Pantomime Scenes By Dana Fleming Unit Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to craft a storyline and convey physicality and emotion by performing an original duo-pantomime scene. Lesson One—Intro to Movement Objective: Students will understand the basics of communication through movement and implement them through a game of Charades. Materials Needed: High-energy aerobics music and means by which to play it. Many little strips of paper, bowls or cups to put them in, and pens for Charades. HOOK: Excitedly invite all students to the stage and get them PUMPED UP FOR AEROBICS. Have the students form dance lines and turn on the music. Lead students through an aerobic routine and stretching. INSTRUCTION: Step One—DISCUSSION: Ask students what tools they have to use as actors. Their bodies should be one of the answers given. Ask students why and how their bodies are useful in performance and in acting. What can be conveyed? Step Two—DIRECTIONS/GUIDED PRACTICE: Ask students if they have ever played Telephone Charades. This game is played in the following manner. Select five to six participants and ask them to leave the room. The audience chooses an action that is specific, silly, and obscure to act out (ie: “a nerd’s romantic first date”, “washing an elephant”, “going skydiving naked”, etc.) Once the clue has been decided, bring in all the participants and instruct them to face the right side. The moderator reveals the clue to the first person, who taps the second person on the shoulder and acts out the topic using charades rules (no talking allowed, no noises). The second person then taps the third person and acts out his or her understanding of what was acted out. This continues until it reaches the last person in line, who must guess what the action is. This is a fun game because the action mutates and changes based upon each person’s interpretation of what is going on, often leading to confusion and silly motions. Step Three—DISCUSSION: Between each round of Telephone Charades, ask the audience members what the participants did well to convey the message. Where did the message get lost? Why did it get lost? What are effective methods of communicating clear meaning through movement? Step Four—DIRECTIONS/GUIDED PRACTICE: Divide students into two teams— place the slips of paper, pens, and two bowls on the ground and allow students to write down whatever move, song, play, book, or television show they like for a game of Charades. Explain the basic rules of Charades and play the game! May the best movers win. CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: Ask students what movement can convey aside from just story? Tell them that in the coming days, these areas will be covered. Students are assessed by participation. Lesson Two—Pantomime Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of pantomime by performing simple actions. Materials Needed: Two copies of the improvisation duo scenes (attached), cut and ready to be handed out. HOOK: As students enter the classroom, stand by the door. Randomly hand students an improv scene (there should be eight pieces of paper total, equaling four random partnerships). After role has been taken, ask everyone to come to the stage with a half-sheet of paper and a writing implement—and for these eight students to find their partners and discuss who will be who in the improved scenes. Have them perform their scenes and after each performance have the class guess what the scene was about, down to the smallest detail. Who was on stage? What was going on? What is the relationship between the two? What was the conflict? INSTRUCTION: Step One—DISCUSSION: ask students if the performances were fun or engaging to watch? Why? Simple action CAN be engaging to watch. This is helped as action is clear and precise—it is important for action to be understandable to the audience. Step Two—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have students leave their paper on the ground and circle up. Have them rub their hands together. Slowly as they continue to move their hands, a sphere forms between their palms. Some kind of ball. It can be very small, it can grow and become very large. It can be small as a marble or a pearl—it can be as large and heavy as an exercise ball or a watermelon. What size is it? Feel its weight. Feel its heaviness or its lightness. Try throwing it up into the air—be sure to catch it again! What is its color, its texture? Can you balance it in one hand? On one finger? What does it smell like? Give it a good lick—Does a basketball taste different from an orange? Now, using all of your strength, you will throw your ball as high as you can into the air, watch it go up and then fall back down—as it hits the ground it immediately becomes liquid and soaks into the floor. Step Three—DISCUSSION: Having students reflect on the exercise just performed, teach them the basic qualities of pantomime. There are three! 