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Devising

Created by Corinna Rezzelle

What is devising? It’s a process of playwriting as a group. Plays are created through improvisation, process dramas, and a lot of teamwork. The Devising Unit includes an overview to get you started, and 12 lessons jam-packed with activities.

This unit includes doing some basic Forum Theatre, which is a technique coined by Augusto Boal. It covers Process Drama in a variety of ways such as Hot Seating, Role on the Wall, and a fun exercise called “Character Bag”. There are also some great bonding games for your students to enjoy.

This unit is designed to show students (and teachers) that playwriting doesn’t have to be a solitary, lonely exercise. It can be a fun, sometimes chaotic, and very energetic experience.

Standards Addressed

Unit Overview
The overview includes information on the unit, a list of the 12 lesson plans, materials needed, and unit goals, objectives, and assessment tools.
1: Characterization
Students explore what makes a character interesting through the examination of physical objects. What do objects say about us? What can you infer about a person by the objects they carry with them? Students will role-play in process drama activities to explore characters and to create their own.
2: Physicalization / Stage Movement
Students explore how body language can show a story (i.e. how someone is feeling, character traits, relationships between characters, etc.). The lesson culminates in students using a physical elliptical scene (a scene with just stage directions) and adding movements, gestures, and body language.
3: Contentless Scenes / Building Scenes
In this lesson, students will start their scene work first with a contentless scene, a one-minute scene, and then (for homework) write a one-page scene based on a real life experience.
4: Choosing a Topic
In this lesson, students discuss and choose a topic for their devised piece.
5: Beginning to Write
In this lesson, students begin putting the pieces together for their devised work. Students brainstorm on their topic, then participate in a movement piece and a forum theatre activity to explore their topic.
6: Building the Play
In this lesson, students continue to build the play by writing and revising scenes, reading each other’s work, and providing feedback.
7: The Ren Run
In this lesson, students will work in groups to create transitions in improvised tableaux and movement pieces. They will also participate in a “ren run” to practice improv blocking.
8: Revision
In this lesson students watch the Ren Run then discuss the topic of revision. What is the message of the play? How do the scenes communicate the message? Note: Depending on the amount of revisions your students feel the play needs, revising might take longer than one lesson. Feel free to add time, if need be.
9: Rehearsal
In this lesson, students finalize casting, then start rehearsing. Focus the rehearsals on blocking. What is the necessary movement to communicate the content of the scene?
10: Rehearsal / Character Development
Students continue to rehearse. In this lesson, character development exercises deepen the students’ experiences and final products.
11: Rehearsal / Designing the play
Students continue to rehearse. They also move on to the design phase of the project. The group will decide upon costuming and props for the performance. NOTE: Keep costumes and props simple. Black works well for costumes with colourful accents.
12: Final Rehearsal & Post Show Discussion
Students run the show before their performance. Pre- and post-show discussion questions are included as well as a post show reflection.

Standards Addressed

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