Unit Title: “Being A Character”
Students are evaluated on knowledge, process, participation as well as product.
(10 weeks x one 80 minute lesson a week)
Area Of Interaction:
Environments – Students will consider how humans interact with the world at large and the parts they play in their environments.
Significant Concepts: Attributes of character define the actor’s delivery.
MYP Unit Question: What makes a character?
By the end of this unit, students will be able to:
- create believable characters with a particular attitude and motivation
- show character attitude through physicality and voice
- show development of their character in reaction to situations
- show their status with other characters through the use of space, physicality and voice
- create a character identikit with biographical background
By the end of this unit, students will understand:
- how status and motivation create character differences
- how physicality can express character attitude, age etc
- the importance of voice to emphasise character traits e.g. age
- the importance of maintaining focus and concentration
- how planning and preparation creates a holistic character
All practice tasks done in class (Criteria A)
In pairs, students show two characters, physically and vocally, meeting in a location
e.g. laundromat, hairdressing salon, dance hall
Students will keep records of exploring characterisation and rehearsals for their scene in their Developmental Workbooks (Criteria A)
Students will create a scene where different characters are trapped in an elevator and react according to their persona, taking into consideration attitude, motivation and status (Criteria B)
Write a final self-reflection (Criteria C)
Personal Engagement & Interaction in class (Criteria D)
Gr8 Drama Unit 1-Characterisation Rubric
*Activities are subject to change at teacher’s discretion
Week 1 – Who Are You?
Introduction to course, distribute cover sheets and housekeeping etc.
Cover sheet may be downloaded from here:
Gr8 Drama Unit 1 Cover Sheet.pdf
Warm-up: Propose, Elope, Shun (+Flirting)
In partners, moving around room separately.
Teacher calls out one of either of words:
Teacher calls out “Propose” and partners meet up and 1 character gets in traditional “propose” position to partner. Partner makes a stereotypical reaction. If late to pose, they are eliminated.
Move around room separately again. Teacher calls out “Elope” and partners join and perhaps picks up partner. If late to pose, they are eliminated.
Move around room separately again. Teacher calls out “Shun” and partners are back to back with expressions of anger or tired of each other. If late to pose, they are eliminated.
Move around room separately again. Teacher calls out “Flirting” and students find a new partner to flirt with. If late to flirt, they are eliminated.
*Can use music or place or speed etc. to vary it.
Input: What makes a character? Get class to brainstorm and write on whiteboard (Possible answers: thoughts, motivation, attitude, personality, feeling, state of being, posture, voice, walk, heritage, family, job, clothes etc) > recap SWAT (Stand, Walk, Act, Talk)
Divide students into groups; students draw facial expression from the hat and must improv scene keeping that character expression (physical face) throughout a simple situation (Facial Expression Cards: open mouth, wide eyed, raised eyebrows, frowning, squinting eyes, pouting mouth, smile, smirk, nose up, eyes down etc). Students must maintain that facial feature/character for the whole scene.
Scenes: school, hairdresser, supermarket, church, dance, office/business meeting, park bench, in a line, restaurant, waiting room etc.
Present to class and debrief, noting where character attributes are apparent and how hard they are to maintain.
Week 2 – Stereotypes
Warm-Up: Yes Let’s; one calls out e.g. ‘let’s be salary men’; everyone MUST stop and reply “yes let’s”; all act out salary men until it becomes tedious, then another calls out something else, such as ‘let’s be chefs’, everyone says ‘yes let’s’ and become chefs, physically and vocally.
Stress focus of character (not an animal) and maintaining that character until the rising action falls. Students need to interact with each other.
Pair Activity: Who are you? A approaches B and B (has no idea what A says) gives A character ideas through information in line, not by telling them who they are; improvise scene until natural conclusion; swap roles
“A” students at 1 end of room. A delivers a line to B. They do not tell B who they are, but gives clues to B on who they are and what they are doing.
“A” does not say “I am a doctor.” Instead use offer + acceptance.
Ask pairs to show their best one to class; debrief
Give out stereotype/short generic script handout; read and discuss it as a class (Stereotype Sheet-handout)
Interpret scene according to a few of the listed stereotypes; prepare to show class
Show scene and debrief character stereotypes
Week 3 – Status
Warm-up: Master/Servant (Theatre Sports p284)
A is master, B servant
A has 60 seconds to command B to do duties (in the bound of reason); swap now B is master and A servant for 60 seconds
How does it feel? What changes were there in voice and posture?
Input: Influences on status? Brainstorm types of status (age, wealth, occupation, fame, authority etc)
Hat Game (Theatre Sports p293):
Student A has a hat. B comes and must try and win hat (take it) from the other by either lowering or raising status through physical or vocal offers; offer and accept rule is maintained.
B says anything they want and A has to accept. ex: B: “Oh look, you’ve dropped a hundred dollar bill.”
Some rules: If person is looking at you, you cannot simply take the hat. Student A must accept dialogue etc. If A sees B going for the hat, they may defend.
Input: Raising and lowering status – how can one character match another? How can one character outdo another? How can one character be more subtle than another? Some demo needed.
Students prep scene in pairs as teacher and student; raising and lowering status:
“You can’t wear those socks with that tie”
Have to continually go down or up in status. 1 direction only. You can raise/lower status through voice or actions.
Students present scenes to class; debrief status changes
(Theatre Sports p280)
extension: How do you reverse status? (example: a long haired guy getting removed from a restaurant
Week 4 – Relationships
Warm-up: Relationships – A creates a frozen pose; B adds a character pose to suit; keep cycling through this, show some to class
Brainstorm relationship groupings. What are the types of relationships people have? (family, friends, colleagues, strangers, enemies)
In groups of 3 or 4, create freeze frame of relationship grouping with central character (Tableau).
Show freeze frame and debrief character relationships.
Back in groups, create a series of three freeze frames with central character present but showing their development or change through reaction to situation. Show series of freeze frames and debrief character relationships. (What came before/after etc?)
If time – add thought tracking to freeze frames (1 liner caption)
Week 5 – Character Background
Warm up: Eye to Eye (pairs seated facing each other) an interrogation game; ten questions in 60 secs; you can’t look away; try with extreme eye contact; no eye contact
Distribute script; read script as class; discuss characters in it. (Short Script). What is the background of that character.
Input: biography, background and identikits
Students create simple character biography of one from the script; they may work in pairs if needed*
Rehearse part of the scene based on biographies, identikit*
Week 6 – Developing a Character Based Scene (if time permitting)
Students have a short while to recap previous scene*
Students present scenes to class; explain backgrounds*
Distribute and explain Character Task Sheet; divide class into assessment groups (Task sheet)
Drama 8.1 Character Task sheet.pdf
Create character identikit/background and begin rehearsal of elevator scene (Identikit sheet)
Week 7 – Rehearsing a Character
Planning & Rehearsal: Students are divided into groups and should spend the time planning and rehearsing their character scene with teacher input where applicable.
Week 8 – Performing a Character
Performance: Students present their character scenes to the class and a video is taken for feedback from peers and teacher next lesson; allow short 15-20 mins for preparation time and set up of camera/performance space.
Week 9 – Reviewing the Performance
Watch video of their scenes and write reflection in their DWB.
Recap some of the character games played in previous lessons if time.
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