1. Consistency— keeping objects the same size, in the same place, etc. 2. Exaggerated Resistance— define and make movements sharp and crisp, make every movement bigger than life. 3. Exaggerated Facial Expression and Gestures—keeping expressions and gestures specific, but bigger than life! Discuss each one in detail. Step Four—DIRECTIONS: Get your papers and pencils. Sit in a circle. Think of an object, larger than a marble, but smaller than a microwave. Write it down on your paper. Pass your paper to the left. Using the object you on this new paper, write a simple, complete task or action based on the object. For example—if the object you receive is “balloon” a task can be “you begin to blow up the balloon. It gets bigger and bigger. Suddenly, it pops!”. Pass this paper to the left once more. You will have two minutes to create a short pantomime based on your object and action. Step Five—INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: Give students two minutes to work. Step Six—PERFORMANCE/DISCUSSION: Have students perform their pantomimes in front of the classroom. At the close of each pantomime, students will discuss what they saw—what was the object? What was the action? How did you know? CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: Participation is the assessment in this lesson. 1. You are waiting in line at a grocery store carrying a heavy basket and a screaming baby. The person in front of you is writing a check very slowly and having a lovely little chat with the cashier. You grow impatient and ask the person ahead of you to hurry along. The person sees the state you’re in, apologizes, and retrieves a $20.00 bill from her wallet to give to you. 2. You are children playing in the sand box. One of you is finishing the final touches on a very delicate and magnificent sand castle. You call your friend over to see it, but in his excitement he she trips and falls onto your castle. You are distraught. Suddenly it begins to pour rain. You both run under the nearest tree and collapse, laughing. 3. You are at a Doctor’s office. She comes in and greets you. She asks you to sit on the examination bed. She checks your temperature, your heart-rate, and your reflexes. She informs you that she’ll need to draw some blood and goes to get a needle. You are deathly afraid of needles and try to warn her. She assures you you’ll be fine as she prepares the needle. You take deep breaths, but as she puts the needle into your elbow, you faint. 4. You are playing a video game with your brother. He is winning. He puts it on pause and says he needs to go to get a drink of water and he’ll be right back. He leaves and you un-pause his controller and begin to play for him, making him lose. He walks in with the water to see what you’re doing. He is furious. He drops the water and chases you off stage. Lesson Three—Storylines Objective: Students will demonstrate knowledge as to how to create a fun an interesting storyline by turning it an outline with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Materials Needed: One big bag filled with “props”. I basically just filled it with any fun or interesting items I could find at home—weights, a map, a stuffed animal, Russian stacking dolls, a can-opener, a bible, high-heels, a scarf, incense, a pepper grinder, etc. I make sure to bring enough for each partnership and a few extra to offer variety. White board and marker. HOOK: 30-second-story. Ask the students who knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Ask if anyone feels like they could tell the complete story in one minute. Choose a volunteer. Time her and stop her at a minute. If she couldn’t do it, ask her if she’d like to try again or let someone else try. If she was able to do it, ask her if she can tell it in 50 seconds. 40 seconds. 30 seconds. And so on. Continue until she’s gone as far as she can. Ask the class what three basic components does a story boil down to. Answer: A beginning, a middle, and an end. INSTRUCTION: Step One—DISCUSSION: Write on a the white board leaving space after each word to define, “BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END” Ask the class “What does a beginning entail? What makes a beginning different from the other two? Why is it important? What does a middle entail? How does it move along the action? What about an ending? What makes it an ending?” Continue like this until you have sufficient definitions for the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is where characters, location, relationship, etc. are established. The middle presents a conflict that needs to be solve. The end is the resolution to the conflict. Step Two—MODELING: Ask for three volunteers to stand in front of the story. They are to tell a story as a group. Person one tells the beginning or establishment of character, location, and relationships, person two tells the middle, or conflict, and person three tells the resolution. The audience will decide whether or not each person did their task correctly. Two or three groups can model this if time permits. Step Three—DISCUSSION: Back to the white board, you will introduce the two other important elements of storyline creation. 1. 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. 2. 