what elements signify that they are no longer a child
what is the downside of moving into the category of teenager
Provide students with an overview of the scripts Dags (do not tell them the name of the script):
16-year-old Gillian is struggling to deal with the awkwardness of adolescence and her desire to be popular and beautiful. Will her humorous and disasterous encounters with Adam (the stud) and Derek (the nerd) result in her finding happiness and self-esteem? This Australian comedy by Debra Oswald was written especially for teenagers and presents issues that everyone faces while growing up.
Read the following extract:
I guess you’re all wondering why I’ve got this paper bag on my head. It’s cos’ I’m ugly. Hideous. A whole lot of you are probably thinking “The paper bag’s a pretty melodramatic stunt.” And that’s true, I s’pose. I’m a melodramatic person. But that doesn’t mean I’m not ugly too. ROLE ON THE WALL
Students write about Gillian’s history, words to describe her personality, explore why she may feel like this, and consider who may have influenced her feelings.
Reveal to students that Gillian is a dag.
In pairs one student moulds their partner into the perfect image of a dag.
Begin with Mill and Seethe Warm Up.
Dag walks into school at the beginning of the school day. She goes to her locker and things start to go wrong eg books falling out, locker combination not working, finds old mouldy fruit etc. At the end of the mime the boy of her dream walks by.
Now let the students rehearse and refine their mime. Show ½ class at a time, spread around the room.
Audience gives feedback on effective moments and characterisation.
Divide students into pairs and handout the Gillian and Bronwyn Scene (on following pages). Students read aloud in pairs, twice.
What kind of person is Bronwyn?
What new information do we discover about Gillian?
How would you describe their sibling relationship?
Write a character profile (handout) for Bronwyn / Gillian.
Gillian - struggling to deal with the awkwardness of adolescence and her desire to be popular and beautiful
MONICA Nuh. Just mucked around at home.
GILLIAN Would you rather have gone out?
MONICA [shrugging] Could’ve gone ten pin bowling with my brother and his mates. Just as easy to stay home.
GILLIAN Yeh, I guess…
More silent eating. Gillian is deep in thought. Monica is deep in Tim Tams. GILLIAN Hey, do you ever get a kind of flash of what you’ll be like in ten years or twenty years? What sort of person you will be?
MONICA Just older.
GILLIAN Maybe not. Maybe you’ll be really different. Like, you think about all the older people you know. I bet they didn’t have any idea how they’d end up.
MONICA No big deal. It’s obvious. I’ll end up as Miss Lipton – ‘the fat one’. The only real choice is between teachers college or a ‘go ahead career in banking’. I guess I’ll go round to my parents for Sunday dinner every week, go ten pin bowling once a week, save up for a holiday in Fiji once every three years. That’s it.
GILLIAN But Monica, that’s so depressing –
MONICA Why? I like bowling. I’m only kidding when I say I don’t.
GILLIAN Do you ever worry that you might never get a boyfriend?
MONICA All that stuff’s overrated, Gillian.
GILLIAN Oh yeh, I know. But still –
MONICA Look, have a look around.
Monica waves her hand around the schoolyard.
All those drooby guys. Would you wanna touch any of them with a ten foot pole?
GILLIAN Oh no.
MONICA Right. Some of them might be okay if they’re kept at the right temperature for a few years.
GILLIAN But it’d be nice to think you could if you wanted. Be sure you were rejecting them and not –
MONICA Gillian. Do you really want to be like all of them? Look at them all. Getting worked up about who’s going out with who, who’s the best looking. All that posing. I couldn’t be bothered.
MONICA The way I see it, I’m developing qualities in myself that grow and improve with time. Not just good looks that wither and fade with age.
GILLIAN That’s fantastic, Monica.
MONICA I just wouldn’t want to be beautiful.
GILLIAN Oh, neither would I.
MONICA Think of the pressure. It’d be terrible. I’d hate to be gorgeous.
Gillian - struggling to deal with the awkwardness of adolescence and her desire to be popular and beautiful
Gillian’s bedroom. Gillian is lying on her bed hysterically crying in self-pity. GILLIAN It’s hopeless. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m boring. No one wants to know me. I wouldn’t want to know me either.
