spread their hands to create a pantomimed ball of energy involving the entire group. Within this circle, guide students to compact the ball as a group. Instruct students to be aware of the entire group, focused on the ball, and to work to make it as small as they can within the group. As the ball becomes too small for the group to compact as a whole, instruct students to take a piece of the ball for themselves with some other members of the group, have them continue in this manner until everyone is in a partnership of two. Once they have reached their partnership, have students release the ball of energy on the count of three.



Step 2: Partner Focus — Action reaction (Pass the ball? Slow Motion and Reaction)


Step 3: Discussion—Engage students in a discussion about the warm up and focus activities.
· What was accomplished through this activity? (Concentration of Attention)
· What could we use from this activity in performance?
· Why is it important to focus on our partners?


Step 4: Instruction/ Model
· Why is focus important to performance?


Step 5: Instruction/Model- Overacting vs. Honest & Thoughtful
· Overacting?
o Often insincere
o What is a situation in which overacting works best?
o What is a situation in which overacting does not work?
Ask for 6 volunteers. Instruct volunteers that they are whatever the class instructs them to be. Ask the class to give three ways in which Overacting can be used well. Assign those three ways to three students
o Slapstick
o Children’s Shows
o In Mockery
Have the audience give the other three people three ways in which overacting does not work as well.
o Tragedy
o Drama
Have students attempt to improvise an attempt to overact in each context. Allow students to respond with what they notice, or their reactions to those attempts.
· Honest/Thoughtful?
o What is a situation in which honesty & Thought works best?
o What is a situation in which Honesty & Thought does not work as well?


Step 6: Workshop activity- Have students sit opposite a partner, knee to knee. Have partners designate one of them as partner A and the other as partner B. Begin by assigning partner A to ACT and the other, partner B, to REACT. (“Dear ______, etc.) Ask students to have partner A pick up one of the situation slips. They are to say the line, and then, partner B will respond by saying the second portion of the sentence in the form of a question.
· Partner A: “Dear ______, you’ve been named prom queen!”
· Partner B: “I’ve been named prom queen?”
· First have students to “Over Act” their reactions
· Then have students try to react with “Thought and honesty”


Step 7: Discussion-
In order to approach acting “Thoughtfully & Honestly” What were some things you thought you needed to do?
o Focus: on emotion, words and partner
o Does the content necessarily need to be serious to be honest?
In recognizing Overacting” what did you notice?
· What is the actor focused on?
· What kind of content does it fit?



Step 8: Practical Application- Allow students the duration of the class period to apply this focus to their characters that they are preparing for the “One Act Festival” (or any other performance you want to do). Check and sign off each student for participation points during the course of the class period to affirm their active work to apply concepts during the allotted time.