Sample lesson plan for my Drama class at the Waltham YMCA’s
Camp Cabot summer program
Friday Skits G and H Blocks (2:05pm – 3:30pm)
Don’t Let Go- All stand in a circle holding hands. Leader moves through the circle, switching directions as desired all the while still holding the hand of the person next to them in the group. All others follow the leader never letting go of hands. Once group is sufficiently tangled they all must work together to untangle without letting go of hands. (Spolin, Viola 29)
Reform Circle and ask each student to give their Name, Age and a Play or Live Performance they have seen
Leader will then briefly describe what we will be doing for the next 3 days and that on the 4th day (Friday) they will perform for their fellow campers. All campers in the group will have an opportunity to play a part and those who want to play bigger or smaller roles will get to choose. If 2 or more people want to play the same role, Leader will decide who plays roles by choosing names out of a hat. Fairness will always be used when making such decisions. Finally, Leader will let the group know that they are going to play a lot of games that help develop the skit so join in and they will be sure to have fun.
Follow the Follower –Students divide into pairs and stand facing each other. One student leads(Follower), moving whole body any way they want while their partner Follows. Students change roles after a short time. Then, each student initiates movement to see if they can continue to move together, reflecting each other’s movement. The goal is for their movements to be seamless so that an audience cannot tell who is initiating movement and who is following. (Spolin, Viola 76)
Follow up questions: Was it harder to be the Initiator or Follower? Towards the end could you tell who was starting the movement and who was following?
Poison - Students stand in a circle, while teacher (or volunteer student) is the orchestra- facing away from circle and singing a simple song. An object is passed around the circle. When “orchestra” decides, they stop singing. Whoever is holding the object when the music stops is “poisoned” and now becomes the conductor of the orchestra. The orchestra now faces the conductor (who now has his/her back to the circle) and sings a song as the conductor directs. Each time someone in the circle is poisoned, they become then next conductor and the orchestra grows larger each time. (Spolin, Viola 145) Follow-up questions: What senses did you use while passing the object? As orchestra members? Why do you think it was important to listen and watch during this game?
Reading the play- Leader hands out copies of a short script and group reads aloud together. Parts will be assigned for purposes of reading but it doesn’t mean people reading certain parts will get to play them in the skit. Break for the Day.
Play Game “Kitty want a Corner” – Group stands in a circle with one person being “It”, the Kitty. The spot where each person stands is the “corner” and the Kitty proceeds by saying to each person, “Kitty Wants a Corner”. Each person says No to the Kitty. Meanwhile, players in the circle try to switch places without the Kitty getting the empty “corner” first. If the original Kitty finds corner the person left becomes the Kitty and must ask for a corner.
Relay Where : Building a set - For a group of 8-10, if more students are participating in activity make 2 groups and have one be the audience while the other plays. Leader gives each group a Where, for example, the kitchen. One by one, students enter the imagined space and locate an object (imagined) that would be in the space ( the fridge in the kitchen for example). The first player discovers a way to use the object how it would be used in the space and then exits the room. After first person leaves the second person comes into imagined space, makes contact with the previous persons object and finds another object that might be found in the space. Each person makes contact with all the previous objects until all players have had a turn. All this should be done without talking and the audience (if there are two groups) can guess where they were at the end. (Spolin, Viola 86)
Students are asked to recall the story that was told the day before. Volunteers will be asked to give a brief synopsis to the rest of the group.
Building a Story (Spin off)- In a circle Students will try to recall the story in as much detail as possible. They will go around in the circle and retell the story. Leader will stop each student, sometimes in mid sentence and ask another to pick up where they left off. Special attention should be paid to not repeating words that were said by previous storyteller, instead students should try to pick up exactly where the last person left off. Students will be chosen at random so they will not know who will go next. All students must listen carefully so that they are ready to pick up where the last storyteller left off. This activity will help build our group as a community working together, strengthen their listening skills and help everyone recall what we did the day before. (Spolin, Viola 157)
Group divides in pairs and tells the same story using Mirror Speech –Player A starts to retell the story that the group recalled in the previous exercise. Player B mirrors the exact words that A is saying. The goal is for both players to be speaking the same words at the same time. When Leader calls CHANGE, Player B takes over where A left off telling the story while Player A repeats B’s words out loud. The goal is for players to be able to sense what the other is going to say so that there is no or little lapse in time between each other’s speech. This also helps everyone to get more familiar with story without having to read it on the page. (Spolin, Viola 120)
Before the end of the day a cast will be chosen- one to two narrators who will be able to read off of a sheet during the performance. All other actors will improvise their roles, some students may be characters in the story, while others can be part of the sound effects team or set pieces, (trees, etc)
If time permits actors will begin rehearsals by improvising in character as the story is being read by the Narrator(s) . Narrators start reading their text, inserting pauses so that actors can show the audience the story. Actors can make up their dialog. This is also the time the group can decide what sound effects the story should have as well as what physical objects the acting space needs as both these elements will be filled by actors.
Relating an Incident Adding Color – Students are divided in pairs. Player A tells B a simple story of about 5 or 6 sentences. They can make up whatever they want but Leader can help if they are having trouble. Player B must retell the story adding as much color as possible to liven up the story. (Spolin, Viola 159)
EX. I walked to the store and got splashed as a bus drove by. B: I sleepily walked down the black pavement sidewalk to the tiny yellow corner store so that I could buy a delicious chocolate donut. The grey sky peered and brought with is heavy blue showers. The great big orange bus drove right by me and splashed brown muddy water right in my face.
The remainder of the day will be spent rehearsing. Group will pick up where they left off the day before.
Group will rehearse for the rest of the period to prepare for the next day’s performance.
Spolin, Viola, . Theatre Games for the Classroom, A Teacher's Handbook. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1986. Print.