The following activities will be broken down into a weekly plan. As stated previously, I see each class once a week. A lot depends on the pace of the individual class. The length of activities will take the whole period thirty-five to forty-five minutes. Any activity may be repeated as a warm-up or main activity the following week.
I will begin with a variation of the name game. We are all seated in a circle on the floor. I will say my name and then do a particular movement. The person sitting to my right will say my name do my movement and then say their name and do their own original movement. This continues all around the circle. The person to my left will be the last. They have the challenge of saying everyone’s name and doing everyone’s movement as well as creating their own movement.
This exercise helps with: focusing, concentration, memory and spontaneity.
Two variations of this warm-up activity are as follows:
1. Children are to say their name and show on their face how they are feeling.
2. I will give my students an emotion such as: anger, boredom, happiness. They are to demonstrate this emotion without words, using their face and upper body. I will encourage large movements and exaggerated expression as indicated in the Italian school of mime. These warm-ups may be used as a whole lesson or as a start to a main activity.
The next exercise I plan to use is mirroring. I pair the students with the person sitting next to them. They are to remain sitting, facing each other. I demonstrate this in the center of the circle with a volunteer. Once everyone has seen my partner and I, we will begin. We start with the hands. One person who has already been designated the leader will start to move slowly so that their partners can follow along. The non-leader moves with the leader during the same movement at the same time. They are never to touch each other but their hands can be close to each other, palms facing inward toward their partner. I will give them a few minutes and then I will say switch. Now the non-leader becomes the leader. We continue with this exercise for some time. I may say switch three or four more times. As my students become more comfortable I will encourage them to move their upper body then stand and move their whole body. I would also suggest using facial expressions. Eventually the pairs are moving as one.
This exercise helps students to take direction from their peers, focusing and concentrating. Also, it is starting to move the body with the rhythm of others.
At this time this exercise is to be used as a warm-up stopping the activity with the hand movements only.
Now, still in pairs we will begin a sculpting exercise. Again, I present this in the center of the circle, with a volunteer. My volunteer is now a piece of clay and I am the sculptor. I direct my piece of clay to remain very still and relaxed but to conform to any way I put their body. They are then to hold that position. At this point I direct my comments to the circle. Emphasizing how important it is to treat your clay gently and with respect. The sculptors are very careful,
at all times
, when molding their clay. Sculptors must be considerate when placing their clay in position, remembering that clay has to hold that position for some time.
I will advise my students that they may want to create a statue, shape or action with their clay. I will designate who is clay and who are the sculptor first. Then we will reverse and sculptors become clay and clay becomes sculptors.
This activity assists students in working together, cooperatively. It also gives their bodies the experience of being moved and shaped in many different ways. They are starting to create messages with their bodies.
I will start with a warm-up mirroring variation. Using hands first and moving on to the whole body. Refer back to Week One.
Next we will continue to work with sculpting in another way. Seated in the circle, I will ask for two volunteers. One to be clay and one to be the sculptor. The sculptor will begin to mold clay into position. I will then say “Freeze” and now the sculptor is part of the clay. One by one the outer circle will come in to mold the clay. If I say “Freeze” they become part of the sculpture. If I say “Thank you” they sit down after shaping the clay in some way. After everyone has had a turn sitting in the circle will join me in walking around the sculpture. These children will be thinking of a title for our work of art. To dismantle the sculpture I will take “magic dust” from my pocket and say “When I sprinkle my magic dust on clay, you will become boys and girls again and take your seat in the circle.” We will then hear the different titles for our sculpture.
This activity further aids my students in working together, increases attention span, focusing on task, increasing body awareness and strength. They are becoming aware of a quick end of a movement. They also work with developing a concept around an improvised sculpture.
We will start with everyone sitting in a circle facing the back of the person in front of you. One head will be in back of the other. A designated student will be instructed to make a face and turn around and show it to the person behind them, then, return to normal. That person now makes the same face and passes it on accordingly. This continues around the circle until it reaches the person who created it. This person then shows the group the ending face. Hopefully it’s the same face that we began with. If not, we can try again! The moves in this activity should be quick and precise. This reflects the French school of mime.
The next few activities are on the move. One or more may be used this week, if time allows. If not they may be used at another time. Detective Walk is an activity that will encourage students to move in space and interact. I will have everyone begin to walk around the room in any direction they choose. I will then direct them to walk as slow as possible—without touching anyone. That rule holds true for the whole exercise. After a few minutes I will direct them to walk at a normal pace. If I see students clustered together I will say, “When you see an empty space, fill it.” I will then direct my students to walk as fast as they can without running, walking at a normal pace. Now they are to pick someone out that they aren’t good friends with and keep that person insight at all times. The trick is that they can’t let that person know they are watching and they have to keep moving at all times.
The next walking exercise will help students to gain strength in their legs and to feel weight shifts.
I will ask my students to pretend they are walking on ice. I will guide them through these exercises by doing it with them. First, we will put all our weight on one foot, then we will pick up the empty foot and put it down slowly feeling the foot as it touches the floor in front of us. This requires shifting their weight from one foot to the other. Another way to do this is by thinking of peeling your foot off of the floor one section at a time and putting that same foot down the opposite way you peeled it off. Example: If you took your toes off last, (started with the heel), then you would put your toes down first when taking the step, shifting your weight as each section of your foot touches the floor. Remember ice breaks easily!
Now as we are walking in water that is up to our hips. I will then ask them to answer my following questions by showing me:.
How do you move in deep water?
Is it cold?
Is it warm?
Is it pleasant?
Can you move quickly
How does your upper body help you to move?
How are your hips and legs moving?
Next you are walking with a globe on top of your head. Be careful, you do not want it to roll off. All of these walking exercises help students to focus on how their bodies move in a particular situation. They are done as a group so no one will be self-conscious. Everyone will be concentrating on doing their move.
The next exercise will help individuals to perform before a group—a solo. It will also encourage my students to imagine, visualize, pretend in a pantomime.
I will use two sticks, possibly dowels around three feet long and then like pointers. As usual we are sitting on the floor in a circle. I will begin the activity. I will use the sticks in an activity or as an object like playing the violin, walking on stilts, or looking in binoculars. I will act this out, with the sticks and without words. My students will then guess what I am doing and what the sticks have become. We will go around the circle, continuing in this manner until everyone has a turn. I may choose to go around again suggesting that this time two or more people may work together to create a scene.
The preceding activities will have helped my students to be comfortable with holding positions, moving and pretending in silence. By Week Five we have participated in a pantomime. This exposure will enable my students to take a more active role in the next mime-drama improvisations. I will not direct as actively as in the previous exercises.
Most modern mimes perform solo or in a duet. It is rare to see a group of twenty-seven mimes performing at once. Therefore the following lesson plans will be geared toward performing solo and in small groups. The next lessons are a bit more complex as my students will be given imaginary objects, ideas or actions to interpret. They will have to work together in small groups and make decisions within that group. My original objectives as stated earlier will be fulfilled by Lesson Three. Those three lessons will constitute weeks, six, seven, and eight.