Arden for All ONLINE! – Let’s Pretend
Join us for a fun, 30-minute acting lesson for elementary-aged students and their parents.
Every actor has three tools: their BODY, their VOICE, and their MIND. Before we begin, you can get ready to perform by trying our warm-up activities!
VOICE: Voices of Oz
MIND: Stop Go Jump Clap
The world is so full of characters! Characters are the people and animals in a story, movie, or play. Let’s explore by playing the game NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. For this activity, we will quickly turn our bodies into statues of people and animals in the museum, but don’t let the guard see you moving! Here are the instructions:
- The parent (or one participant) should turn around so they cannot see the other player(s). This person is the museum GUARD.
- Then, the GUARD announces an exhibit the following format: “The first room in the museum I would like to visit is the MERMAID exhibit in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!” The exhibit chosen can represent any type of character you can imagine, and it can be general or specific. Examples of potential options include a FIREFIGHTER, BUTTERFLY, HARRY POTTER, or ELSA exhibit.
- During the countdown, each player quickly changes their body into a statue of the character.
- At the end of the countdown the GUARD turns around to see the statue(s) revealed. They can walk around and give complements or share observations. While the GUARD is looking the statue(s) cannot move!
- The GUARD returns to the rest position, facing away from the other player(s), and they call out the next exhibit. The game continues for as long as the participants want, with a new exhibit announced in each countdown.
Need a challenge? Play for “outs.” The GUARD can spend more time walking around the exhibit, focusing both on the statue and other things in the room. When the GUARD is not looking directly at the statue, the player should try to change their pose or move around without the GUARD catching them. If the GUARD sees the player moving, the statue has lost the game.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, instead of turning around to see the statue revealed, play alongside them. For example, when visiting the next exhibit, make a statue with the student, rather than acting as the GUARD. The student can mirror your pose or create their own.
Everybody moves in their own unique way! An actor can help the audience identify their character by the way they walk on-stage. For example, in the Arden’s production of Charlotte’s Web last season, the actors changed the way they moved to become animals on the farm. Let’s watch some rehearsal footage!
Now it’s your turn to create character walks! In this next exercise, we will discover how both emotion and character type change the way we move.
To play, ask your student to begin walking around the room. When you say “STOP,” ask them to freeze, and tell them that you will be giving them an emotion, person, or animal. After saying that word, you will tell them to “GO!” They should then begin moving in a way that represents that word. Here is an example list for the game:
- Mad Scientist
Try a few or try them all! Continue exploring until your student is ready to move on to the next activity.
Need a challenge? Have your student choose a character or emotion on their own and begin moving around the room. Play a guessing game and try to identify the character or emotion based on their movements.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, use emotions and animals, rather than incorporating different types of people. Play alongside them, allowing them to either mirror your walk or come up with their own.
For our last activity, we will bring a character to life! In the previous exercises, we only used two actor tools: our BODY and our MIND. Now, it’s time to incorporate our VOICE, as well. Just like the VOICES OF OZ warm-up game at the beginning of this lesson, you can change what you sound like by using your belly, chest, nose, or head voice.
To practice using all three tools at once, we will be playing PRESS CONFERENCE, which is a fun character interview and guessing game. Here are the instructions:
- Choose one person to be the CELEBRITY. The remaining player will be the REPORTER. If you have more than one remaining player, they become a REPORTER, too!
- The CELEBRITY leaves the room and chooses a character on their own. This should be a character that the other people will know. Examples include Batman, Little Red Riding Hood, Moana, or the Grinch.
- Then, the CELEBRITY walks back into the room. They should remember to move like their character!
- The REPORTER asks the CELEBRITY a series of questions. The CELEBRITY should answer the questions like their character, while using a special voice. For example, if the character is Batman and the reporter asks about their job, the celebrity might respond, “I protect my city from villains,” in a deep belly voice.
- The REPORTER keeps asking questions until they are able to guess the character.
Having trouble thinking of questions? Try these!
- Where do you live?
- How old are you?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- Do you have a job?
- What is your favorite color?
- Do you have a favorite food?
Need a challenge? Limit the number of questions the REPORTER can ask before guessing. The CELEBRITY can also make the game harder by answering questions in a less specific way, in order to not give clues that are too obvious.
Need to simplify? If you have a younger student, allow them to act like their favorite character, and ask them questions while they play, rather than conducting a more formal interview. The parent could also begin acting like one of the student’s favorite characters and see if they can guess who the parent is pretending to be.
Thank you for playing today!
We would love to see your press conference or how you played any of the character games! Tag us using @ArdenTheatreCo on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to share.