Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding
eBook - ePub

Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding

Lesley Christen

  1. English
  2. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  3. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding

Lesley Christen

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Table of contents

About This Book

Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding provides entry points for the beginner and advanced practitioner in schools and communities. The book includes: %##CHAR13##%• Practical exercises and techniques, approaches and starting points in an easy-to-read format.%##CHAR13##%• Emphasis on effective playbuilding skills.%##CHAR13##%• Outlines the development of playbuilding from introductory exercises through to advanced practices.%##CHAR13##%• Provides examples of units of work.%##CHAR13##%• Includes application within mime, mask, storytelling and introducing skills in the development of the Performance Essay.

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Chapter 1
What is improvisation?
Improvisation is a fundamental skill in the playbuilding process. We all retell stories from our lives to others. In improvisation, a story unfolds between performers in real time using movement and words. At the start of the process, no one performer knows what the end of the story will look like, or even what the next line or action will be. The performers involved in the improvisation make it up between them through the process of ‘offer and acceptance’. The following series of exercises can help to develop the skills and confidence necessary for improvisation. The three types of improvisation we’re going to look at are:
  • Verbal improvisation, which includes the element of storytelling
  • Physical improvisation
  • A combination of the two
Unit 1.1: Introducing spontaneous improvisation
This form of improvisation involves creating a performance using voice, movement and sound in an unrehearsed way without a written script or direction from the facilitator. In this process, the initial movement, word or sound is taken up by a performer or group of performers who then further develop this offer (see here) before passing it back to the original performer, or on to a third performer. Spontaneous improvisation includes:
  • Exploring play and make-believe
  • Risk taking
  • Voice and movement skills
  • Collaboration—offer and acceptance
  • Awareness of space between one performer and another
  • Awareness of movement or stillness in different parts of the body
These simple games help students understand that drama is fun. They also foster a sense of togetherness and develop their capacity to focus. This first exercise stresses the importance of working together. In improvisation, the facilitator may use the word collaboration, which means working together.
The dragon game
Aim: To experience high-energy collaboration
Time: 5 minutes
Equipment: Nil
1.The facilitator divides the performers into two equal lines. The performer at the front of each line will be the ‘head’ of the dragon. The aim of the game is for the head of the dragon to tag the ‘tail’ of the opposing team.
2.Each line needs to stay connected throughout the next stage of the game, so the performers are given two choices as to how they can link their line: they can either stand behind each other with their hands on the hips of the person in front, or they can hold hands and stand side-byside.
3.When both lines are linked, the facilitator calls out ‘Begin’. The teams move forward rapidly as the performer at the head of the line tries to tag the tail of the opposing team.
4.If the line breaks, the opposing team scores. The team that tags the most in a best of three is the winning team.
Offer and acceptance
Offer and acceptance are two of the most important skills a performer needs to develop in improvisation, playbuilding and performing in general.
Offer is used to describe a verbal/physical invitation to another performer.
Acceptance is the second performer recognising the offer with a response that includes the original movement or sound, and then building upon the idea by adding their own movement or sound. When this is done successfully, the acceptance becomes the next offer in the sequence of actions.
Once performers have mastered the concepts of offer and acceptance in dialogue, it is easier to begin experimenting with offer and acceptance with physical shapes and movement.
Technique: This idea of give and take, of being equally willing to lead and follow, is crucial to an effective process for the group.
Unit 1.2: Verbal spontaneous improvisation
In this unit, the focus is on the voice. Speaking is (usually) the primary means of communication, and when observing verbal communication in the world, it is clear that the human voice is capable of a wide range of expression necessary for effective communication. This unit begins with some vocal warm-ups.
Humming on the breath
Aim: To warm up the vocal chords
Time: 2 to 3 minutes
Equipment: Nil
1.Performers stand in neutral posture (see below).
2.They draw the breath slowly into the lungs before releasing it in the same way on the out-breath.
3.They repeat step 2, but this time let the breath out on a relaxed sigh.
4.Performers let their breath out on a low hum, and...

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Author’s Biography
  3. Introduction
  4. Acknowledgements
  5. Teaching Drama
  6. Chapter 1: Improvisation
  7. Chapter 2: Introducing Playbuilding
  8. Chapter 3: Playbuilding and Performance Style: Comedy
  9. Chapter 4: Dramatic Structure
  10. Chapter 5: Exploring Group-Built Play through a Case Study: ‘The Penguins’
  11. Chapter 6: The Circus
  12. Chapter 7: InterPlay
  13. Chapter 8: Political Theatre
  14. Chapter 9: Monologue and Solo Performance
  15. Copyright Details
Citation styles for Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding

APA 6 Citation

Christen, L. (2019). Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding ([edition unavailable]). Currency Press. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/2192349/teaching-drama-skills-games-and-playbuilding-pdf (Original work published 2019)

Chicago Citation

Christen, Lesley. (2019) 2019. Teaching Drama: Skills, Games and Playbuilding. [Edition unavailable]. Currency Press. https://www.perlego.com/book/2192349/teaching-drama-skills-games-and-playbuilding-pdf.

Harvard Citation

Christen, L. (2019) Teaching Drama: Skills, games and playbuilding. [edition unavailable]. Currency Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/2192349/teaching-drama-skills-games-and-playbuilding-pdf (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Christen, Lesley. Teaching Drama: Skills, Games and Playbuilding. [edition unavailable]. Currency Press, 2019. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.