Bronwyn runs in with a paper bag which she holds over Gillian’s face. She rubs Gillian’s back soothingly. Gillian is limp and sniffy. BRONWYN Shh, shh calm down. C’mon breather deeply. Slowly. Gilly, why do you get yourself all worked up like this? It hurts me to see it, mate. It upsets Mum too. She’s so worried, she’s in there watching Gilligan’s Island.
GILLIAN [wailing] Oh, Bronwyn, don’t make me feel guilty too.
BRONWYN Shh, settle down. I’m just saying we all worry about you, kiddo.
GILLIAN Can you reach that packet of biscuits under there?
BRONWYN Biscuits! Gillian –
Against her better judgement, Bronwyn drags a packet of biscuits out from under the bed. Gillian bites into one with delicious relief.
How many more secret food stashes have you got?
GILLIAN Just these. The biscuits shaped like little pillows always make me feel better.
BRONWYN You can’t keep using food to solve problems, Gilly.
GILLIAN Don’t be so logical, Bronwyn. This is a major disaster.
BRONWYN You have a major disaster about once a week.
GILLIAN It’s hopeless. Don’t waste your time on me, Bronwyn. This is rock bottom. I’m just a huge blob of nothing.
BRONWYN You can’t keep talking like that, mate. You’ve gotta take control of your life. You’ve gotta throw yourself into life. Be positive. Decide what you goals are and go for them. There must be things you want, Gillian.
GILLIAN I don’t know what I want…
BRONWYN Adam! You want him – then go for it.
GILLIAN C’mon. I haven’t got a chance.
BRONWYN Be positive, Gillo. Grab what you want from life. What have you got to lose? You’re at rock bottom anyway.
GILLIAN I s’pose.
BRONWYN Put yourself in my hands!
GILLIAN In your hands?
BRONWYN Operation Adam!
Bronwyn stands Gillian up and starts going her up…doing her hair, putting make-up on her, as she talks enthusiastically. BRONWYN You can’t sit around moaning after this guy. You haven’t got anything to lose by going after him, have you? First thing we do is fix up how you look. You can do heaps with grooming and the right clothes. You have to work for beauty.
GILLIAN Adam’d never look at me as –
BRONWYN Wait till I’ve finished with you. He’ll look at you in a whole new way. I’ll coach you. Teach you how to chat up guys.
GILLIAN [unconvinced] Thanks, Bronwyn.
Bronwyn starts holding clothes against Gillian, considering them. BRONWYN If we get things that are cut the right way, we can hide your big bum. Mmm…we want a not-too-tarty dress with a slightly raunchy feel, without sacrificing elegance.
Bronwyn Put this on. You can borrow it if you promise not to stretch it too much.
Gillian puts on high heels and speaks to the audience. GILLIAN At this stage in stories like this, everything’s meant to start getting better for The Ugly Duckling. That’s me. I’m a beautiful swan now, right? Well, use your imagination. The trouble is, I don’t feel like a swan. I fell like Gillian with goo on her face.
Physical description (eg height, eye and hair colour: _____________________
Students share their responses from the homework task of filling out the character profiles.
Based on the information given students are asked to consider how their ideas about Bronwyn and Gillian could influence the way in which the characters speak. Moving around the circle each student adds to our understanding of the characters by saying the following in role:
My name is ….. (Bronwyn/Gillian) and …… (Divulge further info about the character eg hobbies, likes, dislikes). PHYSICALISING THE ROLES
Students are taken through a simple Mill and Seethe activity.
Students focus on their own walk.
How do they move through the space?
How does their movement change when they are tired/excited/nervous? Explore leading with different parts of their body.
What does this type of walk tell an observer about the person moving?
Students freeze and are asked to provide words that describe Bronwyn.
Students close their eyes and adjust isolated areas of their body to try and encapsulate Bronwyn’s physicality.
Students move through space as Bronwyn. They are to enact her arriving at school, walking through the corridors and getting her books out from her locker in preparation for class.
Take students through the same walking exercise and locker scenario as Gillian and note the contrast in her physicality and actions.