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. Step Four—DIRECTIONS: Ask students to get into pairs and come to the stage. This partner will be their partner for the final assessment in this class. Pull out bag of props and begin to place props on the floor. Tell the students that when you let them, they are to come and choose a prop as partnership to create a pantomime story surrounding that prop. The scene can be practiced WITH the prop but must be performed WITHOUT it. It should be about one-two minutes long. The story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Remind them what those entail. Step Five—INDEPENDENT/PARTNER PRACTICE: Students are to create and practice their stories. They are to then pick another pair and to perform the scenes for one another. Step Six—PERFORMANCE: For however long time permits, pairs who want to go may volunteer to perform their scenes without the props. Class will discuss the storyline—the beginning, middle, and end evident in the scene. Step Seven—DIRECTIONS/INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: Tell students that they are now to get with their partner and create a rough draft of the story for their pantomime. Leave them at least ten minutes to create this and write it down. They need to write down the beginning, middle, and end with all information that those entail. Volunteer to help if they feel stuck. ASSESSMENT: Have students turn in their outlines. You will look them over and return them to the students with your assessment. Lesson Four—Emotion and Characters in Pantomime Objective—Students will demonstrate an understanding of how physicality portrays emotion and character by creating emotions and characters for their scenes. Materials Needed: List of stereotypical characters, cut and put in a jar (attached) Adverbs, cut and put in a jar (attached) Enough half or quarter sheets of paper and writing implements (these can be shared) for all students. Students’ storyline outlines they turned in yesterday. HOOK: Have students find a partner and then to take that partner and find a place on the floor. Decide who is person A and person B. Ask them to be perfectly silent and follow the instructions you give one at a time while the other watches. For example, “Person A, stand with your weight on one leg. Cross your arms in front of your chest. Look down and over your left shoulder. Eyes narrow and lids drop. Outer brow turns downward. Mouth turns down. Facial muscles sag. Hold that position. Breathe. Person B, what do you see? What is the emotion being portrayed? How can you tell? What are your clues? Good. Person A, relax. Person B, your turn…” etc. This exercise will show students how movement portrays emotion even without assigning meaning to it. INSTRUCTION: Step One—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have a jar of stereotypical characters on little sheets of paper. Pass the jar around and have everyone take a character. Tell them to put the sheet of the paper in their pockets. Group A take a seat and Group B fill the space. They are to begin walking around the space as their character without interacting with any other characters. Ask the questions—“how does your character move? Fast? Slow? How is his or her posture? Do they walk with confidence? In fear? Do they carry anything special with them? Now, without words, interact with other characters on stage. How do you approach others? How do others respond to you? How do you get to know someone else? What do you think of the characters you are interacting with?” Have group A guess what characters were being portrayed. Have them defend their answers. Switch groups and repeat. Step Two—GROUP PRACTICE: Character Relay Race! Have students form four even lines on stage right facing stage left. Tell the students that they are going to have a relay race to stage let and back, running AS their characters. If they aren’t running as their character would run, they get called out and sent back at which point they need to start over and try again. This should be a fun, funny, and energetic activity. Feel free to laugh very hard and allow others to do the same. Step Three—GUIDED PRACTICE: Have students sit in a circle with their half-sheets of paper and pencils. At the top of the piece of paper have each student write down an action (like unpacking groceries, chopping wood, making a sandwich, brushing teeth, etc.) When everyone is done, have them pass their paper to the right. At this point, pass around the jar of adverbs and ask each student to take one. With the new paper, write the adverb below it (ie: chopping wood tenderly, making a sandwich angrily, etc.) Have them pass that paper to the right once more. Students are to take this paper and to create a short 15-30 second pantomime. Step Four—PARTNER PRACTICE: Students will choose a partner. Partners will present their pantomime to one another. Step Six—PERFORMANCE: Students who desire can perform their pantomime and class will discuss their performance in the same way they did with their partners. Step Seven—DIRECTIONS: Ask students to get with their partners. Hand students back their storyline outlines. Ask them to describe