Courses

PD COURSE

Yes, And... How to Teach Improv

by Jennine Profeta

“Yes, and…” is the guiding principle behind all improv. This course will teach you how to teach improv, and more importantly how to give feedback to your students. The course looks at making strong offers and also using gibberish to ironically improv communication skills. You will also see how feelings can safely be used to add flavour and get laughs in our scenes.

Jennine Profeta, Second City performer and theatre educator, leads this course with a clear methodology for teaching and giving positive nurturing feedback. This course will give you all the tools and the insight you need to teach improv with confidence.

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PD COURSE

Theatre Etiquette 101

by Kerry Hishon

Instructor Kerry Hishon is an actor, director, writer, and stage combatant with years of experience in youth theatre. Her course, Theatre Etiquette 101, is designed to help students be successful in their theatrical journeys.

When teaching students who are brand new to theatre, it’s important to discuss and apply the expectations of the drama classroom and the theatrical world.
This course starts by explaining "what is theatre etiquette", and then moves through every step in the production process from audition to post-show recovery.

Every module has tips for both you and your students, classroom exercises, rehearsal exercises, and reflections. There are also printable posters included to use in your classroom or backstage.

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Units

UNIT

Pantomime

by Angel Borths

Teacher Angel Borths developed this unit when she was looking for lessons to teach the basics of pantomime in the classroom.

This unit culminates in a finished product for performance, either for peers, or for theatre festivals. The rubrics and written work for this unit take planning and preparation for performance into account. The exercises can be pulled out and used independently, but work best when used to build toward a finished product. You can also pull the ground plan and stage directions lesson plans to use with playwriting or directing lessons.

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UNIT

What is Theatre?

by Karen Loftus

Students will explore the question “what is theatre?” and analyze it by comparing film and television productions. Each session comes with an journal prompt, a warm up game, and an exit slip for assessment. This is a great unit to start off a school year.

Feel free to customize it as much as you want, and refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials. While you’re analyzing “what is theatre?” with your students, you can introduce classroom procedures and do icebreaker/trust games. You can also remind the kids that Theatre is Ensemble - all of the games they play help to build ensemble.

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UNIT

Stage Movement

by Karen Loftus

In this unit, students are introduced to stage directions and how actors move on stage. They will explore what’s important for onstage action, the basics of stage directions, and how to keep open. By giving students something concrete to focus on, it allows them to overcome any stage fright. Teachers can refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

This unit will culminate with students trying out what they’ve learned in a short scene. Each session comes with an journal prompt and an exit slip for assessment.

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UNIT

Pantomime

by Karen Loftus

Students will explore nonverbal communication through movement, body language, simple mime, and storytelling. They will learn the specific art of pantomime through hand position, tension, follow-through, and action/reaction/interaction with objects through warmup games and exercises.

The unit culminates in a two-person pantomime performance. A rubric is included for the performance as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Script Analysis: The Actor's Perspective

by Karen Loftus

How does an actor analyze a script? Students start with character analysis (how do we learn about a character in a script? what are the facts/inferences about a character?) and then explore the ideas of “objective,” “obstacle,” “stakes,” and “tactics.”

The unit culminates with students applying learned script analysis techniques on an assigned scene. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Mock Audition

by Lindsay Price

In this Mock Audition Unit, students will start by discussing the audition process. They will make connections between their personal views and the process. Students will then apply the steps of auditioning from putting together a resume, to choosing a piece based on provided information, to audition etiquette, to the actual audition itself. A final reflection and rubric are provided for use at the end of this unit.

A short play is included that can be used as the source material. You can also choose your own play for this process.

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UNIT

Voice

by Anna Porter

The voice is a key element in performance and can be used in many ways. In this introductory voice unit with instructor Anna Porter, students will explore how to thoughtfully communicate character, story and emotion vocally.

Lesson one focuses on the articulators and the importance and of speaking clearly on stage. Lesson two introduces students to the use of vocal variety with pitch, tone, rate and volume. In lesson three, students develop a character with background as well as design a puppet. Lesson four brings together the elements of voice studied in this unit to create vocal characterization.

Through this four lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions and practice the elements taught by performing for their peers and as a class. Assessment tools include both informal assessment as well as a final puppet show performance.

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UNIT

Pantomime

by Anna Porter

In this unit, students explore how to communicate with their body by exploring elements of physicality and Pantomime. Lesson one helps students explore body awareness as well as the use of the senses and details in pantomime performance. In lesson two, students explore body language and how it is used to communicate by examining the art of flirting. Lesson three helps students create a distinct physical characterization. Lesson four introduces students to the quality of Pantomime – Consistency. In lesson five, students explore the quality of exaggeration in pantomime. In the final lesson, students prepare a pantomime story for performance.

Through this six lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions and practice the elements taught by performing for their peers and as a class. Assessment tools include both informal assessment as well as a final Pantomime performance.

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UNIT

Virtual Acting for the Camera

by Ruthie Tutterow

The unit is adapted for a virtual environment.

The purpose of this unit is for students to know the differences and practice skills for film versus stage acting. They should also know the basic vocabulary of acting for the camera. It will also be helpful for them to get practice in editing. By seeing both sides of the camera, they will gain valuable experience in seeing what works from both the producing and acting side. Students will be able to see and reflect on their work.

