Courses

PD COURSE

Introduction to Teaching Mask

by Allison Williams

In Introduction to Teaching Mask, Allison Williams gives you a toolkit of mask and movement exercises to teach students to make big, confident physical choices, to work in their bodies, and play different characters - masked and unmasked.

Access to masks is required, but previous experience with masks is not.

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PD COURSE

Strong Ensemble = Strong Play

by Craig Mason

This mini-course will give you a toolkit to bring your shows to the next level by having an engaged, active, ensemble.

The ensemble is a critical part of a large cast show. But you can't leave them to fend for themselves. They need structure. They need exercises and activities.

In Strong Ensemble = Strong Play, you'll be given ensemble-building exercises. You'll also discover specific activities that will help your ensemble become three-dimensional characters who have something to do and something to play in every moment they are on stage.

We'll look at case studies that take the exercises learned in the course and apply them to specific shows.

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PD COURSE

Laban: Advanced Characterization

by Todd Espeland

Learn about the Laban system to teach your students to physically and vocally discover character. This is an advanced course, which means that the course goes deep into exploring character and exploring character work through the work of Rudolph Laban.

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PD COURSE

The Dilemma Project

by Claire Broome

Moral dilemmas are not only faced by characters in gripping plays, but are also faced by our students. The project outlined in this course will help students develop their critical thinking skills through the use of one of the dilemma questions to shape a student written production.

If you had the choice to press a button and earn $25,000,000... but a species (not of your choosing) would become extinct, what would you do? More importantly, what would your character do?

Join drama teacher and playwright Claire Broome through this course which includes role-playing, Stanislavski’s Magic If, character creation, playwriting and staging.

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Lesson Plans

LESSON PLAN

Status Monkeys

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how status affects characterization and character actions by participating in the “Status Monkeys” game as well as other status-based interactions.

The lesson begins with a status demonstration using students. It then moves onto an "unknown status" activity where students react to the status of others without knowing their own status. How do you treat a low status character compared to a high status character?

The final activity is an animal imagery exercise where the students are all monkeys in a jungle with an assigned status. They must explore survival tactics available to someone of their particular status.

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LESSON PLAN

Subtext with Secrets

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how background and subtext can help create a scene with honest emotion and depth by exploring secrets.

Students create a secret to explore their character and apply it to a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Show and Tell Switch

by Anna Porter

Students apply the questions used in a Character Analysis Worksheet to create a character background for themselves.
Students use this to help them understand the importance of details and commitment to character choices by creating a believable Show and Tell presentation with an unknown object.

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LESSON PLAN

Reflection in Role: Character Development Through Script Analysis

by Lindsay Price

Playwrights leave hints and tips in the text as signposts for character building. But how do you find those hints? How do you use them to develop a character?

In this lesson plan, students will examine scenes from my plays, identify character development clues, and apply those clues. The included teaching script will show you those character clues so you know what students are looking for. The Scenes are included in the plan as well as a reflection rubric.

The analysis areas are: facts and concrete assumptions, sentence structure, and strong forms need strong characters.

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LESSON PLAN

The Speed Date

by Stephanie-Ann Cocking

Students create a character and maintain that character throughout an activity.

Students create an original character by filling out a form. These characters participate in a speed date round. Female characters sit in an outer circle of chairs. Male characters rotate clockwise through an inner circle of chairs.The characters introduce themselves and talk for one minute before moving on to the next meeting. Teacher pairs students up and in their pairs student plans and present a short improv: The First Date.

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LESSON PLAN

Character Development in the Shakespearean Monologue

by Lindsay Price

To demonstrate how modern character development exercises apply to Shakespearean characters.

Students apply exercises to a character from Shakespeare by examining at the character’s foreground and background, answering character questions, and creating the character’s physicality. This will demystify the process of preparing a Shakespearean monologue and give students the tools they need to prepare a monologue on their own.

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LESSON PLAN

Tactic Fairies

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how tactics are active and how to use them to achieve their character’s objective.

Students consider the tactics they use to get what they want in their everyday lives and then demonstrate how to use various tactics for an assigned objective by playing “Tactic Fairies.” Two students act out a scene, while their "fairies" make them change their tactic 4 or 5 times to get what they want. This instills that a character can't just repeat the same tactic over and over again, or try one tactic and stop. The consequence of certain tactics is also introduced.

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LESSON PLAN

Creating a Voice for a Character

by Elisabeth Oppelt

Students will demonstrate how to use vocal aspects in character creation.

The lesson teaches students how to create a specific character voice,considering volume, rate and pitch.

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LESSON PLAN

I am a Fortress: Character Development

by Lindsay Price

Students create physical and vocal attributes based on a visual - images of buildings. Students will also take turns coaching the exercise to the class to demonstrate their comprehension.