their character in-detail and character’s emotions in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: Have students turn in their storyline outlines now with detailed character and emotion descriptions. Ditzy Blonde Football Player Elderly Person Rock Star Super Hero 50’s Housewife Caveman Bum Ghost Important Business Man Hippie Body Builder Gangster Aerobics Instructor Country Hick Ballerina Toddler Brave Knight Pregnant Woman Fairy Godmother Track Star Computer Geek Proper Lady Broadway Performer Hipster School Principal Cowboy Kindly Intensely Sadly Fearfully Happily Mischievously Gratefully Faithfully Angrily Solemnly Lethargically Impatiently Fiercely Achingly Dully With Boredom Excitedly Hurriedly Hysterically Cautiously Coldly Tenderly Devotedly Religiously Patiently Competitively Curiously Judgmentally Resentfully Longingly Lesson Five—Rehearsal of Stories Objective: Students will use the story outlines they’ve made to create full scenes by using the “How to Develop a Pantomime” handouts. Materials Needed: Students storyline outlines with character/emotion descriptions to return Enough copies of “Pantomime Preview Rubrics” for each pair of students HOOK: Ask students to walk around the stage. Who is their character in their pantomime scenes? Begin walking as your character, embodying all physicality. Imagine one prop you use in your scene. See it somewhere on the stage. Walk towards it. Circle around it. What are it’s colors? Bend down and pick it up. Feel its weight. Its shape. Its texture. Is it hard to hold? Is it nice to hold? Begin to handle it—move it back and forth between hands. Lift it up and down. Give it a close examination. Feel and see every tiny detail. Find a partner. Show him or her your prop. Demonstrate how it is used. Switch props with your partner. Use your new prop and notice it’s details, weight, texture, etc. The prop in your hand suddenly turns to a magical clay that gets smaller as you compress it. Squeeze it in to a ball and roll it between your hands as it gets smaller and smaller. It has now become a salted caramel. Enjoy it! INSTRUCTION: Step One—DIRECTIONS: Hand out “Pantomime Preview Rubric” sheets. Attention paid to smallest details in forming these scenes will make a huge difference in and bring life to your final production! Start with your framework, and fill it in with purpose, detail, and energy. Use the time. Consult the “Pantomime Preview Rubric” sheet for help. For the last fifteen minutes of class you will perform your scene to another partnership. Step Two—INDIVIDUAL PRACTICE: Give students the bulk of class time to work on their scenes. Move throughout the classroom to observe and ensure work-ethic. Offer help as requested and appropriate. Step Three—PARTNER PRACTICE: When there are fifteen minutes left, have each partnership choose another partnership they haven’t worked with yet. Each pair will perform while the other watches. As they watch one another they will note their favorite moment and one area of improvement and share accordingly. CLOSURE: Gather students together. Tomorrow they will be previewing their scenes. They are to bring their rubrics filled out to class. Their ticket out of class is signing up for the order of performance. Pantomime Preview Rubric Title _______________________________ Names(s) _______________________________ Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Preparation Scene is rehearsed and actors know the elements and location of story events Scene is only moderately rehearsed and actors do not know where to go on the stage or order in which events happened Scene had limited rehearsal and it appears actors are performing sections of the piece for the first time Unprepared. No thought to story, characters, or simple actions required by the performers Partner Work Action is well-timed with partners and each actor reacts to what his/her partner is doing Actors are missing moments of timing or awareness with their partners Actors are not responding or paying attention to partners except when in direct contact Actors refuse to acknowledge or respond to partner at all Consistency Actors maintain the required consistency throughout the piece with regards to location and size of objects. All items are picked up and set down Actors are inconsistent with handling items, but maintain the location of major items in the scene. Major items move and handles items vanish and appear frequently during the scene No thought is given to the consistency and location of items, audience struggles to understand what items are handled during the scene Resistance Actors showing varying levels of resistance when handling items throughout the scene Actors show resistance extremes, but some items have not resistance Actors show resistance on only one or two items in the scene Actors show no resistance when handling items Exaggeration Actors exaggerate actions and expressions throughout the scene to clearly communicate events to the audience Actors exaggerate some events to help the story along, but some events happen too quickly or too small to understand Actors have limited