Divide into groups of four/five. One by one students enter the performance space and say a line of dialogue and adopt a frozen pose that is representative of Bronwyn in the following circumstances:
When fighting with Gillian
When she catches Gillian wearing a terrible outfit.
When she finds out that Gillian has a crush on a boy
When she tries to make Gillian feel good about herself.
When she tells Gillian why she (Bronwyn) has a better life.
Students in their own space mime Bronwyn going through her wardrobe looking for clothes for Gillian. What can she find that will fit?
Students Freeze. Students who were reading as Gillian last lesson now find their partner and take up a frozen position in response to Bronwyn’s frozen position. Bring the scene to life.
Week 4 Lesson 10 SCRIPT
Students are divided into pairs and read through the Monica and Gillian scene.
As a class, discuss what type of person Monica is. What might her image be? What might she wear? Discuss how the 2 characters differ and therefore how contrast on stage can be created. How did they end up friends?
They are to create a mimed routine of Mon waking up and carrying out her morning rituals.
Half the class perform their mime to the remaining members.
What similarities are developing in the characterisation of Mon? Swap over.
SENTENCE AT A TIME
Divide students into groups of five. Each group sits in a circle and explores the following topics to develop the role of Mon further:
The best day of my life
The worst day of my life
My ideal man
The best book I read
Why I am friends with Gillian
Students are to explore the two characters in an improvised scenario. Students select one of the following to rehearse and present.
Mon comes over to see Gillian but Bronwyn answers the door.
Mon organisers a surprise party with Bronwyn for Gillian.
Bronwyn tries to teach Gillian to walk in high heels.
Mon takes Gillian bowling.
In pairs students are to select one extract from “Dags”.
With their partner students initially read through the scene and select which characters they are to play.
Students are to apply the characterisation techniques developed in the previous lessons to their scene.
Students rehearse work.
Dags – Rehearse
Rehearse Lesson 14 + 15
Presenting Assessment of Dags Scenes
(Lesson of activities to link Drama Speaks into Drama Moves)
Students are given the opening gossip that Gillian likes one of the cool guys at school. Students are to rush around the space passing on the gossip about what they have heard about this situation eg how she acts around him, what she has said to him, why she doesn’t have a chance.
Read the attached extract to students.
Pass around a lifebox and students take out and use an imaginary object that would be important to one of the girls from the extract.
As a class group students are to create a machine through the use of repetitive actions and sounds.
2. Mobile phone.
In groups of five students are to prepare a fashion parade exploring the clothes and attitudes adopted by the cool girls in the stimulus. Each student must model an “outfit” while another member describes what she is wearing.
Brainstorm different daily activities that the cool girls would complete every day.
Individually students perform this as a mime - concentrating on detailed movement. The mime should last for 30 seconds.
Begin to experiment with the timing of movements by extending or shortening the time limits to complete the routine. Students still need to maintain control and detail in their work.
Divide students into five groups. They are to take on the same roles from the stimulus and develop a group mime routine which also demonstrates a manipulation of time – fast, medium and slow. Students are encouraged to explore the characters relationships and attitudes and to follow the conventions of telling a story.
Give each group one of the following topics:
1. Getting ready for a dance
2. Doing each other’s hair.
3. At the beach.
4. Shopping for clothes.
5. A birthday dinner.
Working in the same group as above activity students are to devise a stylised movement piece to accompany the attached extract.
Each group member is to teach the remaining members a daily ritual performed by one of the girls eg putting on lipstick, checking self in mirror.
The movement should last for 8 beats and be quite robotic in nature.
Students should now combine the text and movements.
Divide the text equally amongst members and aim to move in unison.
Present work to the class.
1 Gillian…She’s alright.
2 I quite like her.
1 I didn’t say I didn’t like her.
3 I mean she’s…
4 She’s alright.
5 We haven’t got anything against her.
1 She’s a bit boring.
2 She’s dull.
3 Yeah she is a bit.
4 She doesn’t really try.
5 I mean look at her hair.
1 Oh god, her hair.
2 That time at Helen’s party.
3 Oh yeah.
4 It was incredible.
1 And Caroline went up to her and said…
2 What did she say?
3 I can’t remember, but it was hilarious.
4 And we all peed ourselves laughing.
3 And Gillian didn’t even know what we were laughing about.
5 It was so funny.
Week 6 cont’d + WEEK 7
The following lessons are designed to teach students a step by step approach to “stylise” movement. It gives them a good starting point with specific technical terminology so that they have some form and structure when trying to choreograph abstract, stylised sequences. The following is an overview of the stages used to stylise movement. Once they are comfortable they may find their own ways of creating stylised movement but for many students, avoiding literal actions and interpretations can be quite challenging so this structure will help them. This process can be used for devising their upcoming “Witches” assessment.