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UNIT

Acting for the Camera

by Ruthie Tutterow

The purpose of this unit is for students to know the differences and practice skills for film versus stage acting. They should also know the basic vocabulary of acting for the camera. It will also be helpful for them to get practice in editing. By seeing both sides of the camera, they will gain valuable experience in seeing what works from both the producing and acting side. Students will be able to see and reflect on their work.

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UNIT

Introduction to Meisner

by Ruthie Tutterow

This unit is meant to be an introductory crash course in Meisner techniques that are targeted to younger students. It serves as an overview and a “dip in the pool” of what Meisner is about. Many times, students don’t get past the initial repetition exercises; this unit goes a couple steps beyond so that students can begin to get a true taste of the nature of Meisner training.

We are skipping many steps of Meisner training to get to some actual scene and monologue work using the basics of what preliminary Meisner work can open up for your actors. Going through this unit will give your students a good grounding in acting in the moment and playing off one’s partner as well as more confidence in trusting their impulses.

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UNIT

Virtual Introduction to Meisner

by Ruthie Tutterow

This unit is meant to be an introductory crash course in Meisner techniques that are targeted to younger students. It serves as an overview and a “dip in the pool” of what Meisner is about. Many times, students don’t get past the initial repetition exercises; this unit goes a couple steps beyond so that students can begin to get a true taste of the nature of Meisner training.

We are skipping many steps of Meisner training to get to some actual scene and monologue work using the basics of what preliminary Meisner work can open up for your actors. Going through this unit will give your students a good grounding in acting in the moment and playing off one’s partner as well as more confidence in trusting their impulses.

This unit has been adapted for teaching in a virtual environment.

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Lesson Plans

LESSON PLAN

Subtext: What’s hiding underneath?

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss and participate in exercises that apply subtext in a conversation.

The assignment for the lesson is a one minute scene - two people at a restaurant, preparing to order. Each pair chooses one of the provided subtexts to play in the scene. Their job is to present the scene so that the subtext is clear.

Includes two assessment rubrics.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting the Monologue: Sugar and Salt

by Lindsay Price

This is a great exercise when students are in the middle of preparing a monologue. Students will apply variety to a monologue in the following ways:
- Variety of pace (choosing a line to slow down or a place to pause)
- Variety of tone (choosing a line to deliver with an opposite tone)

Includes two sample monologues.

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LESSON PLAN

The Environment of Sound

by Lindsay Price

Certain sounds are always connected to certain objects - the slam of a door, cowbell, a ringing phone. How does the environment change if the sounds are changed? Does the change of sound change the scene?

Includes a list of websites to use for free sound effects.

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LESSON PLAN

Inflection in Naked Scenes

by Marisa Peck

To identify and interpret inflection in a dialogue and be able to translate that into a script.

Students work with a partner to interpret inflection in a "naked scene" and translate that inflection adding stage directions to the script. Students have to clarify their stage directions so that another pair can pick up the scene and deliver the intended intention.

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LESSON PLAN

Examining the Pause

by Lindsay Price

Students write a scene with five pauses. Students will rehearse the scene where the length of the pause varies. How does the scene change when longer and longer pauses are implemented?

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LESSON PLAN

Acting Shakespeare Style

by Lindsay Price

Students will perform a modern scene the same way that Shakespearean actors performed text. They will compare and contrast the experience to preparing a scene for class.

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LESSON PLAN

The Fourth Wall

by Elisabeth Oppelt

The fourth wall is an imaginary wall that stands between the actors and the audience. As actors we tend not to speak to, look at or acknowledge the audience when we are performing. We want the audience to be observers but not necessarily involved in the scene. There are times however when we want to speak directly to the audience. When we do, that is called breaking the fourth wall. It is a technique that can be useful in specific instances but should not be abused by actors.

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LESSON PLAN

Becoming a Professional Actor: Getting Started

by Lindsay Price

Many students dream about becoming a professional actor. But what are the steps? How do you start? It’s not as simple as saying “I want to be an actor.” Students will move beyond this vague statement to research and present specific aspects of starting an acting career.

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LESSON PLAN

Becoming a Professional Actor: Headshots

by Lindsay Price

Many students dream about becoming a professional actor. The headshot is one of the most important calling cards of the professional actor. A bad headshot can get an actor rejected before they step through the door. Students will complete exercises that respond to the question What makes a good Headshot?

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LESSON PLAN

Silent Story: Show Don't Tell

by Lindsay Price

Students often rely on their verbal skills to tell a story. They “tell” us what’s happening instead of “showing” us what’s
happening. “Show don’t tell” is a guiding principle in theatrical storytelling. We want to see what’s happening to characters
as they experience it. We don’t want to hear characters explain the story or what they’re feeling. This lesson plan will put this principle into action through the exercise Silent Story.

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LESSON PLAN

Preparing a Scene

by Lindsay Price

What tools do students need to properly prepare a scene? What exercises? This multi-class lesson plan models and practices those tools and exercises with the full class before they have to take on a scene for assessment.

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LESSON PLAN

Rock Paper Scissors Status

by Karen Loftus

In this exercise, students will learn about the concept of status and how it affects character interactions. Using the good old
system of “Rock, papers, scissors”, they’ll determine who moves up and down the status ladder.

