Two weeks ago I started a little dramatics group for my daughter and her friends. Some background on this theater group: my daughter had been asking me about drama classes. All the drama classes in our area are a distance away, and I knew that even if I could get her there, we would have problems with Saturday performances. Since I had taught drama way back when (in the early 1980’s!) and had taken one class in creative dramatics in college, I thought: I can do this! My daughter asked all her friends, most were interested, but only a few could actually come.
We are working on scenes from Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Clearly. If you have read any of the Ramona books, feel free to share your favorite chapters or scenes in the comments.
Here are a few drama exercises:
- Stop! Game – two players create a scene without talking. After three minutes, third player yells freeze! Both players freeze. Third player taps on the shoulder of one of the two, and that one must leave the scene. The third player then creates a new scene with the other player.
- Common Difficulty Activity – without speaking, act out a common, frustrating activity, such as putting on boots that are too tight, pulling up a stuck zipper, or combing knotty hair.
- Gibberish – sell something to the audience using gibberish (nonsense talk).
- Pleasant mother routine – ask the kids, how can you tell if your mother is in a good mood? One player is the mother in a good mood, and the other is a child asking permission to go outside and play.
- Worried parent – how does a parent look worried? Act this out.
I hope these posts about drama (I set up a whole new category called drama on this blog) and theater exercises can be helpful to parents or teachers who want to try some acting with their kids. These exercises can be excellent therapy for kids; what a release to be able to talk about (or act out) feelings and relationships after a whole day of book learning.
When I was in college, we used Viola Spolin’s book Improvisation for the Theater. My old copy is still guiding me as I set up this class for my daughter and friends.