Creating Stylised Movement Sequences
(Starting point was using Improvisations based on rites of passage/rituals. This way students can begin with the familiar – literal, realistic form and then transform them to a starting point using Freeze Frame. Otherwise, Freeze Frame on its own is a good starting point.)
Improvisations based on rites of passage/rituals
3 Freeze Frames highlighting key moments from these
(Graduation ceremony, religious ceremony, double digit birthday, getting their own bedroom, first kiss, getting ears pierced etc).
Divide class into groups of 4/5 and ask students to choose one rite of passage that they would like to enact. Students create a short improvisation. Present one or two quickly to the class.
STYLISING MOVEMENT – STAGES TO SUCCESS Transitions – decide how to move between each one
Students now create 3 freeze frames depicting 3 key moments that represent their chosen ritual/rite of passage. Present some.
Students now choose a movement or action (that goes for about about 5 seconds) that can represent each Freeze Frame.
As a group they stand in one line and perform each of these 3 key movements so they are synchronised. It may help to use counts of 8 to make sure you are in time with each other. You may need to break the movement down into tiny parts.
Discuss what formations are with students. They are particular patterns that are formed by the careful positioning of members of a group. They may stand in a circle formation, a diagonal line etc. We use them on stage to create interest and to use space creatively. Brainstorm different formations and get students to draw some on the board.
Ask students to return to their groups and to choose 3 different formations for each of their 3 key movements.
BRAINSTORMING THE STYLES
Before going on to the next stage, it is necessary to have a discussion and brainstorm about the “styles” (Robotic, Puppet-like, Dream-like) we are going to be working with.
Write the styles up on the board and brainstorm features of each with students.
Robotic – sharp, rigid, mechanical movements, bent elbows and knees used to make movement, head very stiff
Puppet-like – strings attached to limbs, not in control of own movements, floppy like ragdoll once strings are not pulled, head floppy and then wobbly once pulled up by string, unstable movement, cute coll-like expression
Dream-like – floaty soft movements, sustained and flowing, not always a clear direction, on tiptoes
STYLISING THE MOVEMENTS
Ask students to now apply each of the styles to each of their 3 key movements. They should be standing in a different position, in a different formation for each one. Let them choose which style would suit which key movement. They may need to break the movements down further so get them to use counts of 8 so that each member of the group performs the movement correctly. If their movement before went for 8 counts, now it might be extended to 2 lots of 8 counts.
Locomotion (making a movement travel, forward, backwards, sideways)
Transference (let a movement transfer to another part of the body)
Pace (slow motion, fast motion, increasing and decreasing speed)
Reverse (do a movement in reverse)
Let students try applying one or more of these to each of their movement sequences. They are abstracting the movement further and extending it. Let them experiment and show a few around the room till then get the hang of it.
Begin to polish each separate sequence, using the new dynamics. At this stage they might also like to add Other Movement Elements:
To create a finished, flowing movement piece, now get students to think of ways them might move from Position 1 to Position 2 to Position 3. Get them to use 8 counts to move into position. They might spin, float, march, crawl, any action.
POLISH AND PRESENT
Students should now have quite a long movement sequence that has started from the literal and should now be quite abstract. You may wish to show their Freeze Frames and original key movements first and then let them perform their Stylised Movement Sequences.
Week 7 cont’d
Partner Disco Freeze
Students act out their morning ritual from getting out of bed to leaving for school.
PLAYING WITH SPEED
Students perform this same routine again. Throughout, the teacher calls out Fast Motion, Normal, Slow Motion and students explore playing with speed and how it affects their movement.
