Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company
Emotional Baggage

Production Tips for
Emotional Baggage

by Lindsay Price

This is the most unique play we sell. It's based solely on action and has no dialogue. Suitable for performance and in-class work, the play focuses on non-verbal storytelling through mask and movement.

Seven strangers meet in a train station. Instead of luggage, they all carry their "emotional baggage."

They must confront themselves and one another. Everybody carries emotional baggage with them. What's yours?

Dramedy Character Study Experimental Form Movement-based

Average Producer Rating:

Tips from the Author

This play has been performed so many different ways. It’s been done unmasked, in neutral mask, in Commedia dell’arte masks, and in character-specific masks that the cast made themselves.

Each of these choices gives the show a very different tone. What do you want your audience to see? Or, perhaps more importantly, what skills do you want to teach to your cast?

And click here for a downloadable PDF on Getting Physical with Character Development. An excellent start to this unique play!

Tips from past Producers

We had a student at the end come up with an idea----Well rounded was writing little notes to the other characters throughout and leaving them with them, and at the end she leaves the last with lost love....then as she leaves lost love starts to read it, the others slowly see this and read theirs and at the end each of them are individually in the midst of different levels of losing their emotional baggage or deciding to. It was very powerful....
Our process was putting beats to the action described in the script. We found 35 beats that turned into light and sound cues. From there we practiced memorizing the order of the play. Students would literally talk through the actions in order before rehearsing in the masks. We then made a sound track with Vivaldi's Four Seasons to practice movement in the masks. Costumes were introduced next along with rehearsal and production props. We did not have a live audience. The students responded very well to the level of work and in depth character study they had to comment to in order to produce this lovely expression of universal body language this whole world was experiencing through this pandemic.
Their biggest struggle, as middle school students, was believing something was heavy. We got weights from Five Below (8 and 10 pounds) and practiced with those before using the real props. Feel free to share that tip. It helped.
Allow your students to truly collaborate and create together. Share your vision for the show then let them run with it. Encourage very specifically defined movement qualities for each character. Exploration using any movement training or techniques like Viewpoints, Lugering Method, or Laban Movement Analysis is super helpful as it provides a shared vocabulary for the work. Start working with music as early as possible, whether you use the suggested music or choose your own, as the music IS the voice of the characters.

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