Includes images and two assessment rubrics.

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LESSON PLAN

Character Improv

by Marisa Peck

Students will choose a character and become that character (physically and vocally). They will then collaborate with other characters in the classroom to create and perform an improvised scene.

Students explore known characters, characters based on traits, and non-human characters both physically and vocally before choosing their own. Lesson also explores the principle of "Yes...And."

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LESSON PLAN

Shakespearean Language: Match the Quotes

by Lindsay Price

Students will identify unfamiliar words on a page of Shakespeare quotes, translate those quotes into modern English, and act out the quotes to identify character/play clues. Students will then complete a quotes assignment and reflection. Plus! Bonus assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Tactics

by Elisabeth Oppelt

Tactics are how characters get what they want from other people on stage. They are verbs used to describe how a character behaves to get others to do what they want. In this lesson students will learn what tactics are and be able to create a list of possible tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Objectives

by Elisabeth Oppelt

A character’s objective is what a character wants. It is based in what they want from another person, using the formula “I want [person] to do [thing I want them to do.]” The objective is what drives all of their action while on stage. In this lesson students will learn what objectives are and how to write one for a character.

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LESSON PLAN

Superhero Public/Private

by Lindsay Price

Students will create a character based on a superhero. They are to establish their walk, how they use their super power, how they talk, and know some background details. Once this “public” side is established, students will add in the “private.” What is this superhero like, at home, when they are alone and not in the public eye? There has to be something surprising and unexpected in their presentation.

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LESSON PLAN

It’s all in a name: Character Building

by Lindsay Price

In this multi-class lesson plan students will construct a character from scratch. They will start with a name, decide on a physicality, come up with personality details based on that physicality and then answer interview questions in character.

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: Who Am I?

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP; students study a picture, create a character profile for the person in the picture, and then write an inner monologue for that character.

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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

Rejection through Movement and Character

by Lindsay Price

Learning to deal with rejection and turn rejection into a positive motivator is a lifelong skill. In this multi-class lesson, students will reflect on and discuss their views on rejection, theatricalize that view through movement, research someone who has found success only after rejection and failure, and theatricalize that information.

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LESSON PLAN

Costuming: Fashion Trends Onstage

by Holly Beardsley

Costumes are a visual medium and so is theatre. A theatrical vision is incomplete without costuming. In this Lesson Plan, students will answer questions in order to develop a costuming vision for a show.

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LESSON PLAN

Crumpled Paper

by Karen Loftus

Some students dread writing. Just the thought of pencil and paper make them want to crumple up that paper and throw it.
Well, now they can. In this exercise, students are introduced to story elements such as character, objective, obstacle/conflict, tactics, and resolution. Pairs of students add each new story element to an ever growing story that can be shared with the class. Reflection and Rubric included.

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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

Subtext: Pass the Salt

by Lindsay Price

Subtext is the underlying meaning in a text. What is a character thinking? Learning to apply subtext to a scene is an excellent character development tool. It encourages students to think about “the why” behind a line. “Why does a character say this line? Why do they use a particular inflection? What are they really trying to say?

In this lesson plan, students explore the meaning of subtext, practice applying subtext in dialogue and to create their own scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Improvisation: Characters

by Jennine Profeta

Characters have a lot of value in empowering your students’ improv. In this lesson, students will start to explore character in improv with the warm up game “Character Walkabout” and the improv game “Hitchhiker.”

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: What Happens After “The End”?

by Lindsay Price

You have finished studying a text in class. What happens next? In this Emergency Lesson Plan, students discuss and decide what happens next in a play. What happens after “the end?” Where do the characters go? What path will their lives take? Students will turn this discussion into a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: What Happens Next?

by Lindsay Price

What happens next? In this Emergency Lesson Plan, students discuss and decide what happens next in a play. They will turn this discussion into a written scene. Use this ELP at the beginning of a unit.

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LESSON PLAN

The Difference Between Want & Need

by Lindsay Price

One approach to character development is to identify the difference between what characters want vs. what they need. Sometimes students get the two mixed up. Which is more important? Do plays always identify characters as having both? In this lesson plan, students identify the difference between want and need, then apply that knowledge with scenes/monologues.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Improv

by Anna Porter

Students explore how to trust themselves and work with others in improvisation through activities as well as playing games - Story Game, What are you doing?, and Press Conference.

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LESSON PLAN

Characterization and One Focus

by Anna Porter

Students explore Characterization and One Focus by participating in activities and playing Ding, Emotional Waiter and Party Quirks.

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LESSON PLAN

Conflict and Tell a Complete Story

by Anna Porter

Students explore the importance and types of conflict as well as the importance of telling a complete story. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the rules of improvisation through their final performance in Freeze as well as a written quiz.