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LESSON PLAN

Research Project: Acting Teachers

by Todd Espeland

Instead of presenting a lecture on influential acting teachers, students self-learn in this lesson plan. Have students research an acting teacher, prepare a presentation and teach an exercise in groups.

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LESSON PLAN

The Acting Resume

by Todd Espeland

What should go on and what should stay off of an acting resume? What is an auditioner looking for? Students will discuss the purpose of an acting resume, review a model, create their own and reflect on the process.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting Techniques: A Method Exercise

by Lindsay Price

There are a number of different acting techniques: Method, Stanislavski, Viewpoints, Meisner, Viola Spolin. Use this lesson plan as an introduction to a specific technique.

Instead of learning by lecture, have students learn by doing. The Relaxation Exercise encourages students to focus on relaxing the body part by part. The Animal Exercise encourages students to observe an animal, take on the characteristics of an animal and reflect on how animal exploration would be helpful in character development.

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LESSON PLAN

Commedia dell'arte: High Status and Low Status

by Todd Espeland

When we think of Commedia dell’arte, we often think “mask.” But before we get to mask, it’s important to establish the foundation. Knowing the technical elements of playing comedy are essential before adding on the layers of mask, archetypal characters, and Lazzi. This lesson plan looks at one of the cornerstone tools for playing comedy: status. Status is at the heart of Commedia dell’arte. Students will explore high and low status through the game called Status Walks.

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LESSON PLAN

What Do We “Do” on Stage?

by Karen Loftus

This Lesson Plan introduces one of the important tools of an actor: the body. Student actors often have difficulty getting out of their own body, especially if they suffer from any kind of stage fright. How do we move on stage? What happens when we’re afraid to move? How can we get beyond nerves to become comfortable with our bodies? What do we “do” on stage?

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LESSON PLAN

Defining Pantomime

by Angel Borths

To define pantomime, build a working class definition then introduce the pantomime concept through class games.

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LESSON PLAN

Details of Pantomime

by Angel Borths

To recognize the importance of details in pantomime and practice pantomime details.

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LESSON PLAN

Ground Plans & Stage Directions

by Angel Borths

To learn how ground plans and stage directions can be used for pantomime.

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LESSON PLAN

Rehearsal Day 1

by Angel Borths

To apply knowledge toward a pantomime performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Rehearsal Day 2

by Angel Borths

To apply knowledge toward a pantomime performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Pantomime First Showing

by Angel Borths

To apply knowledge toward a pantomime performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Pantomime Fix Day 1

by Angel Borths

To apply feedback and make revisions.

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LESSON PLAN

Pantomime Fix Day 2

by Angel Borths

To apply feedback and make revisions.

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LESSON PLAN

Pantomime Final Showing

by Angel Borths

To apply knowledge through performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Onstage Action

by Karen Loftus

After a warm up, student learn about onstage action. They will reflect on the question of how having something “to do” onstage can help overcome stage fright.

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LESSON PLAN

Stage Directions

by Karen Loftus

Students identify the stage directions and actor needs to know onstage and the necessary shorthand notation for each. They then apply their knowledge in an exercise and exit slip.

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LESSON PLAN

The Technicalities of Stage Movement

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply technical aspects of moving on stage: sightlines and staying open. They then apply these aspects in a short scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Gesture

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply the different ways one can communicate through gesture.

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LESSON PLAN

The Specifics of Holding an Object

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the techniques of hand position, tension, follow through, action/reaction/interaction.

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LESSON PLAN

Tableau

by Karen Loftus

Students continue exploring nonverbal communication through tableaux.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students create a 2 person pantomime. The objective is for them to utilize mime, body language, and facial expression to tell a basic story. A rubric is included.

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LESSON PLAN

What makes a “good voice?”

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply aspects of what makes a voice a “good voice:” projection, articulation, posture, proper breathing.

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LESSON PLAN

Resonance

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about the resonators and use them in an exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Articulation

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about the articulators and use them with tongue twisters and additional exercises.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students will use all the vocal techniques they have used in this unit in the simple act of telling a joke. A post performance reflection and rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Accept the Offer

by Karen Loftus

Students apply this guidelines through the games “Yes and…” “Yes Let’s,” and Low Risk Experts.

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LESSON PLAN

Make Choices/Bring Information

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the word “endow” and apply the concept through the exercise Low Risk Endowment.

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LESSON PLAN

Take the Active Choice

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss what it means to take the active choice and apply the concept in Quiet Scenes.

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LESSON PLAN

Make Your Partner Look Good

by Karen Loftus

Students apply this guideline through the games Cars, Vans, Buses, Blocking on Purpose, Questions Only and Here Comes Charley.

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LESSON PLAN

Relax, Have Fun and Don’t Force the Humour

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss what it means to not “force” the humour. They play all the games from the unit in a high risk setting, as volunteers in front of the class.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

The final project will allow the students to demonstrate their improv skills in a 2-person scene. A rubric and final reflection is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction

by Karen Loftus

Students learn some key facts about Commedia and apply them to the exercise “Opposite Day.”

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LESSON PLAN

Stock Characters

by Karen Loftus

Students explore Commedia stock characters: the masters, the servants and the lovers.

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LESSON PLAN

Stock Character Walks

by Karen Loftus

Students apply their knowledge of stock characters into character walks.

