The Moment Before
by Kassidy Jones
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.
- Specifically make sure to include:
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.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dmvnocwBpM Tangled: Start at 0:17 and play it through the end. (If time will permit, could actually go back after discussion and watch the real moment before)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnmSzD6x4tc Hunger Games: Start at 0:29 and play through until 1:26. (could also go back and watch the real moment before)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNAc6zG1ve4 Extremely Loud and Incredible Close: Start at 1:50 and play through 3:10.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8XtncQy2i8 Cyberbully: start at 3:29 to 4:30 (could also go back and watch the real moment before)
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.