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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

Character

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will work on a character profile and apply character development details to a monologue or scene. Students will also receive the criteria for their culminating project and start work on their outlines.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing and In-Depth Character Profile

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. They will read an excerpt of their play aloud and receive feedback. Students will also receive an In-depth Character Profile sheet to help them apply critical thinking skills to their draft.

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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

Emergency Lesson Plan: Character Study

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will read a scene with two characters. Students will read the scene and then analyze the characters. Who are they? What specific character traits do they have? What evidence is there in the text to support your opinion? Students will then reflect on the characters: Who do they connect with most? Who do they connect with least? Who would you want to play/not want to play and why?

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LESSON PLAN

Question Your Character (Without Judgement)

by Kerry Hishon

To consider the difference between thinking critically about a character and judging a character.

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Resources

RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Body Body

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Madeline (15) and Emily (18)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Boys and Girls

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Keith (17) and Cameron (16)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Still as Stone

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Shelley and Ben (both 17)
Genre: Dramedy

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Sunday Lunch

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Devon (17) and Rayden (15)
Genre: Dramedy

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Sweep Under Rug

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Miranda, Counsellor Kelly, Conrad, Ariel
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: The Bright Blue Mailbox Suicide Note

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Jake, Ken, Moe, Dennis, Karen, Lisa, Joan (all 17)
Genre: Dramedy

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Look Me in the Eye

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Rul (16), Rea (16), Tor (17), Fea (14), Vio (17)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Betweenity

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Mom (45) and Daughter (17)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: You

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: John (17), Juan (16), Joe (17)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Among Friends and Clutter

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Jo, May, Helen. (all 16)
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Character Development: Shakespeare

It's easy to ignore character development in a Shakespeare monologue. There's so many other things to think about! But it's doubly important to pay attention to your character – the character is what makes your monologue come to life. Learn how to make Shakespeare character come to life.

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: The Four Hags of the Apocalypse Eat Salad at their General Meeting

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Devour, Image, Purge, Starve
Genre: Drama

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Hoodie

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Trilby (12) and Charlotte (12)
Genre: Dramedy

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Body Body (Scene 2)

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Gerald and Madeline (both 16)
Genre: Comedy

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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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RESOURCE

A Midsummer Night's Dream Character Warm-up

Use this exercise in the early days of rehearsal or even as part of your audition process. It allows students to get into the physical side of a character without having to worry about hitting the “thees” and “thous.” This works well with any Shakespeare play.

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RESOURCE

Scenes for Classroom Study: Beauty and the Bee

Use this scene in your classroom for character study, scene work, substitute teachers, performance, Individual Event competitions, and however else you can imagine.
Characters: Catherine (17) and Cossett (14)
Genre: Comedy

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RESOURCE

The 10 Line Scene

Practice the act of writing a two character, one location scene with these short exercises. Whatever the scenario, limit the length: 10 lines per character.

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RESOURCE

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

Headline Characters Exercise

Use this exercise to practice creating characters and then writing the first few lines of a monologue. Students will use a headline as a jumping off point.

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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

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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RESOURCE

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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Language Profile Sheet

This exercise helps students think about how their characters sound.

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Character Maps

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

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Character Menu

This exercise is a way for students to show how well they know a character.

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RESOURCE

Commedia Stock Characters

Use this handy chart to review Commedia stock characters and their descriptions.

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RESOURCE

Commedia Exercise: Opposite Day

This exercise helps to demonstrate the concept of status, and how the status of a character affects how they act and how they treat others.

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RESOURCE

Duo Scene Information Sheet

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

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RESOURCE

What Does Your Character Want to DO?

The actor has to only ask one question—what does the character want to do? (Bill Ball, A Sense of Direction)
• The to-do part is essential. It leads to action, and action is at the core of the acting process.
• That’s why it’s called acting, not talking.
• The to-do provides the character with a purpose.
This resource offers a list of potential 'to-do's to apply to scene work.

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RESOURCE

What STOPS Your Character?

Obstacles are the barriers and limitations the character must overcome to achieve their goal.
• Obstacles can be internal, such as emotional, psychological factors.
• External obstacles include an “other.”
• Obstacles are not limitations. Plays are about characters in conflict, characters in crisis.
• Obstacles spark creativity.
This worksheet helps actors define the obstacles in their scene work. What stops YOUR character?

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RESOURCE

Character Bio

Students create a bio on the character they know best – themselves.

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PLCs

PLC

Tackling Difficult Characters Head-On

Hosted by Matt Webster, Lindsay Price, Alicia Green, Amy Patel

How do you encourage students to delve deep into difficult, perhaps ugly characters, characters who do and say things your students normally wouldn’t?

We’ll be talking about character and script analysis, separation of actor and character, and we’ll learn how to recognize the external nature of the work. How do we prepare our actors and our school environment ready for challenging roles?

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