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LESSON PLAN

Lazzi

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about different commedia lazzi and create their own.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students take what they have learned in this unit and create a short scene. A performance rubric and unit reflection are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Getting to Know a Character

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the 5 ways we learn about a character in a script.

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LESSON PLAN

Characters in a Scene

by Karen Loftus

This session uses a two-character scene to find facts and inferences about a character.

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LESSON PLAN

The Stanislavski Method

by Karen Loftus

This session introduces the Stanislavski method of acting and four elements: objective, obstacle, stakes, and tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Applying Analysis to Performance

by Karen Loftus

This session reviews what students have learned about script analysis, and applies it to an open scene exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students are given an assigned scene to analyze, focus on one character, and complete the script analysis assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to the Audition Process

by Lindsay Price

In order to partake in the audition process, students need to identify and comprehend the necessary steps in that process. What is the auditioning process? Why is it used? Is the process fair? Why or why not? The class ends with students playing director in the “Who Would You Cast?” Exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

The Acting Resume

by Todd Espeland

An actor needs two documents when they audition for a role: a resume and a headshot. What should go on an acting resume and what should stay off of it? What is an auditioner looking for? Students will discuss the purpose of an acting resume, review a model, and reflect on the process. Students will use this template when they create a resume for their mock audition.

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LESSON PLAN

Becoming a Professional Actor: Headshots

by Lindsay Price

While the Mock Audition does not require students to bring in a headshot, it is an essential document in the “real world” audition process. A good headshot will help a director remember an actor. A bad headshot can get an actor rejected before they step through the door.

Students will complete exercises that respond to the question What makes a good headshot?

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LESSON PLAN

Audition Etiquette

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by exploring audition etiquette. How can an actor’s attitude and behaviour affect an audition?

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LESSON PLAN

Choosing a Monologue 1

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by exploring what goes into choosing an appropriate audition monologue.

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LESSON PLAN

Choosing a Monologue 2

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by reading and choosing a monologue for their mock audition.

Students will now have to think about the monologue they want to choose for the Mock Audition. You’ll have to decide what you’re going to provide for them as well - this unit includes 10 monologues you can give students as a packet, at this time. You could also use your own drama library, or require them to search online. Both of these options will require you to build more time into this unit.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Prep 1

by Lindsay Price

After students choose their monologues, the next step is to prepare. More often than not, students think that preparing means learning the lines and throwing in a few moves. When students do this in an audition, it shows. The character is one-dimensional and the movement looks out of place. You want to see three-dimensional characters. You want to see characters brought to life both physically and vocally. In this lesson, students are given time to practice their monologue and start working on the who, what, when, where, and why.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Prep 2

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by exploring what they can do to prepare their monologue. Once students have completed the Character Profile, have them complete the Physical Profile. This will solidify how the character stands, gestures, and moves.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Prep 3

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by exploring what they can do to prepare their monologue. The last profile students complete will be the Vocal Profile. This will solidify how the character communicates orally.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Prep 4

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue their journey toward the Mock Audition by exploring what they can do to prepare their monologue. They will practice their monologue and talk about dealing with nerves. This is the final lesson before the Mock Audition - you will review the audition procedure with the class and students will sign up for their audition slot.

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LESSON PLAN

The Mock Audition

by Lindsay Price

Today is the Mock Audition. In this lesson, you will play director and audition students for one of four roles in the play ‘Jealousy Jane.’ Use the Monologue Performance Rubric to assess their performance.

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LESSON PLAN

After the Audition

by Lindsay Price

How did students feel about their audition? Did they get a part? What is their response if they didn’t? This wrap up lesson allows students to unpack their experience with this unit and participate in a final reflection. This is not a full class lesson.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Monologue Writing

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will start the process of writing a monologue by storytelling. They will tell a story based only on what they observe in a picture.

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LESSON PLAN

The Story Mountain Framework

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will understand the parts of a story and how it relates to a monologue through the story mountain framework.

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LESSON PLAN

Analyzing Monologues

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will plot out the steps of the story mountain by using existing monologues.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Writing

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will start writing their own monologue, using a pre-selected phrase as a starting point.

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LESSON PLAN

Drafting a Monologue

by Matthew Banaszynski

Using their rough drafts from the starter prompts, students will work in pairs to edit their drafts to make cleaner stories. Students will also map out their drafts on a Story Mountain diagram to make sure that they follow the proper format.

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LESSON PLAN

More Minds Are Better Than One

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will work in groups to turn their previous drafts into completed monologues.

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LESSON PLAN

Performing a Monologue

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will perform their monologues in front of the class and reflect on the process.

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LESSON PLAN

Articulation

by Anna Porter

Students will learn the importance of articulation, how to identify the articulators in their mouth, and how to use good articulation when speaking.

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LESSON PLAN

Vocal Variety

by Anna Porter

Students will learn how to use vocal variety to communicate. Students will learn how to identify and apply Pitch, Tone, Rate, and Volume in performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Character and Puppet Design

by Anna Porter

Students will create a character and design a puppet for performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Vocal Characterization and Accent

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how they can use vocal variety and accents to create an interesting character voice.

