Pantomime, the art of acting without words, conveys a story, event or meaning with only body movement. To excel as a mime requires body awareness and control. For drama class in any grade, begin with exercises that allow students to become aware of and express themselves with their bodies through engaging in simple tasks and activities.
Divide your students into pairs, with one partner acting as the leader and one as the follower. The leader begins by moving a body part, while the follower tries to copies the movements exactly. This exercise forces the leader to pay attention to involuntary movements as well, since the follower reflects back any actions. After about five minutes, teams should switch roles. Discuss with them the ease with which they could control their deliberate movements as the leaders and how often they moved habitually, without awareness.
Acting Like Animals
Call out the name of an animal -- such as cat, bird, snake or turtle -- and have your students demonstrate the animal's behavior. As the students work, guide them to investigate the speed and agility of each animal's movements, and the parts of their own bodies that best represent the characteristics of the chosen animal. Alternatively, write them names of animals in small pieces of paper, have each student select one blindly from a bag or bowl and then, working solo, demonstrate his animal to the group.
Entrances and Exits
Create an imaginary doorway between two chairs in the front of the room. One by one, whisper to each student an imaginary event, such as winning the lottery, being dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, being robbed or meeting a favorite movie star. Have that student enter the room with the knowledge of this event, displaying the effects of that knowledge through movement, rather than with words. Ask the other students to guess what just happened. Switch the exercise by having them exit the space after giving them the situation.
Have your students pantomime washing dishes, mowing the lawn or playing a game of tennis without any props. With the students, brainstorm a list of activities to be pantomimed and write them down on slips of paper; then have each student select one activity at random to present to the group. This can be developed into a game by choosing group activities for the subjects of the pantomimes, such as playing a game of basketball or doing yard work. As students correctly guess the activity, have them join in until everyone gets it.
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