Myths and Legends: Exploring Mythology through Drama
Aim: To introduce children to the world of mythology through drama, and encourage them to create their own adaptations of myths and legends from various cultures.
Age group: Suitable for children aged 8-12.
Duration: 2-3 hours.
Materials required: A large, open space for movement and improvisation, props such as scarves, hats, or other costume pieces, music or sound effects to create atmosphere, and reference materials such as books or pictures of Greek and Norse mythology.
Learning Opportunity Action Plan:
Introduction (15 minutes)
- Welcome the children to the workshop and introduce the theme of mythology, explaining that they will be exploring myths and legends from Greek and Norse cultures.
- Provide a brief overview of the characteristics of these mythologies, such as the gods and goddesses, heroes, and monsters.
- Invite the children to share any prior knowledge they may have about mythology.
- Mirroring (5 minutes)
- Ask the children to pair up with a partner, facing each other.
- One child should lead while the other follows, mirroring their movements exactly.
- Encourage the children to use different levels (high, medium, low) and different parts of the body (arms, legs, head) to create interesting movements.
- After a minute or two, switch roles so that the other child has a chance to lead and the first child follows.
- Slow-motion movement (5 minutes)
- Ask the children to move around the space in slow motion, as if they are underwater or in outer space.
- Encourage the children to experiment with different movements, such as reaching, stretching, or twisting.
- Play music or sound effects to create a sense of atmosphere and to help the children focus on their movements.
- Sound and movement (5 minutes)
- Ask the children to move around the space, making different sounds with their bodies.
- Encourage the children to experiment with different sounds, such as clapping, stomping, or humming.
- Play music or sound effects to create a sense of rhythm and to help the children synchronize their movements and sounds.
- Emotion and character (5 minutes)
- Ask the children to choose an emotion, such as happiness, sadness, or anger.
- Instruct the children to move around the space, expressing that emotion through their movements and facial expressions.
- Encourage the children to experiment with different levels and speeds, and to try to convey the emotion through their whole body.
- After a minute or two, ask the children to choose a character, such as a superhero, a monster, or a fairy.
- Instruct the children to move around the space, embodying that character through their movements and facial expressions.
- Encourage the children to use their imaginations and to experiment with different styles and techniques to bring the character to life.
Mime and Movement (30 minutes)
- Explain to the children that they will be using mime and movement to explore different myths and legends.
- Provide examples of different myths and legends, such as the story of Medusa or Thor and the Midgard Serpent.
- Divide the children into small groups and assign each group a myth or legend to explore.
- Instruct the children to create a short mime and movement sequence that tells the story of their assigned myth or legend, using props and music or sound effects to enhance the atmosphere.
Examples of Myths:
Here is a list of popular myths and a brief synopsis of each:
- Greek Mythology – The story of Perseus: Perseus was a demigod and the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. He is known for his famous quest to kill Medusa, a creature with snakes for hair and the power to turn people to stone.
- Greek Mythology – The story of Orpheus and Eurydice: Orpheus was a talented musician who fell in love with Eurydice. When she died, he traveled to the underworld to try to bring her back. He was allowed to take her back to the world of the living on one condition – he must not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, he did look back, and Eurydice was lost forever.
- Greek Mythology – The story of Theseus and the Minotaur: Theseus was a hero who volunteered to enter the labyrinth and kill the Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. He succeeded in killing the monster and finding his way out of the maze with the help of a ball of thread.
- Norse Mythology – The story of Thor and the Midgard Serpent: Thor was the god of thunder and one of the most powerful figures in Norse mythology. In this story, he battles the Midgard Serpent, a massive sea monster that threatens to destroy the world.
- Norse Mythology – The story of Odin and the Valkyries: Odin was the chief god of Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard, the home of the gods. He is associated with wisdom, war, and death. In this story, he sends the Valkyries, female spirits who choose who will die in battle and who will live, to aid his favored warriors.
- Egyptian Mythology – The story of Osiris and Isis: Osiris was a god who ruled over the afterlife, and his sister-wife Isis was the goddess of fertility and motherhood. Osiris was killed by his brother, Seth, but was resurrected by Isis and became the ruler of the afterlife.
- Hindu Mythology – The story of Rama and Sita: Rama was an incarnation of the god Vishnu and the hero of the epic Ramayana. In this story, he rescues his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana with the help of his loyal friend Hanuman.
- Chinese Mythology – The story of the Monkey King: The Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, is a legendary figure in Chinese mythology. He is a mischievous and powerful monkey who becomes the disciple of a Buddhist monk and goes on many adventures, including battling demons and fighting for justice.
- Aztec Mythology – The story of Quetzalcoatl: Quetzalcoatl was the god of wind, wisdom, and knowledge in Aztec mythology. He was also associated with the planet Venus and was revered as a patron of arts and crafts.
- Native American Mythology – The story of the Raven: The Raven is a figure in many Native American mythologies, including those of the Pacific Northwest and the Inuit people. He is a trickster figure who is associated with creation and transformation, and is often depicted as a cunning and mischievous bird..
Still Image and Talking Objects (30 minutes)
- Explain to the children that they will be using still image and talking objects to explore the characters and themes of their assigned myths and legends in more depth.
- Instruct the children to create a still image that represents a character or theme from their assigned myth or legend, and to use talking objects to share their thoughts and feelings.
- Encourage the children to think creatively and use their imaginations to bring the characters and themes to life.
Thought Tracking and Action Narration (30 minutes)
- Explain to the children that they will be using thought tracking and action narration to explore the inner thoughts and motivations of the characters in their assigned myths and legends.
- Instruct the children to choose a character or situation from their assigned myth or legend, and to create a short improvisation that uses thought tracking and action narration to reveal the character’s thoughts and feelings and move the story forward.
- Encourage the children to experiment with different styles and techniques, and to work collaboratively to create a cohesive performance.
Conclusion (15 minutes)
- Gather the children together and invite them to share their thoughts and feelings about the workshop.
- Ask the children to reflect on what they have learned about mythology and how they have used drama techniques to explore these stories in a creative and engaging way.
- Thank the children for their participation and encourage them to continue exploring the world of mythology and drama in their own time.