Year 8 Drama Program Semester 1 Slapstick Comedy and Using Sound in Drama

Year 8 Drama Program Semester 1
Slapstick Comedy and Using Sound in Drama
Objective / Teaching Focus / Content Addressed / Resources
W1: / ·  To get to know each other as a class unit.
·  For the students to become aware of the teacher’s expectations of them in this class.
·  For students to gain an understanding of warm-up’s in Drama.
·  For students to consolidate their learning throughout the course.
·  For students to learn some skills on how to warm up their voice. / ·  Class Bonding/ Getting to know each other. (Class sitting in circle)
·  Discuss Unit of Work
Teacher to go through the unit booklet with students and explain the expectations of them and their tasks throughout the unit.
·  Warm up activities: Everyone Who..
Everyone sits in a circle with a chair, one person in the middle without a chair. The person in the middle is “it” and calls out something that is likely to describe some in the class (eg: Everyone who has a brother?”). Everyone who fits the description must move a chair. The person left without a chair becomes the new “it”.
Introduction to Clowning Unit
·  Creating a clown that is a version of you!
·  Individual task
·  You don’t need to know how to do magic tricks or circus skills- but you do need to know and demonstrate the fundamentals of clowning.
Curiosity: Clowns believe they can do anything and their desire and curiosity to try new things is limitless.
·  Circus train- following one another.
·  Ability circle.
Clowns see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Clowns and children see the world with endless possibility.
·  Making space out of ordinary objects.
·  Props game.
Homework: Bring in a copy of a photo of the most amazing childhood memory.
Lesson 2:
Engagement with the audience: Clowns live in conversation with the audience. This exercise allows students to perform for each other and teaches them that charm or stage presence is about truly believing that you have gifts to offer.
·  Clap and cheer
·  Do ‘nothing’ with the chair
·  Pair and share the photos with one another.
Playing with Pantomime:
·  Introduction to Pantomime
·  Use the worksheets- practice the pantomime actions.
Creating your clown:
·  Brainstorm what made this moment special for you.
·  Re-enact this moment using pantomime to share your story.
·  Introduction to Comedy
Activity: In groups of 4 or 5, students are to create a simple scene/improvisation in which gibberish and gesture are the only modes of communication. The focus of the scene is to ‘learn how to…’ and it relies on an ‘expert’ and ‘apprentices.’ The expert (max 2 per group) must try to teach the apprentices how to make or build something. The scene should be action based. Groups can choose from the following list of suggestions:
-  Making a cake
-  Building a boat
-  How to ski
-  Pitching a tent
-  Surviving in the wild
-  Making wine / Performance:
Preparation techniques for voice and movement for selected drama forms and styles. Mime techniques (creating objects using shape and weight) in drama. (ACADRM043)
Drama processes through exploration of one or more elements of drama (role, character and relationships; voice and movement; space, time and situation; mood, atmosphere and dramatic tension) to establish dramatic meaning and action-audience relationships.
Effective group work processes (problem-solving, listening skills) in drama.
Stage geography, blocking notation and the impact of thrust stages.
Imaginary spaces created by stage components and properties, the elements of drama and audience.
Design and technology to support dramatic meaning and create smooth transitions. Safe practices in drama (backstage management to ensure safe movement) (ACADRM044)
Script interpretation of a scene or section through the elements of drama to highlight mood and reinforce selected themes.
Extended improvisation-exploring community themes based on research and selected drama forms and styles. (ACADRM040)
Drama processes through exploration of one or more elements of drama (role, character and relationships; voice and movement; space, time and situation; mood, atmosphere and dramatic tension) to establish dramatic meaning and impact on audience. Drama structures based on action/reaction and moving to a resolution. (ACADRM042)
Reflective processes on own and others' work, the impact on meaning of the use of the elements of drama in performance and general drama terminology and language.
(ACADRR045) / Charade cards.
W2 / ·  For students to have an understanding of what slapstick comedy is.
·  For students to observe slapstick comedy.
·  For students to attempt slapstick comedy. / Physical Warm Up
Slapstick: Physical Comedy
‘Slapstick’ is a term used to describe a style of comedy that incorporates falling, hitting, tripping, balancing, breaking, chasing and hiding to create humour. It places emphasis on showing comedy rather than creating comedy through dialogue. TV programs that use home videos of people in situations where accidents occur are a good example of how slapstick humour still appeals to audiences today. Home videos are about real mishaps, slapstick is about creating the illusion of mishaps.
Discuss: What are some television shows that you have watched that use slapstick comedy. What has made them successful/unsuccessful?
Activity: Watch excerpts from “Australia’s Funniest Home Videos”.
Discuss why the clips are funny for the audience.
Lesson 4:
Warm Up: Short physical warm up to be run at teacher’s discretion.
Recap: What is ‘slapstick’ comedy?
Activity: Students are to find space in the room and attempt the slapstick exercises on Trip, slip, side fall, collide, stuck, double take and lazzi (see attached sheet). (For safety reasons it may be best to do this activity in a large grassed area).
Have selected students show the class one of their slapstick exercises
W3 / ·  Students will put together the slapstick activities they have learnt into a scene using plot and characters
·  Students will begin to understand how characters can become comical. / Warm Up: recap the slapstick exercises from last lesson.
Activity: students are to get into groups of 4 and create a performance using some of the slapstick comedy skills they learnt last lesson. Students are to be reminded that less is more and that they do not need to use everyone of the techniques they learnt last lesson.
