This is a simple and fun improvised game that is great to use in your show rehearsals. I’ve found it’s especially useful for younger, newer, or shyer students, who might be afraid of looking silly onstage. But it’s a great challenge for more experienced students as well. The purpose of the game is to challenge students to think beyond the world of the script, to experiment with “going bigger” with their character, and to explore their character’s likes, dislikes, and mannerisms in a deeper way. It can be used as a warm-up game before getting into the bulk of your rehearsal work, to get students’ minds out of school mode and into rehearsal mode.
For this game, students will improvise the following scene individually, in character in their assigned role, using the following framework:
Students are allowed to speak and move around the room as they wish. The only item needed for this game is a chair or a rehearsal block in case the student wants to sit down to eat their breakfast. Students aren’t required to use the chair though – perhaps their character stands to eat their breakfast. Any props or food items should be mimed. Scenes need not be long – one minute or less is perfectly fine, provided the student hits all five points.
This game helps students to think about their character outside of the world of the play. Let’s say you’re doing Romeo and Juliet as your school show. What would Benvolio choose to eat for breakfast? What about Lady Capulet, or Prince Escalus, or Friar Laurence? Would Tybalt prepare his own meal or have a servant bring him his food? Would Mercutio eat breakfast at a fancy restaurant or at a fast food joint? It helps them to explore and make choices about their character. There isn’t a right or wrong choice – students just need to make the choice and commit to it.
You can expand on this game by having two students improvise the breakfast scene together. In this case, students are not only challenged to complete all five tasks in the framework, but also while interacting (in character) with the other character.
After completing this game, students can reflect on their experience using the included Reflection.
Distance Learning Adaptation
Students will complete the improvisation at home by following the same steps as described in the existing exercise. One at a time, they will exit the frame of their webcam and re-enter, in character, to begin the scene. They will finish their scene by exiting the frame, pausing, saying in a loud, clear voice “SCENE” and coming back to their device.
Students will write and submit their answers to the following questions, answering in full sentences:
How does your character eat their food?
(Describe it using adjectives. Are they dainty or do they gobble? Are they ravenous or not very hungry? Are they still sleepy? How are they dressed? Describe their place setting.)
What does your character do at the end of the meal?
(How and why do they leave at the end of the meal? Do they finish or leave food behind? Do they take any leftovers with them, do they clean up after themselves, is the space left messy or neat? Does anything else happen?)
What do you think your character’s breakfast choices say about their personality?