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Commedia dell'Arte


Topic: Commedia dell’Arte Focus Question: What is Commedia dell’Arte? How can we express emotions through movement/physicality?


Poster Dialogue Pieces of poster board are taped to the walls. Markers are set out. Ask students to write ideas on poster board. Poster boards say: · To play with dramai in the classroom, I have to make sure to… · To make a safe environment for myself and my friends I… · I think Commedia dell’arte is… · I like characters that are… · I like stories about… · Something I like to do when I’m not at school is… · If I could be any emotion, I would be… “We are going to spend some time together exploring drama games. This first exercise was to help me get to know you a little and to find out what you are interested in so that we can work with things that are interesting to you. Let’s look at these first two posters first, though.” Go over the top two boards and use these to create a social contract with the students. “I’m going to leave these up so that we can remember the things that we thought would be important to bring into our classroom.” Leave the board about Commedia up. Place the other 4 boards on the ground and have student walk around them. Ask what themes are repeated. Circle them. These themes will inform the teacher what the students are interested in to build on the lesson in the future. Circle these. Put the poster boards back up on the wall.


Circle Sculpt "Now we are going to explore Commedia del’arte.” Look over this poster together. “Well, in Commedia del’arte, actors and actresses performed by creating over-exaggerated characters who usually wore masks and costumes. They performed outside, just like us. So we are going to start by creating some exaggerated characters today, just like in Commedia.” Create an inner and outer circle with an equal number of students. Have the circles face one another and partner up with the person across from them. “Let’s create some characters using the emotions we thought of earlier. We will sculpt our friends into exaggerated versions of these emotions.” Give each partner a turn at this, calling out emotions from the list. For example, “Let’s all create a sad sculpture.” Remember that there are three ways to sculpt, hands on, mirroring, or using puppet strings. “Ask your partner first, ‘may I sculpt you?’ and then ask ‘may I touch you?’” Guided Imagery “Now I would like for each of you to find your own space, where you have a little room to move without bumping into each other, but where you can still hear my voice. We are not going to talk through this exercise. Instead, we will explore using our bodies. Concentrate on yourself, imagine you are alone and you are the emotion you were just sculpted into. Take that emotion from a 2 to a 10, exaggerate it even more. Imagine you have just woken up and are getting out of bed. How do you get out of bed? How do you walk? Walk to the mirror and look at yourself. What do you see? Brush your hair. Fix yourself up so that you look just right. Adjust your clothes. Put on your favorite shirt. How do you look? Brush your teeth.” Take lots of time here to allow the students to explore. “Now I am going to invite you to come join me in a circle as your character.” This is Not A Triangle Have the students stand in one circle together. “Now I want you to remember the character that you just were. We are going to play our next game as this character.” Teacher models how to play This is Not a Triangle. “This is not a triangle, it is the world’s biggest teardrop. Boo hoo hoo, wah…” Act this moment out. Students each have a turn at this.


Reflection: (D.A.R) “What are some things we did today?” Allow students to describe different activities and experiences. “What was that like for you?” Explore the experience of moving as the characters, etc. “Can you think of any ways you might relate these emotion based characters to other characters you’ve seen?” “Let’s look at our original lists of what we wanted to bring to the classroom. Did we do these things? How well did we do them on a scale of 1-10? Let’s see if next time we can do even better.” Review the poster board themes that interest the students. “I’m going to think about these before I see you next. I’d like you to think about what makes a story interesting to you.” Processing Questions for Students: What did you learn about Commedia dell’arte today? What are Commedia characters like? How can we create these characters? What were some ways that we explored the style?