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LESSON PLAN

Exploring Spoken Word Poetry

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of the lesson is for students to create and perform a spoken word poetry piece. Spoken word is poetry that is meant to be performed for an audience, rather than just read on a page. It allows students the opportunity to share their thoughts, and provides a platform for them to do so. It also builds on important performance skills taught in the drama classroom, including memorization and rehearsal, vocal projection, enunciation, tone, gestures and facial expressions, and confidence.

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LESSON PLAN

Using Theatre to Share and Celebrate History

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of the lesson is for students to explore historical events that are significant to them through various theatrical mediums that may seem unusual or “out of the box.” The inspiration for this lesson plan comes from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s theatrical hit Hamilton, which utilizes rap and hip-hop music and colourblind casting to tell the story of the American founding fathers.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Pantomime

by Anna Porter

Students will warm up using a pantomime interview and a relaxation exercise. Students will go on a pantomime hike and participate in a “pretend you are walking” game at the end of the lesson.

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LESSON PLAN

Body Language

by Anna Porter

Students will explore body language by examining the art of flirting. Body language is further examined and explored through a living museum, as well as frozen scenarios that students will create.

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LESSON PLAN

Posture and Characterization

by Anna Porter

Students will explore characterization by examining posture and playing a version of Musical Chairs with “proper” posture. Students will also explore specific character physicality by playing a relay game where they must take on and then pass along the physical characterization of specific characters.

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LESSON PLAN

Objects and Consistency

by Anna Porter

Students will explore the details associated with objects through a “Magic Box” activity. Students will then explore the importance of consistency in pantomime by preparing a simple action for performance. They will practice ensemble work and consistency by preparing a group task pantomime, then performing it in synchronized form.

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LESSON PLAN

Exaggeration

by Anna Porter

Students will play with exaggerated resistance through a pantomime Tug of War and Object Toss. Students will further explore exaggerated emotion through a mirror exercise with a partner where they will progressively exaggerate an emotion physically. They will demonstrate their understanding of both exaggerated resistance and emotion by performing a short skit based on over the top soccer injuries.

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LESSON PLAN

Pantomime Story and Performance

by Anna Porter

Students will create a simple pantomime story and prepare a pantomime for performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Play in a Week

by Steven Stack

In this student driven activity, students will work together to put up a short one act play from audition to production within a one week time limit. The purpose of the activity is to show students, quickly, how important it is to work together, to collaborate, and to negotiate as a group. This is also a good activity to apply responsibility. The students themselves are responsible for all aspects of this activity - you should only take on an advisory role. Give feedback when asked but don’t act as a director or make decisions for your students. The point is not a “perfect” production but to give students an activity where they must work together in order to succeed. The process is more important than the product.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction

by Anna Porter

Have students create a situation from a picture and examine the given clues to help fill in the gaps. Next, have students examine the clues in a contentless scene, then fill in the gaps to create their own scenario to perform.

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LESSON PLAN

Show and Tell Characterization

by Anna Porter

Students will use “Show and Tell” to create a detailed background for their contentless scene character and improvise a personal interview with that character.

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LESSON PLAN

Thou Shalts of Staging and Performance

by Anna Porter

Students will participate in a demonstration to explore the rules of staging and performance and why they are important. They will perform a Bad Idea/Good Idea skit for the class, to demonstrate their understanding of the concept.

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LESSON PLAN

Environmental and Personal Conflict

by Anna Porter

Students will play a drama game and participate in an exercise to explore how conflict affects their active tactics. Students apply conflict to a scene for performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Stage Business

by Anna Porter

Students will participate in an observation activity and play “What Are You Doing?” to explore how stage business affects performance. In this lesson, you will coach students through a scene with stage business, then they will apply stage business to their own performances.

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LESSON PLAN

Contentless Scene - Preview Day

by Anna Porter

Students review what they have studied in this unit as well as how to give and use constructive feedback. Students will pair up with another scene group, then perform for each other. Students will use the Preview Worksheet to help guide and assess their previews and critiques.

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LESSON PLAN

Final Performance

by Anna Porter

Students will perform and be evaluated on the contentless scene that they have prepared during the unit.

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LESSON PLAN

Transitions

by Kerry Hishon

To practice planning and performing transitions between scenes in a smooth and well-prepared manner, with increasingly shorter time frames and other challenges.

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LESSON PLAN

Approaching Random Tasks in Character

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is for students to delve deeper into their roles by experimenting with performing a variety of everyday tasks while in character. As well, it offers students the chance to explore different ways of moving and thinking while in character.

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LESSON PLAN

Can You Hear Me Now? A Peer-Led Volume Exercise

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is twofold: first, for students have the opportunity to perform individually onstage to practice volume, diction, and enunciation while speaking, and receive feedback from their peers on those elements. Second, students will then observe others’ performances and give feedback to their peers. Two challenges in one lesson!

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LESSON PLAN

Same Lines, Different Meanings

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is for students to explore different ways of analyzing text, to make their character’s lines rich and full of emotion and meaning. This lesson provides three exploratory exercises (which can be used individually as desired) as well as a culminating assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Real World Applications: Swings, Standbys, and Understudies

by Lindsay Price

In this real world application lesson students view videos of a theatre profession, complete viewing quizzes, and hand in a Reflection.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting vs. Performing a Song

by Annie Dragoo

In musicals, it is important to remember that acting does not stop when the music begins. In this lesson, students will learn to find meaning behind the lyrics of a song so that they can convey the character’s feelings while performing.

