Sara Litchfield, Opera for All Teaching Artist
Now that our story has been chosen, our scripts are finally completed, & our song is composed and learned, it's time to move onto one of my favorite parts of our program: ACTING!!!
This week, my students had an opportunity to test out their dramatic skills while considering all of the different ways they can act with our entire bodies. Everyone tends to enjoy this class period because we get to play a lot of awesome theater games like.....
Moving around the space!:
Sounds easy right? Well there's more to it than just walking! As the students are walking, I shout out different prompts like "make a shape", which means strike a pose, "connect", which means connect your shape to someone else's shape and "levels", which means low, middle or high. Once I get their creative juices flowing, I throw in new ideas like,
"Walk around the space as if you're walking outside during a snow storm without a coat on!"
"Walk around like you just won a trip to Disney World!"
While this game is usually super entertaining for me as a teacher, it shows our young thespians just how much they can communicate simply by how they walk.
"Voice, Face, Action!"
In this activity, I hand our brave student volunteers index cards with lines that say things like, "The building is on fire!" or "Someone just stole my lunch."
First they have to read the line like a robot, without any emotion at all. Then, the ask for suggestions from our classroom audience how our actors can alter just their voices. Next I ask how they can ch age their faces and finally the class gives suggestions for gestures or actions that might complete our performance. Suddenly the line is transformed and by adding these dramatic layers, we end up with some student, directed Oscar-worthy performances! Here's a video of two fabulous 5th graders from Healy playing "Voice, Face Action"
All in all my favorite part of this class period is when one of our very quiet students gets up and knocks my socks off. I constantly have teachers tell me that they were surprised by what their students were capable of!