Classroom Exercise Playwriting Teaching Drama

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Written by Lindsay Price

“I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

What does it take to be creative? Not talent, not drive, not even imagination. It’s the suspension of disbelief. If you believe you can solve a problem in a new way, regardless of what other people think, that’s being creative.

Try this impossible things scene exercise with your students.

1. Divide students into groups.

2. Each group is to create a scene. In the scene, everyone is part of a family, or visiting the family. (For example, Jane’s friend comes to pick her up before they go to school). The scene takes place in the kitchen before breakfast.

3. In the scene, six impossible things have to happen. The catch is, no one is allowed to treat the impossible as a joke. It is part of their world. No winks to the audience, no breaking character – in the world of the scene, the impossible is part of the everyday world.

4. You may want to brainstorm with students before they start working on their scenes. What is impossible in today’s world? Tell them to let their mind’s run wild – what is considered impossible? ( I would suggest not using the word imagination or creativity. Those have stigmas attached to them.) Come up with a list of 50 impossible things. The only caveat, of course, is that it has to be school appropriate.

5. When students work on their scenes, tell them they can come up with their own impossible things or use some from the brainstorm list.

6. Students rehearse (15 minutes) and present their scenes.

7. Afterward, discuss the impossible with students. What is it like to act as if the impossible is part of your everyday world?

8. Reflection: Ask students to reflect on the nature of the impossible. Has anyone ever told them that something is impossible (like a certain career or task)? What do they themselves believe is impossible? Why do they believe that? How does drama class help or hinder belief in the impossible?

Download a PDF version of this exercise now! Download a handout/poster to inspire your students!

About the author

Lindsay Price