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LESSON PLAN

A Cross-Curricular Performance Challenge

by Kerry Hishon

To use theatrical techniques to present a short lesson from another class in a creative and entertaining way. The lessons and methods of presentation are only limited by the students’ imaginations.

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LESSON PLAN

The Musical Theatre Audition Slate

by Annie Dragoo

Making a first impression is the most important part of an audition. By learning to slate with confidence, students will learn how to introduce themselves in an musical theatre audition.

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LESSON PLAN

How to Practice Cold Reading

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is to introduce the concept of cold reading to your students, and provide them with an opportunity to
practice and perform cold readings within the classroom.

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LESSON PLAN

The Musical Theatre Audition Porfolio Project

by Annie Dragoo

Part of the audition process is preparation. And that is not just memorizing a single monologue or one song. It’s preparing a wide variety of material for a variety of situations. By preparing an audition portfolio, students will be ready for any type of audition that may arise. The portfolio will also help students explore different genres of musical theatre.

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LESSON PLAN

Persuasive Actions & Objectives

by Rachel Atkins

In this lesson, students explore character objectives: They will use facial expression and physical gestures to make statues of different actions that characters might take to get what they want. Students will work with a partner to create tableaux (frozen stage pictures) to show a specific action and response. They will write an argument in which they identify a specific action – and then support that claim with evidence from the statues and tableaux.

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LESSON PLAN

Persuasive Actions With Vocal Expression

by Rachel Atkins

In this lesson, students explore word choice, emotion, and vocal expression in communication. They will select an objective or argument and actions to support it. They will write lines of dialogue to match different actions. They will choose an emotion that correspond with the line and action, and practice speaking their lines with emotion and vocal expression. Finally, they will write an argument explaining how a line expresses a specific action – and support it with evidence.

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LESSON PLAN

Improvised Arguments

by Rachel Atkins

In this final lesson, students explore two different characters whose opposing points of view or arguments create a conflict. They will identify the objectives or arguments for each character. They will act out a scene between those two characters multiple times, playing both characters. Finally, they will write an argument from one character’s point of view – and support it with evidence.

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LESSON PLAN

An Organic Approach to Objective, Obstacle, Action/Tactic

by Rachel Atkins

This lesson introduces the idea of “Objective/Goal, Obstacle, and Action/Tactic” as a powerful building block for actors and to introduce the concept of working with verbs as tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Scores and Beats

by John Minigan

This lesson introduces the idea of “Objective/Goal, Obstacle, and Action/Tactic” to simple scenes by scoring those scenes and playing the scored text.

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LESSON PLAN

Power Plays in Three Statues

by John Minigan

This lesson incorporates physicality into stage relationships and learn to use stage position as an element of
blocking that can show the dynamics of and changes in power in a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Eight-Line Power Plays

by John Minigan

This lesson combines the work done in Lesson 2 (scoring scenes by beats) with the physical work done in
Lesson 3 (creating dynamically staged scenes by connecting choices in blocking/staging to the
underlying structural elements in a scene).

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LESSON PLAN

Acting the Other and Intensifying the Tactics

by John Minigan

This lesson includes a series of improv games to focus students on “the other” rather than “the self,” on listening, on sharing their energy with scene partners, and on collaboration in acting.

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LESSON PLAN

The Beats in Every Scene

by John Minigan

Students will work in pairs to create and perform two-minute scenes focused on clear objectives, clear obstacles, multiple tactics – and they will learn to give focused feedback.

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LESSON PLAN

Differences Between Stage Acting and Film Acting & Vocabulary

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will be able to identify some of the major differences between acting for the stage and the camera. They will also be able to understand and use vocabulary that is specific to working on film sets and acting for the camera.

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LESSON PLAN

Exercises in Acting for the Camera

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will watch some of a workshop in acting for the camera and do some exercises that help them practice some of the differences between stage acting and film acting.

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LESSON PLAN

Finding Your Quality

by Ruthie Tutterow

After discussing the essence and quality of their favorite actors, students will record themselves having a conversation. Then they will transcribe their conversation and perform it as a script. These “scenes” will be recorded. Students will then be assigned to describe the “quality” of a fellow student.

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LESSON PLAN

Commercials

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will act in and direct a commercial. They will break down a script into shots to “cover” the script. They will also format a script into video and audio. Actors will need to hit marks, make a point concisely, and hit the time format of the commercial. They should use the acting techniques for film as much as possible. Students will also need to think creatively to work in socially distant circumstances.

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LESSON PLAN

Differences Between Stage Acting and Film Acting & Vocabulary

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will be able to identify some of the major differences between acting for the stage and the camera. They will also be introduced to terms used on film sets and for acting for the camera and be ready to use those terms in upcoming projects.

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LESSON PLAN

Exercises in Acting for the Camera

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will watch some of a workshop in acting for the camera and do some exercises that help them practice some of the differences between stage acting and film acting.

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LESSON PLAN

Finding Your Quality

by Ruthie Tutterow

After discussing their favorite actors, students will record themselves having a conversation. Then they will transcribe their conversation and perform it as a script. These “scenes” will be recorded. Students will then be assigned to describe the “quality” of a fellow student.

