Warm-Up of the Week: Zombies

1.  All students walk around the room with their eyes closed and their arms crossed in front of their chest.

2. The teacher then taps a student on the shoulder to indicate that they have become the zombie. They will need to make a zombie noise that warns the others students.

3. The zombie then stretches their hands out in front of them in search of humans…

4. If the zombie squeezes a student on the shoulder they become a zombie also.

5. If two zombies squeeze each other on the shoulder they turn back into humans. They must give a big sigh to indicate that this has happened.

6. In large classes it is a good idea to split the students into two groups and use the second group as a barrier so the humans and zombies can’t escape.

This game was generously taught to me by one of my prac students Brielle. Thank you!

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Writing a Role Analysis

One of the popular pages on the blog seems to be the Suggestions for Monologues page. Once you’ve picked a monologue it is a good idea when developing an Individual Performance either for the HSC or for some other class assessment, that an actor, as part of the rehearsal process should write a role analysis.

A role analysis is something that is prepared by an actor to give them a greater understanding of their character within the context of the whole play and within particular scenes. It’s like a road map of the character’s life and requires you to draw on your own to make it believable and convincing. The actor utilises their dialogue and interactions to help form a picture of their character which they can then use to physicalise the character and make offers.

In answering the following questions an actor should be able to do the above effectively. Aspects of a character that are not clear from the dialogue and interactions in the play can be made up by the actor as part of their own interpretation.

Character Name:

Autobiographical Facts:

  • What was your parent’s upbringing like?
  • Do you have any siblings?
  • What sort of education did you receive?
  • What is your health like?
  • When have the significant major relationships in your life begun?

Interests:

  • What do you enjoy doing (music, food etc)?
  • What do you consider your idiosyncracies to be?

Physical Description:

  • How old are you?
  • What is your height/weight?
  • What clothing do you wear?
  • What are your grooming habits?
  • If you had to compare yourself to an animal, what would it be and why?

Success/Failures/Upbringing:

  • What success have you had in your life?
  • How did these affect how you turned out?
  • What failures have you had in your life?
  • How did these affect how you turned out?

In Your Scene:

  • What time is it?
  • What aspects of time affect your action?
  • Where are you? Describe your surroundings.
  • What actions result from your relationship to this place?
  • What are the significant objects relating to your surroundings?
  • What actions do you complete that relate to these objects?
  • What activities are you up to the moment the scene begins?
  • What is happening in the scene (explore the tension here)?
  • What is your relationship to the other characters in the scene?
  • What is your relationship to the other characters mentioned in the scene?
  • What has led to these feelings?
  • What do you like/dislike about them?
  • In what ways do you need the person in the scene?
  • In what ways are you vulnerable to the other person in the scene?
  • What is your super-objective (what do I wish for, need, dream about)?
  • What is it you need at the beginning of the scene?
  • What will you try to do to get what you want?
  • What will happen if you don’t get what you need?
  • What or who is in my way?
  • What do I do to get what I want?
  • What can I draw upon from my own life to help create the characters wants, actions and emotional life? Describe.

This would make a great lesson activity when doing some scene work or work on monologues.

Photo Credit: twm1340 via Compfight cc

8 New Improvisation Games You Need to Try

I had the pleasure of meeting @ivanwschew at an Improv Night a little while ago now. It was being hosted by some friends of a friend who have taken advantage of a council grant and created a puppetry workshop (amongst other things) in an old shop.

I hadn’t been along to see any adult improvisation for a long time so it was refreshing to see some energetic, quick thinking actors on stage. Several of the games they played I hadn’t heard of before.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ivan at the end of the evening and I asked him if it would be OK to share these games. Ivan’s life was changed by improv and drama. His story is a fascinating, uplifting one of someone unlocking something that was hidden inside themselves by taking a chance with drama and improv. Now he’s not looking back.

The thing I loved about the whole night was seeing people who are passionate about their craft sharing it with others. I felt very inspired and uplifted by it. Below are the eight games I learnt from Ivan and his team of improvisers. You could use them in an improvisation unit or perhaps as a way of developing character or storyline in a unit of work.

Ivan hosts workshops for those new to Improv. You can find out more at his website.

Also, be sure to listen in to his radio show on Tuesdays 3-5pm, Community Radio 2RDJ.

1. Accent Rollercoaster – Audience members provide suggestions (“ask for’s”) for accents and a location. Actors are given a situation and throughout the scene the host will call out the accent that they need to use and they must accept and progress the action.

2. Spoon River – Two actors are on stage. Both are dead. They must recount how they came to die. A country/location, an unusual food dish, catastrophic event and dark descriptive words must be used and these are suggested by the audience.

3. Marshmallow Mania – Actors are given a situation. Each time an actor says something funny and the audience laughs they are given a marshmallow that they have to put in their mouth, not eat and continue the scene. Please be aware this may cause choking. The game has been banned in some circles so practice with care.

4. Character Swap – A location and situation is given. When called, the actors need to switch characters and continue the scene.

5. Lining the Bucket – A series of one liners are written out and placed in a bucket. Actors pick a line from the bucket before they enter the space. As they enter they must say the line. They can also pick out lines during the scene. This game is great for less experienced improvisers.

6. Playbook – Situation is given. One of the actors is restricted to the lines of dialogue from a script.

7. Pop Culture – Situation is given. Actors play the scene but they can only use lines from pop culture such as songs and movies etc.

8. Crime Endowments – Audience suggest a crime, location and famous actor. The actor being interrogated is in another room at this time. They enter the space and are questioned by another player. Audience react as the actor gets closer to guessing the crime, location and actor. There is also the variation “Teenage Endowments” (see comments below).

Warm-Up of the Week: Murder Winks

This one is really fun 🙂

1. One person waits outside the classroom.

2. The remaining student’s form a circle and close their eyes.

3. The teacher selects one student to be the murderer by squeezing them on the shoulder.

4. Everyone opens their eyes and the person waiting outside is let into the room and circle.

5. The person in the centre of the circle has three chances to guess who the murderer might be.

6. The murderer’s job is to wink at different people around the circle. As each person gets winked at they must die an active, dramatic death.

You might also like to try having the entire class guess who the murderer is rather than one particular student.