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UNIT TITLE: Physical Theatre: Alice in Wonderland

APPROXIMATE TIME: 6-7 weeks YEAR: 7 KEYSTAGE: 3

TEACHING OBJECTIVES:

UNDERSTAND:

- What is meant by the term ‘Physical Theatre’

- How to create performances using the actors’ body as the primary focus.

- That the actors’ body can be used to create an inanimate object.

BE ABLE TO:

- Create a non naturalistic performance from a stimulus

- Demonstrate control and focused movement

- Use bodies and voices imaginatively and creatively

- Physically explore the story of 'Alice in Wonderland'

- Learn the importance of working as an ensemble

KEY WORDS ACTIVITIES:


AND SKILLS
Session 1:

Physical Theatre  What is Physical Theatre?


Introduce term to students – the focus is on what the actor does with
their body, rather than just about what they say.

Controlled movement  Physical warm up to ensure students are ready for a physical lesson.
- Neck to shoulder
Focus - Shoulders to ears
Concentration - Spine roll

Frantic Assembly exercise – Clear the room


Students walk around the space and follow the instructions when called
out.
- Stop/Go - do the opposite to what is said
- Forward/Back - do the opposite to what is said

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Balance - Furl/Unfurl – drop to the ground/stand back up straight
Energy - One to One - find a partner and create a balance together, only one
foot each on the floor.

Mime Pair Work


In pairs, students discuss what they did at the weekend.
They then continue the conversation but this time they are not allowed to
speak, instead they can use mime.
Students discuss which was more difficult and why.

Mirror Images

In order to create physical theatre students must have complete control over
Body control their bodies. Students stand opposite each other, taking it in turns to lead
they follow each others movements.
Mirror work Explain that the exercises must be done slowly in order that it becomes
difficult to tell who is leading.

Puppets
In pairs A and B. A is the puppet and B the puppeteer.
Controlled movement A has imaginary strings attached to their limbs and B pulls the strings to
move the body part.
Again, this must be done slowly to allow complete control of movement.

Split class in half and allow them to watch each others demonstrations and
pick examples of good practice.

Slow Motion Race

Concentration Students line up along one side of the drama studio and have to race to the
finish line in slow motion.
Focus  Students must keep moving at all times
 Their foot must be level with their knee on each lift
Body awareness  They must take the longest step possible
 They must not fall over

Plenary

If you are not able to talk you have to use your body communicate an idea to
the audience. This means you have to be more aware of physical
movements.

Self evaluation Think, pair, share – What was most difficult about the lesson and why?
- Name one thing you have learnt in today's lesson.

Students think of what they have done well in the lesson and what they need
to improve.

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Session 2:

Communication How can we communicate in different ways?

Pair work
Creativity Students stand opposite each other and communicate the following:
 Their favourite book (by telling their partner)
 How it makes them feel (through mime)
 Spell out the name of a character (using bodies to create letters)

Ask students what was difficult about the last task? (Not allowed to speak,
having to use bodies to make shapes,communicate etc.)

Origins of Storytelling
Discussion of storytelling and how it has been around for hundreds and
hundreds of years.
Why do we tell stories?
Stories from different cultures – different languages and different cultures
but often the same morals (links with Citizenship – identity and diversity).

Entering Wonderland

Imagination Worksheets spread around the space.

Students find a space and complete the worksheet answering questions,


imagining they have just entered 'Wonderland' for the first time.
(Play music 'iMonster – Daydream in Blue)

Guided Tour Guided Tour


In pairs students take turn to guide each other around 'Wonderland' using the
information from the sheets to build an image of the place. A has eyes shut
whilst being lead, B describes, then they swap over.

Musical statues
Music plays and students move around the space. When it stops they stand
next to sheet nearest to them. One of the categories is called and they have to
Abstract images physically represent whatever has been written.
Students will create individual images to represent feelings,
colours,sights,sounds,smells.
Stimulus

Storytelling through Groups of 4


physical theatre Each group have a section of the story depicting the moment when Alice
falls down the rabbit hole. They must create a physical movement sequence
using techniques practised in the lesson to tell their section of the story.
Ensemble Teacher will read each section whilst that group perform.
performance The groups will follow each other to create an ensemble performance.
Evaluation

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Group assessment of the work – WWW/EBI

Session 3:
Non naturalistic
What is a non naturalistic performance?
Imagination
Introduce non naturalistic movements.

Creating Animals

Powerpoint with pictures of different animals. Students will move around


the space as the animal shown on the screen.

1. Only the movement of the animal


Body shape 2. Movement and sound
3. Movement and sound, also beginning to react to the other animals in
the room.

A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale

Vocal awareness Read section of the story and discuss with students why this isn't naturalistic.
If it were humans talking it would be naturalistic, as it is animals talking as
Versatility if they are humans it is non naturalistic.

Groups
Students will rehearse using the scripts and act out the scene.
Cooperation They need to keep their animals characteristics and not turn into themselves
or any other humans. They should also consider their voices, what voice
would each animals have?
Give examples (e.g. – A Lion is a powerful animal, how can we make our
voices sound powerful? - deep and booming etc.)

Script work Students practice reading through with the scripts. When they understand the
general idea of what is happening they rehearse the scene without the script
only using physical movement.
Gesture
Physical movement Model examples for students emphasising the importance of big gestures,
keeping focus on the animalistic movements.

Performances
Students perform their scenes using only mime and movement.
Evaluation
Self/Peer Evaluation
Pair two groups up. Each group will give constructive criticism to the other.
Controlled movement Feedback will then be shared with the whole group, each group sharing one
positive and one area for development.
Focus Students to be given a level ladder to evaluate their own work.