EVERYDAY GESTURES (From Zen Zen Zo)
Divide class into groups of 5 around the room. They stand in a semi- circle formation.
A person on the end begins by giving a gesture of any type
Each of the succeeding people must then make this gesture 10% bigger than the person before them
When it gets to the other end of the semi-circle, send it back again. In order for it to continue to get bigger, it will have to change somehow.
Do this activity again, making the gesture 10% smaller each time.
In their groups students now choose 3 gestures they would like to work with. They are to choose a different formation for each one. They work through the steps from last lesson to create a small stylised gesture sequences.
Choose and rehearse key movements for gesture in formations.
Apply a style to each one – robotic, puppet-like, dream-like
Introduce verbal dynamics, seeing if anyone knows or can guess what might be involved. Write up on board – Pitch, Pace, Pause, Volume, Emphasis
Discuss diaphragmatic breathing.
PLAYING WITH WORDS
Play with words such as push, pull, lean, shuffle explored physically and vocally.
ORCHESTRA OF VOICES
Class stands in a choir formation with teacher as conductor. Using a theme (fear), designate different sounds to small groups. The teacher as conductor gives signals, cueing sound to commence, increase and cease at different time, creating a Fear Soundtrack.
Divide class into groups and give them themes to create a sounds cape.
Present to class.
Week 8 Lesson 22 WARM UP
Melding Activity in 3s.
GROUP PHYSICAL RESPONSE
Clusters and Freeze Frames as groups responding to following words:
Students work in groups to devise their own version of vocal and movement work for “The Washing Ritual”.
Lesson 24 Introducing and Guiding the “Witches” Assessment Task
Stimulus Lesson 1. Setting the mood: Teacher narration
(Play Zen beats)
Students lie on floor, eyes closed. Focus and relax.
It is night. It is a dark, damp gloomy area. Puddles of stale rain water scatter the muddy shore. In from the oceans edge the cave sits hidden in the cliffs. Secluded. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling. Fog drifts eerily about outside. There is a cool breeze. A howling, tortured wind ripples through the silent night.
Soundscape – get students to contribute sounds to create the setting.
In the distance low glowing lamps are floating in all directions as the witches descend slowly and carefully to their meeting place. They have business to attend to.
End soundscape. Read “Witches” Text.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Students are to think of what images come to mind, what mood is created. On piece of paper they write down 3 key words in response to text and narration.
Group Freeze Frames
In groups of 5-6 (assessment groups), students are to share their 3 key words and as a group decide on 3 words as a group that encapsulates the mood, action and roles evident in the piece.
Students create 3 separate freeze frames. They have to be in different positions each time. They have to consider interesting use of space and levels.
Students are asked to bring their freeze to life by creating a movement and sound in this position for 10 seconds.
Repeat this for each freeze frame.
Students now discuss what movement and sound they can use to move from one freeze to the next. Consider moving all at once for one transition and one at a time for another.
Introducing Text/Voice work
Give each group copies of first 2 lines of verse. Give each group 2 verbal dynamics that they are going to use in particular. Groups are to devise and rehearse vocal work.
Share with class noting the use of different dynamics. Discuss effect.
Tying it together
Students are to add this to the end of their movement sequence. They need create one more transition into a new formation where they will choreograph movement for this text. They now have one way they could begin their performance.
Other Ideas (could be used to start planning lesson 2) Witches Machine
In their groups, students create a “witches” machine. They enter space one at a time offering a repetitive sound and action. Think of actions and sounds relating to what witches do. Consider use of space and levels. Also consider how you can interlock or connect with someone else on stage so it is like a machine.
Play with speed.
Now get students to think of how they can enter – altogether, one at a time, snake in a line, huddling in a mob, from same/different sides etc.
Put entrance together with Machine. At end get them all to cackle, then suddenly stop and look at audience in scary way, then whisper “double, double, toil and trouble”.
Rehearse whole sequence.
This is another way they could begin or end their piece. This is also a good way of stylising as machine actions are quite robotic. They could incorporate some of these actions
Stirring the Pot
Students are to use sound and action only to mix the ingredients of the cauldron. How many different ways can you achieve this.
Doing it in a dream like fashion
Imagining the caldron in huge and in the middle of the whole group