The teen years can be a time of emotional volatility, peer pressure and insecurity. Getting involved with theater can help students combat these negative factors by expressing their concerns or issues. Incorporating drama games for teens as part of an acting group can create trust between students, draw them out of their comfort zones and develop greater confidence in performing. Choosing games that develop movement and emotion can help create a fun, safe environment to introduce teenagers to acting.
Improv Games for Teens
Introducing improv games in acting can help teens feel comfortable performing in front of others and adapting to the circumstances of a scene. At the start of the skit, students are given a conflict for their characters to deal with. Students then improvise how their characters react to that conflict. Midway through the scene, another student can enter to deliver a piece of news changing the tone of the interaction. For example, if two characters are arguing about the towel one of them left on the bathroom floor, the new character changes the improv scene when he informs them that his father has been rushed to the hospital with a heart attack.
The Shape-Shifting Chair
Another option for theatre games is pantomiming exercises focused on helping students develop control of their body movement in order to adapt to different situations, settings and emotions. To practice this skill, students are each given a chair and instructed to sit on them. The chairs can be anywhere. Students are then ready to interact with the chairs according to the type of chair and its location. For example, students might pantomime sitting on a throne ruling, in a movie theater watching a horror film, on a roller coaster or on a courtroom witness stand. This exercise challenges students to move their bodies in appropriate ways to each situation and to express corresponding emotions using only movement, not words.
The Lie Detector Game
Many summer camps and student groups use the drama games for teens called "Two Truths and a Lie" as a way for teens to get to know each other. The exercise can also be used in acting classes to help students control their emotions and lie while still being convincing. Each student around the circle in turn introduces himself by sharing three facts about himself with one of the facts actually being a lie. The rest of the group must then guess which one piece of information was untrue. To challenge the students to be convincing, drama coaches instruct them to choose unique facts like interesting places they've traveled, unusual hobbies or famous people they've met.
The Object of Creation
In other theatre games, students can practice movement, expression and teamwork as they cooperate in groups to create objects with their bodies. In the game "the object of creation", coaches divide students into groups of four to six and then announce the name of an object or animal. The students then have a certain amount of time to work together to depict it in a frozen tableau. For example, one group might form a camel by having four students play the legs and form humps with their raised arms and hands with the fifth student playing the neck and head. Groups of students in their frozen tableaus should be positioned in the classroom or theater so other groups can observe each other's results.
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