exaggeration and audience frequently does not understand events or actions Actors show no exaggeration in actions or expressions Story Story has a strong beginning, middle and end and a clear conflict Story events build on Story is a chain of one another, but events with no conflict is weak or conflict conflict does not get resolved Story does not have a clear beginning, middle or end and has not conflict Lesson 6—Previews Objective—Students will perform their pantomimes and analyze the performances of their peers by recording one moment in each pantomime that they enjoyed, and one area of assessment each pantomime can work on. Materials Needed: Pantomime Preview worksheets (attached) enough copies for each student. Extra copies of preview rubrics (from previous lesson) for students who will…inevitably forget them. The sign-up list they filled out yesterday. Timer/Stop-watch *This might take longer than one day—make adjustments accordingly. HOOK: Follow-the-leader! Have the class form two lines each with a leader. Explain that each line can use the entire space. Whoever is in front of the line can move however the want and everyone behind has to copy the leader’s movement exactly. They can run, leap, skip, twirl, crawl, summersault, whatever they want! The leader leads for about 15, 20 seconds and then when you yell “switch!” the leader runs to the back and lets someone else lead. Turn some energetic music on and let them go! INSTRUCTION: Step One—DIRECTIONS: Hand out Pantomime Preview worksheets (one to each student) and tell them they’ll need to bring those along with their rubrics and a writing implement to the stage for previews. Tell students they have 10 minutes to use as they please. Ask, “What would be an intelligent way to spend this time?” Warm up/run anything they need to run/make any last minute changes. Step Two—INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: Allow students 10 minutes, during this time, set up a performance space. After ten minutes ask everyone to come to the space with all of the necessary items. Step Three—DIRECTIONS: Ask students to list some components of acceptable audience behavior. Explain to them how to fill out the Pantomime Preview worksheets. Read off the order and ask the first group to get set up! Step Four—PERFORMANCES: Have each group go up, introduce themselves and their piece, and perform. Take notes using the rubric and be sure to time each piece. At the end of each performance, announce the time to the students. CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: Collect all Pantomime Preview worksheets. Ask the students to consider the performances of the class as a whole. What strengths did they have as a whole? What were some common weaknesses? You can offer your own insights as well. Tell students you will assess their performances and return your notes as well as select notes from their peers to them the next day. NAME: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Names: Title: What was your favorite moment?: What area does this pair need to work on?: Areas PREPARATION: Scene is well rehearsed and actors know the elements and location of story events PARTNER WORK: Action is well-timed with partners and each actor reacts to what his/her partner is doing CONSISTANCY: Consistency is maintained throughout the piece with regards to location and size of objects. All items picked up and set down. RESISTANCE: Actors show varying levels of resistance when handling items throughout scene EXAGGERATION: Actors exaggerate actions and expressions throughout the scene to clearly communicate events to the audience STORY: Story has a strong beginning, middle, and end. Lesson Seven—Revisions Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to revise and improve by turning in one area of their pantomime that they will work on this period to improve and be graded on for improvement in their final assessment. Materials Needed: Rubrics for final assessment (attached) Preview Rubrics graded with notes (see below) Teacher Preparation: Using the Pantomime Preview Worksheets you’ve collected from your students, type up lists of useful notes to give to each pair from what you’ve gathered from the remarks of their peers. Add to these remarks of your own typed here (even if they’re already written on the rubric). HOOK: Ask students to sit with their partners. “The artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like the bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.” —Ralf Waldo Emerson Place this quote on the board. Ask students what this means? What are examples of artists. Are they artists? What does it mean to sacrifice to your art? Ask them to think of something they really love and give a great deal of time to—it could be sports, academics, hobbies. Ask them if it’s good enough to do okay. To do their very mediocre-ist. Ask them how they can improve their art. INSTRUCTION: Step One—DISCUSSION: Ask students to think about their scenes and an area they feel they could improve upon or be revised. Students are to now turn to their neighbors and share with them what they’ve come up with. Any