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Comedy Camp Activities
Join us for a fun, 30-minute comedy lesson for elementary-aged students and their parents.
Before we begin, you can get ready to be silly by trying our warm-up activities for the three actor tools: BODY, VOICE, and MIND!
Silly BODY: My Name is Joe
Silly VOICE: Everybody Do
Silly MIND: Bean Salad
There are so many different types of comedy and ways to be funny! Today, we will be focusing on slapstick. SLAPSTICK is a type of physical comedy that uses exaggerated, or extra-large, body movements and emotional reactions to make the audience laugh. You can see it performed in everything from cartoons to Arden Children’s Theatre.
Frederica’s temper tantrum in The Snow Queen is a great example of slapstick! When Gerda refuses to give her the red boots, Frederica has a complete meltdown. She exaggerates her movements and vocal reactions, which makes her performance extra-large and funny. Let’s watch some rehearsal footage!
Now it’s your turn to try slapstick comedy! To practice, we will be playing a game called EXAGGERATION CHALLENGE. Here are the instructions:
- Stand across from a partner, facing each other, and decide who will begin the challenge.
- The first person should make a gesture or sound, and their body movements and voice should be as small as possible. Examples include a WAVE, SNEEZE, SMILE, or DAB.
- The second person repeats the gesture or sound, and this time they make it a little larger.
- They continue going back-and-forth, with the gesture or sound getting bigger every single time. The game continues until it is so large that it has become completely exaggerated and hilarious!
Need a challenge? Play for an exaggeration champion. Keep passing the gesture or motion back-and-forth until one of the participants is unable to make it any larger. The participant who made the last and biggest movement is the winner.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, instead of playing the game as a partner challenge, have them mirror your movements. Try very small gestures, and then make them noticeably larger, rather than progressively building the movement.
A slapstick moment can be made even funnier by using a prop! A PROP is an object used in a play to help tell the story on-stage. When using a prop as a GAG, which means joke, an actor might handle it incorrectly or the object might not work the way it should.
Last season, the Arden’s production of Treasure Island used props in a very creative way to help tell the story. Everyday objects that can be found in a home were used as the ship’s steering wheel, swords, and even cannon balls. Because they were being used differently that they normally are in real life, there were some great gag moments. Let’s watch some rehearsal footage of the actors getting silly with props!
Now it’s your turn try a prop gag! To practice, we will be playing a game called THIS IS NOT A ____. IT’S A _____! Here are the instructions:
- Find an object in your home to use as the prop in this game. This could be a SPOON, REMOTE, SCARF, or anything else you can safely hold.
- Stand across from a partner, facing each other, and decide who will begin the game.
- The first person holds the prop and says, “This is not a ______. It’s a _______!” filling in the first blank with the real name of the object and the second blank with a brand new object. For example, if the participants are using a scarf, the first person might say, “This is not a SCARF. It’s a JUMP ROPE!” Then, the first person should use the prop as the new object.
- The second person takes the prop and says, “This is not a ______. It’s a _______!” filling in the first blank with the object the other participant chose and the second blank with a brand new object. For example, the second person might say, “This is not a JUMP ROPE. It’s a PIECE OF SPAGHETTI!” Then, the second person should use the prop as the new object.
- The game continues as long as the participants would like. The same prop can be used the entire time, or new objects can be introduced in each round.
Need a challenge? Play for a prop gag champion. Keep passing the object back-and-forth until one participant is unable to think of a brand new object that the prop can be. The last participant to think of a brand new object is the winner.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, try choosing a household object that resembles something else. For example, explore using a SPOON as a SHOVEL , a POT as a DRUM, or an open BOOK as a flying BIRD.
For our last activity, we will create our very own slapstick comedy routine using exaggeration and prop gags! To do this, we will play AS SEEN ON TV, a game that helps you write and perform your very own infomercial. An infomercial is a TV advertisement that is trying to sell a product to the viewers. Here are the instructions:
- Choose an object in your home to become the new, hottest item on the market.
- Decide what your object will do and why people need it. This should be completely different than what the object is used for in real life! If you’re having trouble deciding, try playing a few rounds of THIS IS NOT A ____. IT’S A _____!
- Write the script for your infomercial using the AS SEEN ON TV Mad Libs worksheet HERE. If you prefer, you can also use your own imagination.
- Perform your infomercial for someone else in your home. Remember to act in an over-the-top, exaggerated way in order to get people excited about your new product!
Need a challenge? Have your own new product competition, just like the TV show Shark Tank. Multiple people in your home can present their infomercials to one another, and if the audience thinks it’s a good product they can “invest.” At the end of the presentation, whomever has the most “investors” wins.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, help them come up with a new use for an object in your home. Prompt them into telling you more about the object by asking questions such as the following: What does it do? Can you show me how you use it? Where do you buy it? How much does it cost?
Thank you for playing today!
We would love to see your infomercial or how you played any of the comedy games! Tag us using @ArdenTheatreCo on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to share.
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