Busy restaurant with a difficult table of guests
Dancing competition where the floors have not been cleaned
Company meeting where everything goes wrong
Students are to rehearse one of the scenes above and then perform to the class
Lesson 6
Physical Warm up
Comic Characters: Characters in comedy can be presented in a variety of ways, from highly stylised to naturalistic. The circus clown often uses slapstick comedy and is an excellent example of a highly stylised character.
Activity: Creating Comic Characters
Comic characters often have a dominant personality trait that is generally seen as failing. Choose one of the following personality traits that you find appealing: greedy, silly, lazy, clumsy, cheeky, bossy, selfish, vain or envious. Walk through the room and find a way of communicating your trait through the way your character walks. As you walk, pause occasionally and find a pose that incorporates use of the arms, hands and facial expressions to communicate the characters personality trait.
Find a word or sound that expresses your character’s personality and repeat this as you walk. Occasionally hold a pose.
While exploring your character try and include a slip, trip, fall or combination of these. Think about your response.
Activity: Join with 4 other characters in the room. Each person must remain in the same character trait that they were just using. Create a scene all characters are in a hospital waiting room. How do they interact with each other. What slapstick exercises will you use?
Perform to class. / Write out tongue twisters on board.
First and Last Lines Activity Sheets.
Group improvisation Exercise Worksheet
W4 / ·  Students will see how status can allow for comedy.
·  Students will use characters, plot and setting to establish a comical scene / Physical Warm Up
Activity: Playing with Status
Students are to walk through the room imagining they are of high status (picture yourself as the most important person in the world). Look at other people in the room and look down on them but do not interact with them. At the given signal everyone is to imagine they are of low status (picture yourself as the least important person in the world).
Teacher is to then split the class in half. Half the class is of high status and half is of low status. The only form of communication is eye contact. At the given signal they groups swap.
Activity: Master and Servant 1 – Establishing Status
Divide into pairs. One person is high status (the master) and one person is low status (the servant). The characters can be of any type. Examples:
o  Coach and athlete
o  Two builders
o  Employer and employee
o  Shop assistant and customer
In the exercise the high status character wants the low status character to complete a task. Both characters should display a dominant character trait. The high status character is often unreasonable about their demands but the low status character is always willing to impress. Swap characters. Selected groups can perform to the class.
Activity: Master and Servant 2 – Undermining Status
In this activity the master is to be a supervisor. The servant makes mistakes, either deliberately or accidentally, and this complicates the situation. When the accidents happen, the masters status is lowered momentarily because the servant is hindering the progress. The master may then re-establish their status by reprimanding the servant or giving the servant a ridiculous punishment.
Activity: Status Line
Students are to get into groups of 5. Each member is numbered from 1 to 5. Number 1 is highest status, number 2 is next in line and so on. Numbers 2 to 5 may only speak to the character either directly above or below them. Number 1 is the leader and can speak to anyone. The members al respect the status of number and the number immediately above them but can be less courteous to the number below them.
The group completes a task, for example the packing of highly sensitive scientific equipment or canisters of smelly gas. As the work is passed down the line, number 1 supervises proceedings and attempts to keep the others in line. Of course accidents and problems occur and blame is passed down the line, with number 5 always being blamed for everything. The leader can sack members and move them down the line if they wish. Participants can plead for mercy of bribe the leader to stay in their current position.
W5/6 / ·  Students will use their understanding of slapstick and comical characters to perform a skit.
·  Students will begin to understand what a parody is and put in into place in a scene / Physical Warm Up
Activity: Perform a skit
A skit is a short, comic performance.
Students are to get into groups of 4. Prepare a short scene that shows characters of different status in a situation of your choosing. You must include examples of some of the slapstick exercises covered.
Perform to class.
Physical Warm Up
Parody is where the characteristics of a chosen person or group of people, or a written work or form of entertainment and imitated for amusement.
Activity: Parody
(a) Choose a famous person to imitate. They may be a movie star, politician, pop star or television personality. Before you begin to practice think of their characteristics. Including: voice, facial expressions, standing posture, seated posture, mannerisms, walk, hair and clothing etc.
Practices being the famous person exactly as they are presented by the media. Do not try to exaggerate their movements or voice.
(b) Use the same personality and exaggerate some or all aspects of their voice and body language. For example: emphasize some words they say, exaggerate a mannerism, use repetition etc.
Activity: Newsflash
Students are to get into groups and prepare a parody of a newscast by imitating and exaggerating the characters and features of a news program.
Perform to class. / Scripts.
W6/7 / ·  Students will use all of the skills covered over the program to perform a structured comedy performance / Physical Warm Up
Performance Task: Master and Servants!
In pairs you’re to devise a scene that clearly shows status between the master and servant:
o  A master and servant
o  Clear status roles
o  Exaggeration to add humour to characters
o  Slapstick, including trips, slips, falls and collisions.
Discuss rehearsal procedure.
Clowning make –up.
Hand out costume design worksheet. / Task sheet
Clowning make up worksheet
Costume design worksheet.
W8/9 / ·  Students will use all of the skills covered over the program to perform a structured comedy performance / Performance of ‘Don’t Slip on the Soap’
Watch back performance
Reflection: Task / Rubric for Performance
Reflection task sheet.
Term 2 Using sound in Drama
W1/ 2 / ·  For students to be aware of sound placement and to assist students in not overusing their voices. (To minimise vocal injury).