Units

UNIT

Tools of Scene Work

by Anna Porter

Students are introduced to scene work performance through a simple, contentless scene unit. In this unit, performers will use exercises like “Show and Tell” to learn how to fill in the gaps of a story by creating scenarios and detailed characters with backgrounds.

Students will further fill in the gaps by exploring environmental and physical conflict as well as stage business. The lesson “Thou Shalts of Staging” will guide students through basic staging and performance technique.

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UNIT

Scene Work: Part 1, Tools of Scene Work

by Lindsay Price

Students are introduced to scene work performance through a contentless scene unit. Students prepare and perform a contentless scene to demonstrate their understanding of characterization, staging technique, and working with conflict and stage business in a performance context.

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UNIT

Scene Work: Part 2, Student Self Staging

by Lindsay Price

In Part 2 of Scene Work, students take everything they learned in Part 1 and apply it to the staging of a scene.
Students work independently to block, build character, experiment and rehearse a scene. You can continue the scene work process from Part 1, or if your students have a grounding with scene work basics, perhaps they just do Part 2 of this unit.

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Lesson Plans

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

Emergency Lesson Plan: Scoring a Scene

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will read a scene, identify the beats, apply action words to each beat, and reflect on how they would use this information to present the scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Using Statistics as Scene Starters

by Kerry Hishon

This lesson provides two different exercises for students to try: Silly Statistics (Improv Game) and Serious Statistics (Theatre Exploration Project). The objective of this lesson is to give students the chance to think differently about how scenes can be developed and to show that ideas can come from just about anywhere—even supposedly “non-theatre-related” classes and topics.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 1: Introduction

by Lindsay Price

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

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LESSON PLAN

Session 2: Show and Tell Characterization

by Lindsay Price

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

Session 3: Thou Shalts of Virtual Staging and Performance

by Lindsay Price

Students will participate in a demonstration to explore the rules of virtual 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

Session 4: Environmental and Personal Conflict

by Lindsay Price

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

Session 5: Stage Business

by Lindsay Price

Students will participate in an observation activity and play “What Are You Doing?” to explore how stage business affects performance. In this session, 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

Session 6: Contentless Scene - Preview Day

by Lindsay Price

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

Session 7: Final Performance

by Lindsay Price

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

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LESSON PLAN

Session 1: Script Analysis - The Basics

by Lindsay Price

Students will begin their staging journey by compiling the basics. They will read the scene and identify some general knowledge that will help them play the scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 2: Script Analysis - Close Reading

by Lindsay Price

When analyzing a script, you want students to do a close reading, multiple times, and mine the text for as much information as possible. It’s important to know who your character is, why they act the way they do, and, most importantly, how you can physicalize all your newfound knowledge. At the end of each read, students identify possible staging ideas for their character and for the plot.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 3: Script Analysis - Scoring

by Lindsay Price

The last script analysis step is scoring. To score a scene means to divide the dialogue into beats and then add action words for each beat. Scoring gives students a roadmap for staging.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 4: Staging the Scene - Beats and Action Words

by Lindsay Price

Students will take their script analysis work with beats and action words and apply it to their scene. Students will also start to think about how they will have to adapt staging to a virtual environment.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 5: Staging the Scene - Character Physicalization

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue working on staging techniques by exploring character physicality.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 6: Staging the Scene - Adapting Blocking Notation

by Lindsay Price

Students will solidify blocking notation that can be used in a virtual environment.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 7: Memorization Techniques

by Lindsay Price

The sooner students memorize their lines, the more fun they are going to be able to have with the scene. It’s hard to become a character, fully realize blocking, and make the scene one’s own with a script in hand. Acting begins when lines are memorized. This session will focus on practicing a variety of memorization techniques. They will be applied to Section 1 of the scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 8: Staging the Scene - Character Physicality (2)

by Lindsay Price

Students will revisit character physicality choices and solidify that they are a part of their staging. Additionally, there are some exercises to further explore character physicality. Encourage students to continue to visualize and practice bringing characters to life as they work on their scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 9: Purposeful Action

by Lindsay Price

Students have been through their scene multiple times with specific blocking choices. They have been working on memorization and character physicality. In their rehearsal today, students will review their blocking choices with a specific objective of making every action in the scene purposeful and theatrical.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 10: Removing Actor-Driven Movement

by Lindsay Price

The rehearsal period is coming to a close, and it’s almost time to present. In this rehearsal, students will share their scene with another group with the specific focus of examining it for actor-driven movement rather than character-driven movement: shuffling your weight back and forth between your feet, playing with your hair, vaguely gesturing with your hands, etc.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 11: Final Rehearsal

by Lindsay Price

This is it! The final rehearsal before students perform. Students focus on getting those last few lines word perfect, reflect on where they are, and do final run throughs.

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LESSON PLAN

Session 12: Performing the Scene

by Lindsay Price

Students perform their scene and complete a post-performance reflection.

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Resources

RESOURCE

Location List

Use this list of locations for improv scenarios and scene work.

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RESOURCE

Actions List

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

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RESOURCE

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

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

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

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

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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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

Dialogue Prompts

Use these dialogue prompts for improvisation work. Includes characters, location, want, and a first line for each prompt.

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RESOURCE

First Lines

Use these first lines prompts (list of 35) for monologue and scene work.

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Compare and Contrast (Ancient Greek)

In this exercise students will read a scene in its original form, read a modern adaptation, and then compare and contrast the two.

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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

Scene Self-Staging

Scene Self-Staging: Teaching Students to Block Theatrically & Independently provides an in-depth step-by-step process to help students master their scenes - from choosing a scene to script analysis to presentation.

All material is geared toward independent, student-driven staging - and you can be as involved or as hands-off as you wish. Assessment suggestions are provided for each step, or you can just use the Performance Rubric. Help your students stage their scenes to the best of their ability – and do it all without you!

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RESOURCE

Scene Spurs Volume 2 - Writing Prompts for Dramatic Depth

Scene Spurs is a collection of photo-based writing prompts developed by playwright Lindsay Price. The set includes 35 different Spurs along with an instruction guide to integrate them into your drama classroom.
Volume 2 includes new photos, new prompts, and a new distance learning lesson included.

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RESOURCE

6 ft Scenes

A collection of 15 scenes in which no two characters get within six feet of each other. Use them to explore the physical and emotional distance between people - what causes us to stay apart? Great for class work and competition, and where social distancing is required in class.

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PLCs

PLC

Staging Scenes in the Classroom

Hosted by Matt Webster, Shelby Steege, Jeremy Bishop

Best practices for staging scenes in the drama classroom.

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