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LESSON PLAN

Commercials

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will act in and direct a commercial. They will break a script down into shots to “cover” the script. They will also format a script into video and audio. Actors will need to hit marks, make a point concisely, and hit the time format of the commercial. They should also use the acting techniques for film as much as possible.

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LESSON PLAN

Truth and Spontaneity

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will make discoveries about truth in acting. They will also do some exercises where they must make a spontaneous rather than a preplanned response for the exercise to be successful.

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LESSON PLAN

Repetition Class 1

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will start the process of letting go of their need to control the moment and learn to let moments happen.

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LESSON PLAN

Repetition Class 2

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will continue to use repetition exercises to learn how to be present and work off their partner. They will begin to “tune” to identifying the reactions of others.

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LESSON PLAN

Repetition Review and Activity Prep

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will use repetition to start working off of one another. This time, they will add observations of each other’s behavior. They will learn about how to select a task for the next step of acting work. Adding tasks will help students practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

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LESSON PLAN

Really Doing What You're Doing

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will do some improvisations with repetition and tasks in order to practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

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LESSON PLAN

Preparation

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will learn some Meisner-based techniques for preparing for acting monologues and scenes.

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LESSON PLAN

Meisner Scene Workshop

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will put their preparation together with fully doing an activity and playing off their partner in scenework.

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LESSON PLAN

Truth and Spontaneity

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will make discoveries about truth in acting. They will also do some exercises where they must make a spontaneous rather than a preplanned response for the exercise to be successful.

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LESSON PLAN

What is Meisner About?

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will start the process of letting go of their need to control the moment and learn to let moments happen. They will also learn the central ideas of what Meisner training is about.

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LESSON PLAN

Repetition Class

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will continue to use repetition exercises to learn how to be present and work off their partner. They will begin to “tune” to identifying the reactions of others.

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LESSON PLAN

Repetition Review and Activity Prep

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will use repetition to start working off of one another. This time, they will add observations of each other’s behavior. They will learn about how to select an activity for the next step of acting work. Adding activities will help students practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

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LESSON PLAN

Really Doing What You're Doing

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will do some improvisations with repetition and activities in order to practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

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LESSON PLAN

Preparation

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will learn some Meisner-based techniques for preparing for acting monologues and scenes.

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LESSON PLAN

Meisner Scene Workshop

by Ruthie Tutterow

Students will put their preparation together with fully doing an activity and playing off their partner in scenework.

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Resources

RESOURCE

A Pause for Pauses

Pauses serve a great purpose in theatre. What's not being said in that pause? Here's an acting exercise to use in rehearsal.

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RESOURCE

Just Breathe

Breathing exercises for student actors.

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Poster: Acting Tips

Five things every actor should reflect on before stepping onstage.

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Script Analysis for Student Actors

Five Steps to Building your Foundation through script analysis.

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RESOURCE

Be Amazing In Two Minutes Or Less

An audition guide for student actors. Covers choosing, preparing, and performing monologues. Plus - how to process feedback.

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RESOURCE

Actions List

Use this actions list for improvs, scene work, and pantomimes

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Emotions List

Do your students use the same emotions over and over again in scene work or in improvs? Get them used to expanding their feeling horizon with this list.

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RESOURCE

Objects List

Looking for new objects for students to use in improvs, mimes and scene work? This sheet has over 200 objects to choose from!

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RESOURCE

Script Analysis For Actors: Action Words

This exercise looks at exploring your script through action words. The idea is to find the “action” in your dialogue. I’m not talking about blocking. I’m talking about visualizing action, injecting movement and life into your performance.

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RESOURCE

Example of Student and Parent Contract

This is a template and example you can use with your student actors to ensure commitment and a clear understanding of expectations across all aspects of a high school production. There is also an example parent/guardian contract included, to ensure their understanding regarding production commitments, including attendance, participation fees, and parent volunteer opportunities. These are both designed to help you communicate with your student actors and parents in order to set your cast and families up for a successful production.

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RESOURCE

Acting: Playing it Straight

Use this movie moment to teach students about how important it is to play comedy straight and never “wink” to the audience.

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Acting: Playing the Opposite

Sometimes when beginning actors approach difficult text, they play exactly what’s on the page. If it’s a sad monologue - they play the whole thing sad from start to finish. If they think the character is mad, they’ll yell all their dialogue. There is a time and place to play a moment as written. But more often than not the most powerful option is to play the opposite. A great example of this is Robert Shaw’s USS Indianapolis speech from Jaws.

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RESOURCE

The Secret Scene Partner

Teach students how to create a secret scene partner when they perform a monologue.

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Acting: Playing with Pace

Pace is an important part of monologue and dialogue delivery. Use this movie moment to teach students about playing with the delivery speed.

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Learning Lines

Learning lines comes easy for some and not so easy for others. Download these exercises you can use with your students to get those lines down pat.

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There are no small parts, only small choices

How can we keep every actor engaged? Give them something to explore, even if they only have one line. Do this exercise with your class or with your cast. Every actor can benefit from learning how to approach a single line.

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RESOURCE

Why so Emotional? A Guide for Highly Charged Scenes

A guide for teachers to help with their student actors; to find the right balance within an emotional performance, including exercises that can be explored to counteract overemotional acting.

