In education today, the Arts, particularly the dramatic arts are given little value. What many individuals with this perception fail to realize is the great wealth of skills, attitudes and creativity that learning Drama encompasses. The article Why Teach Drama? outlines this beautifully.
Therefore, in hopes of sparking a passion in someone, today’s exploration was theatre. We particularly focused on Improvisation. Our passionate speaker today was Holleay from Telus Spark.
We started our morning off with discussion on what theatre is and Holleay shared why she is so passionate about it and how she became involved in theatre.
Then Holleay lead us through some theatre warm-ups to get our bodies energized and ready to engage. Movement and awareness of our bodies is really important in theatre and we learned that this is what many theatre troops do at the beginning of every gathering.
The first theatre exercise we did was called Mirror. Students were paired and asked to face their partners. One person was designated as the leader and the other as the “mirror.” The leader needs to make slow, simple gestures or movements and the “mirror” is supposed to follow along. The goal of this activity is to collaborate with and pay attention to another person. So it was important that both individuals maintain strong eye contact and work together to make an outsider wonder who is leading and who is following. Can you tell who is the leader and who is the mirror?
The next two exercises used improvisation tools called “accepting” and “offering.”
In the first game, the first person chooses an action, an object or person and offers it to the audience. The second person then “accepts” the offering and adds on to the story with a new offering. We keep adding to the story until we feel ready to reset.
The second exercise was similar to the first one and it was called Human Machine. This time, the first person chooses a repetitive action that they continue the doing the whole time. The second person will accept the action and add another movement that would build on to the machine. There were many giggles as we participated in these exercises.
The next exercise was called “Speak in One Voice.” This exercise develops listening and sharing focus. In this game we have a group of three. The first person is an interviewer and asks a simple question like, “What is your favourite colour?” and they other two people have to answer the question as one person. This improv game requires eye contact and being able to anticipate and work together to answer the questions and one person. This was a tricky challenge!
During the last part of our day, we learned a few basics about stage combat using swords. We learned about depth perception and how great technique will convince the audience the the actors are really fighting, where as in reality there is little or no contact. We learned some basic fencing footwork and techniques to block and advance towards an opponent on stage.
Today was a great day full of movement, laughter and fun. Our exploration would not have been possible without our partnership with Telus Spark’s SHIFTLab team. We appreciate Jackie and Holleay taking the time to come visit us at PWE and for Holleay sharing her passion for theatre.
Telus Spark is a great place to explore and visit. They have many interactive exhibits, experiments live demos, shows in their Dome Theatre and a great outdoor play space called TheBrainasium! Click on the following for more information about Telus Spark and the many programs and experiences they have to offer!
Website: TELUS Spark
Youtube: TELUS Spark World of Science