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Session 4:
Stimulus  Physical warm up to ensure students are ready for a physical lesson.
- Neck to shoulder
- Shoulders to ears
- Spine roll

 Introduce stimulus to the group


- What is a stimulus?

 Students are allocated a number which corresponds to the number of


one of the pictures laid around the room. The pictures are
Response to stimulus illustrations from the story. They sit near the picture with the other
students in the group however they work independently on the
exercise. Whilst the music is played students, in silence, study the
picture and answer the following questions:

- What word comes into your head when you look at the picture?
Mirror painting - What object does it make you think of?
- If it could make a noise what would it be?
- What happened before this picture?
Tableaux - What is about to happen?

Non-naturalistic Mirror painting

Gesture In groups of three, students recreate the picture in a tableau. Then each
Abstract student creates a non naturalistic gesture or movement to add into the image
Essence machine that they have created.
Explain to students that the focus must be more on physical movements
rather than facial expressions.
Each student now has to think of an abstract sound which reflects the image
Ensemble and movements. Students will develop this to create an essence machine -
repetitive movements and sounds that follow a rhythm. Primary focus on
sound and movement.

Self and peer Students will perform their physical interpretations of pictures as an
evaluation ensemble.
Mime
Group discussion
Two groups to combine and discuss each other’s images, what they liked and
Bodies as objects how it could be made even better (WWW/EBI).
Imagination Feedback shared with the rest of the group.
Creativity Session 5:

 Using bodies as objects


Non-naturalistic
Warm up – What are you doing?
Pair sculpting – students are given a word and they must sculpt their partner
Inventiveness into the object. Start with easier objects then gradually make it more

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difficult.
(Extension – use emotions rather than objects and ask students to sculpt their
partners to represent the emotions.)

Story specific locations – students to identify some if the locations for the
story.
Examples:
Body shape Bill's house
The garden
Energy Rabbit hole
Forest
Improvisation Queen's palace

Pace/tempo rhythms Number students 1-4 and allocate a location for each group.

In groups students choose an individual object that might be found their (eg.
Rabbit hole – the pocket watch, Forest – flower, Queen's palace – playing
card etc.)
Encourage imaginative ideas.

Stylised In groups students think about how their objects would move around the
space. Give examples – eg:
Football boot – quick athletic,energetic
Performances Old workboot – tired,slow,grumbly
Pocketwatch – precise, sharp movements, in rhythm.

Encourage use of stylised performance – heightened movements/abstract.


Evaluation Exaggerate the movements as it is not naturalistic.

Groups show one at a time,spotlight individual work.

Feedback for groups that perform.

Ensemble Think,pair, share to evaluate the work completed in the lesson and areas for
Bodies as objects improvement.

Body shape Session 6:

 Ensemble Performance
Mind map
Students will perform their ensemble piece showing 'The Mad Hatter's Tea
Party'.
Tableaux
Physical warm up
Recap bodies as objects work.
Introduce Mad Hatter's Tea party – read extract as a group.
Atmosphere
Mind Map

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Tension Mind map ideas of words that could be associated with TMHTP

Small Group Work


Choose one of the words and create a still image to represent it.
Soundscapes
Discussion
How can we add atmosphere and tension to the piece.
 Sound
 Lighting

Soundscapes
Tableaux Students think about their mind map of words associated with TMHTP and
from this any sounds that they think they would hear when they.
Evaluation Work as a group, each student having a sound to create.
First in neutral position students build up sounds – teacher walks through
students and begin sounds as they are passed.
Teacher signals for increasing and reducing volume.

Back into groups – recreate still image from before all groups at once. Begin
Performances to add soundscape to images. All groups first then spotlight groups.

Feedback on creating atmosphere through sound.


What colours would go with this atmosphere? - Add lighting for students to
see.
Characterisation
Groups
Split class in half and give each student an envelope, not to open yet.
Inside envelope is a character they will take on for their final ensemble
performance.
 Alice
 Mad Hatter
 March Hare
 Dormouse
Techniques
 Tree(2 people)
 Table (3 people)
Improvisation  Armchair (2 people)
Movement  Door way (2 people)
Gesture
Students take story extract and will create a physical theatre performance of
the tea party. They must include:
 Soundscape
Improvisation  Freeze frame
 Essence Machine

Students must remember all of the work covered in lessons so far and use
the skills they have learnt.

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Improvise any conversation between the characters but keep speech to a
minimum focusing more on movement and gesture – key lines of
conversation on projector screen so students can use for a starting point.

Lighting to be added to enhance atmosphere.

Students rehearse in groups to perform next lesson.

 Session 7: Performance and Evaluation


Performances
Physical warm up
Critic buddy
Rehearsal time
Feedback In groups from last lesson students will be given time to rehearse their
scenes for 'The Mad Hatter's Tea Party'.
Constructive criticism
Performances
Both groups perform their pieces. Identify a critic buddy beforehand.
Targets
Feedback
After performances students pair up with critic buddy to give feedback of
the performances – praise and areas for improvement. Critics give levels to
students using level ladders for guidance.

Share some of these with the class.

Complete workbooks with grades and set targets for next terms work.
Teacher to see individual students with marks whilst books are being
completed.

Cross Curricular elements


ICT LITERACY
- Projector and screen - 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll
- Lighting - Storytelling
- Sound - Script work
- Internet resources - Creative worksheets 'Wonderland'
- Video examples - Written response to a picture
- PowerPoint presentations - Class discussions
- Internet research
NUMERACY CITIZENSHIP
- Spatial awareness - Collaborative work
- Rhythm - Ensemble performances
- Timing - Cultural identity
- Proxemics - Individuality

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RESOURCES
- 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll
- Script extracts
- Story extracts
- Story illustrations
- Music
- Internet resources
- Lighting