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RESOURCE

Audition Advice

Four key steps to preparing for an audition are outlined in this guide that will help students prepare for auditions.

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RESOURCE

Picture Prompt: Awkward

Students sometimes have a hard time with improv because they don’t know where to start. How do I make up lines on the spot? All they need is a little push to get them moving in the right direction. Use picture prompts.

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RESOURCE

Playing Status

Use these two monologues from the movie Little Voice to discuss status and changing status with your students.

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Competition Do's and Don'ts

Actors who are about the same age and level tend to have the same challenges. Allison Williams has created this guide to do’s and don’t when competing with a monologue or scene.

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RESOURCE

Becoming a Professional Actor: Acting School

Some professional actors attend an acting school after high school. Some don’t. Which is the right
path? Training is never a bad thing. But there’s no one answer to the kind of training a professional
actor needs.

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RESOURCE

Becoming a Professional Actor: Avoiding Scams

Young actors fall prey to scams every day. They so want to be in the business, they’ll do anything to make it happen. Unfortunately there are many people out there who know this and will also do anything to get money out of the naive actor. Read this guide to learn how to avoid scams for actors starting out.

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RESOURCE

Becoming a Professional Actor: Headshots and Resumes

Headshots and resumes are necessary. They say what you look like and what you’ve done. If you want to become a professional actor it’s important to know the ins and outs of both. Make them simple and straightforward. No bells and whistles. This guide has all your student actors need to know.

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RESOURCE

Duet Characters List

Looking for character duet ideas for students to use in improvs, mimes and scene work? Over 85 pairs to choose from!

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Reflection Sheets

A set of six reflection worksheets to use in rehearsals, group activities, and performance.

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Scene Work: Where do I Start?

What steps should you take before you start rehearsals? Use this 8 step handout to get your students ready to rehearse.

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Acting in Shakespeare and Classical Plays

This one page handout is a great guide for students to keep in mind when performing the Bard and other classical works.

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Active Verb List

This 3 page list of active verbs will help to get action out of your actors in a scene. Encourage the actors to play both physically and vocally with the verb.

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Scenes for Classroom Study: The Snow Show

These resources are designed for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Ramona (16) and Jenny (16)
Genre: Dramedy

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RESOURCE

How To Prepare a Theatrical Resume

Tips and tricks for preparing a Theatrical Resume - as well as a sample for students to start from.

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Using Multiple Tactics

This resource provides a video example of multiple tactics to spark a discussion with your students.

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Research Project: Acting Teachers

In groups, students will research a well known acting teacher, give a presentation and teach an exercise.

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RESOURCE

Laban's Eight Efforts

Rudolf Laban was a choreographer and a dancer. He defined human movement into eight efforts. Each movement has four component parts (direction, speed, weight, flow). Those four component parts have two elements to them (direct/indirect, quick/sustained, heavy/light, bound/ free).

Use these “efforts” to give your students specific choices when it comes to character's physicalization. Choose an effort that defines how they move.

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RESOURCE

The Comedy Cornerstones for Commedia

A guide to the four necessary comedic tools for playing Commedia dell’arte: status, appetite, swing, and intention/invention.

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The Five Keys every Actor Needs to Know

Learn the five keys that every actor needs to know when rehearsing a play - designed to help students to their best work.

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Improvising Your Monologue Exercise

Use this exercise in the middle of a monologue project, to get students to the heart of the monologue, using improvisation techniques.

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Poster: Theatre Audience Etiquette

A printable poster for your classroom or theatre - a few simple rules for theatre audience etiquette!

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Uta Hagen's 9 Questions

In Respect for Acting, Uta identified 9 questions an actor should ask themselves as they prepare. It’s all about being as specific as possible. Introduce the 9 questions to your students, and use the included worksheet and reflection.

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RESOURCE

Shakespeare Exercise: Physicalizing the Punctuation

Use this exercise with the Shakespeare you are studying (or the included monologue) to answer the question: how can punctuation give clues an actor can use to help act the scene?

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Shakespeare Exercise: Tomb Scene

This exercise encourages students to examine the language of a scene for clues on character action. Shakespeare often tells actors exactly what to “do.”

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High and Low Status

One of the ways that we can learn about status is by physically playing status in the body. Use these descriptions to physicalize high/low status with your students in the Status Walks Game.

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The 24 Hour Student Playwriting Festival

What is a 24 hour playwriting festival? Student playwrights gather together and write for 12 hours. (eg: 8pm to 8am) Student directors and actors then cast, stage, rehearse and perform during the next 12 hours (8am to 8pm). Everything from concept to production takes place within 24 hours. Follow the step by step outline in the resource.

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Memorization Tips, Tricks and Techniques

It’s a question that comes up time and time again - How do I get my students to memorize their lines. What strategies do you use? Here are 7 strategies for students to use both on their own, and in rehearsal.

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Character Maps

Use these character maps to help students delve deeper into character analysis.

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The Basics of Theatrical Performance

10 basics for performers to consider when evaluating their theatrical performance.

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Monologue Information Sheet

Use this template to track a monologue, including play details, character details, objectives, obstacles, tactics, and more.

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PLCs

PLC

Let's get physical

Hosted by Matt Webster, Allison Williams

Join us for tips and tricks on getting your students to make bold physical choices in their work.

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