students who are willing can share with the class. As students volunteer information, ask them how they intend to go about making these revisions. Try to get a variety of areas—time constraints, better ending to story, consistency in environment, etc. Step Two—DIRECTIONS: Tell students you will hand back the rubric and the notes for each partnership. They are to read them over, and to focus on one area of improvement in their scenes. If they have time, they can move onto others, but they will be asked to record on a piece of paper what that area is. Tell them that you will collect this paper near the end of class and use it in part with the final assessment. Step Three—INDIVIDUAL PRACTICE: Allow students the bulk of class time to work on improvements/revisions. If students feel they are done, separate them as a pair and ask them to volunteer by helping other classmates improve their scenes. CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: With 6-7 minutes left, gather the students together. Collect their pieces of paper with their priority area of improvement. Hand out rubrics for their final performance. Go over the experience of making revisions. Does anyone have anything they’d like to share? What improvements were made? How? What worked in helping accomplish this? Why is this process so important to you as actors, artists, and people? Pantomime Evaluation Names: _____________________________ Grade: ______________ _____________________________ Time: _______________ Title: __________________________________________________________ Criteria Superior Excellent Good Fair Unsatisfactory Characters Always in character, shows personality & emotion through face and body language Mostly in character, shows some personality and emotions Occasionally in character, personality and face is hard to see because they are not exaggerated Characterization is not seen, facial expressions and emotions are not exaggerated No preparation, no personality, no exaggeration whatsoever Took time to develop exaggeration of weight; movements were crisp and defined Resistance was shown at times; movements were mostly crisp Opportunities to show resistance were ignored; movements were vague Little resistance is shown; movements were hard to interpret No resistance shown; movements were too vague to understand Objects and movements were consistent with location and definition Mostly consistent with objects and movement Consistency slips in and out, objects vanish and/or move Shows glimpse of consistency, objects and movements disappear Simply going through the motions without a concern for consistency Interact well, reacts to other character, movement and timing works Interacts fairly well, pays attention to the other actor, timing mostly on Pays attention but only occasionally reacts to other character Interaction hard to see, timing is off, reaction to each other is minimal Characters unable to work off of each other Exaggerated Facial Expressions & Gestures Resistance Exaggerated Weight Crispness Consistency Objects and ideas stay consistent Relationship Working with Partner Overall Storyline Scene is fun to watch, characters are easy to get involved with, storyline has a beginning, middle and end with conflicts Scene is fun to watch with minimal glitches, characters are mostly there, storyline has gaps Scene is mostly fun to watch with some problem spots, storyline is spotty Scene is a little hard to watch with several problem spots, storyline is weak Storyline is very weak and hard to watch because everything is too vague Lesson Eight—Performances Objective: Students will demonstrate proficiency in pantomime by performing their polished and improved scenes to their peers. Materials Needed: Extra Rubrics for final assessment…just in case… “Programs” for students with the order of performances, names of performers and their pieces. *Note—this might take more than one day. Plan accordingly. HOOK: Hand out programs to students as they enter the classroom and ask them to please be seated in the audience. INSTRUCTION: Step One—DIRECTIONS: Welcome students to the final performances of their pantomime pieces. The performances will proceed as outlined in their programs. Everyone will have five minutes to warm up on their own, and then we will begin with the first performance, while the next partnership waits backstage “on deck”— or waiting backstage. Following the first performance, the second group will set up for their scene while the third group is “on deck”. Step Two—PERFORMANCES: Keep the audience behavior under control, and keep moving one performance to the next. Make certain to time each performance—if you need help from a timer, arrange beforehand. CLOSURE/ASSESSMENT: Be sure to leave some time at the end of the performances for a discussion. Have students sit near a partner to share one thing they learned or improved upon about performance in this unit. Ask students to share their answers, and conduct a brief discussion. What did you learn? Why is an understanding of pantomime important to performance? How will what you learned help you in future performances?