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Exercise: Making Tough Decisions

The following is a choice boardexercise about making tough decisions, within a theatrical context. Students will select one of the six activities below to complete. Some of the options are written and some are performance based. There are individual, partner, and small group options as well. It’s all about choice!

Ask students to consider the following when they are working on their creation: 

  • What is the decision your character has to make? Is it clear?
  • How can you raise the stakes of the decision?
  • Are there any consequences for making the decision? 
  • How does the character make their choice? 
  • How can you show all of that and stick within the word/time limit?

Feel free to adjust or omit options as appropriate for your students. You can put them in a grid, in choice board fashion, or present them in a list. Students will write and submit a reflection afterwards (found at the link at the bottom of the article). Here are the options:

  • Write a monologue (half a page or approximately 250 words) where the character has to make a tough decision.
  • Create and perform an individual mimed scene (one minute) showing a character making a tough decision. 
  • Find, memorize, and perform a monologue from a play or musical (one minute) where the character is making a tough decision.
  • Read the following scenarios. Choose one and write a one-page response about how you would solve the problem:
    • You are the stage manager for a show that will be performed that evening at 7 pm. At 10 am, you receive a text from the lead actor, who tells you that they (literally) broke their leg last night. What would you do?
    • You are running the soundboard for a show and doing your pre-show check of your equipment. For some reason, the soundboard will not turn on. What would you do?
    • You are the assistant director for a show and are helping with casting. The director wants to cast your best friend as one of the leads in the show, but also wants to cast your friend’s ex-partner as the other lead. What would you do?
  • With a partner, create and perform a series of five tableau scenes, showing one character making a tough choice and the other character reacting to it (either positively or negatively).
  • In a group of four, write and perform a scene with four or more characters (maximum two pages) where two of the characters are presented with a tough choice. One character makes a choice and the other character makes the opposite choice. Use the other characters as appropriate.

Click here for a Reflection and Rubric.
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