Main Objective: To use naturalistic acting techniques to examine the issue of bullying and harassment.
- To explore the body language of statues and power
- To identify and enact human responses to messages of welcome or rejection.
- To work in groups to make and present a drama on the theme of bullying.
Materials: An empty space and chairs
Check In: At the beginning of the session, the facilitator invites participants to offer a brief, individual response about how they are feeling (physically/emotionally) or what they are looking forward to regarding their work together. This strategy recognizes that affect (body, emotion) and intention shape how an individual participates in the learning environment, particularly when the exploration involves physical or emotional risk-taking by the participants.
WALK IT, TALK IT: Mingle around the room, walking and talking in the manner of:
HARDS – slouch, swagger, and call out across room to his mates. Pair up on command: 30 seconds to boast about your latest tough deed.
SHYS – scuttle, dart, and make little greetings as you pass. Pair up on command: 30 seconds to ask for directions
STARS – saunter or strut, greet your fans, stop to pose for cameras. Pair up on command: 30 seconds to boast about your latest movie or engagement.
SnapShot: Divide into groups of three and each group make a still image of:
- the star hits town
- louts hang out on local street
- first day at a new job.
Each group presents to the class.
Comment on differences in body language
- What differences in body language did you see in those pictures?
- Were the bodies more open or more closed?
- Where was the focus of that picture?
- How was it made more interesting by use of levels, angles, proximity of one character to another, and so forth?
Pair up. One person brings out a chair and sits on it.
Show a tableau of the bully (standing) demanding money from the other (sitting). Upon instruction, bring the scene to life with a line from the bully, ‘You know what I want – so give it to me!’
Swap roles the tableau is of the bully lounging on the seat and the other person arriving to find their seat taken. Upon command, bring the scene to life with the line, ‘Excuse me, but that’s my seat…’
Have all pairs play at once. Freeze them and activate one or two pairs at a time to take lightning looks at their scenes.
Talk about body language of status. Look at how status is conferred.
Replay. Ask for some partnerships to replay the scene, but as characters of equal status.
Discuss what differences you notice in what is done and or said.
What are the bully characters doing with body / voice / choice of language/ positioning o claim status?
What are the victim characters doing with body / voice /choice of language/ positioning to bestow status?
What difference do you see when they are played at equal status?
How do actors create images of status? Point out how a role is both created and bestowed by the reactions of others.
When / where do you see this happening in real life?
Human guinea pig’ scenarios:
Each scene is to begin with the others acting as friends gossiping about the weekend. Upon a command, the ‘guinea pigs’ arrive into their groups. Four variants are played in the following order (maintain the order to finish on a positive note):
- the arriving party is ignored
- the arriving party is blamed for something
- the arriving party is actively welcomed and included
- the arriving party is treated as a celebrity.
What was it like to be ignored, blamed, welcomed or fussed over?
What emotions do these different responses trigger in real life?
How did each affect the character’s behaviour (voice, body, dialogue)?
If this was real life, rather than make believe, how would these experiences affect someone?
In real life, what are some of the reasons why groups hand out different sorts of treatment?
Making a scene from a story
– Small group improvisation
- Set groups to prepare an improvisation around the title ‘new kid’. Distribute different tasks to each group
- A new kid approaches a group in the yard and is welcomed
- A new kid is introduced to the ‘wrong’ group by a teacher
- A new kid is called over to the group and given a celebrity welcome
- A new kid boasts about previous exploits
- The group tests a new kid out
- A new kid is reassured by parents on the first day of school.
- Allow students time to talk through, cast and try out their scene.
- Present the scenes to the class.
Using Poetry as a stimulus to explore the issue of bullying
FOUR O’CLOCK FRIDAY
Four o’clock, Friday, I’m home at last,
time to forget the week that’s passed.
On Monday break they stole my ball
And threw it over the garden wall.
On Tuesday morning, I came in late,
But they were waiting behind the gate.
On Wednesday afternoon, in games,
They threw mud and called me names.
Yesterday, they laughed after the test,
‘cos my marks were lower than the rest.
Today, they trampled my books on the floor
And I was kept in because I swore.
Four o’clock, Friday, at last I’m free;
For two whole days they can’t get me.
Alternative improvisation exercise is that each group could improvise the story in the poem. You don’t narrate the story instead you act out the scenario.
Participants stand in a circle. The group is given a prompt that sets a challenge for the day or reflects on what happened. For example: To end our work, we will offer a group Words of Wisdom that explains how we felt about the day. Each person will offer a word as we make up sentence together. Our goal is to build on the word and idea that is offered before. One person volunteers to begin. Each person offers one word each, to collectively build a short sentence or phrase. Today-was-fun-because-we-got-to-play-and-think-together. After the group feels a complete phrase/sentence been spoken, everyone energetically says “yes” and shimmies into the circle, then steps back into the circle for the next phrase to begin. The next person in the circle then says the first word of the next Words of Wisdom statement. The facilitator can do multiple statements, moving around the circle or through a row or group of seated participants. The tone and style of these short sayings, or words of wisdom, can vary. They can be inspirational, like Zen quotations, silly like fortune cookies, or can follow a more serious reflective approach.