(with an example from A Midsummer Night's Dream)
|Dropping-in a Line
Submitted by: Amy Ulen
(adapted from lessons by Shakespeare
Date: August 1994
To help students create an emotional response to the text.
- Students sit with eyes closed.
- Teacher talks them through a relaxation exercise.
- Drop-in the line:
- Speaking in a very relaxing voice (one that you would use to lull a
child to sleep), begin reading the text.
- When you hit a key word or phrase, begin asking questions about the
word or phrase.
- The questions come from the
- story up to this point in the text
- scene or situation
- actor or class
- It is important that the teacher does not lead the participants to
any interpretation through the questions asked. The questions or series of questions
should invite multiple, even contradictory thoughts and responses in the actor/class.
Because a question is never truly neutral, multiple questions, four or five, are necessary
for each word or phrase.
- After dropping-in the entire line, read the line to the class while
they are still in a state of relaxation with their eyes closed.
- Instruct the students to open their eyes, and have them write about
the activity. In this case, the teacher will dictate the line while the students write,
and then the students will respond in writing to questions posed by the teacher. Other
writing ideas include:
- After they open their eyes -- without class discussion -- have the
students write their observations about what they heard. In small groups, have the
students share their writing. With the entire class, have each group report on what they
heard and observed concerning the text.
- Before dropping-in the line, ask a group of students to create a
tableau of the line as you are reading. After the rest of the class opens their eyes, have
them write about what they see.
- Closure -- make sure you allow enough time for closure (this is
extremely important when working with a highly emotional scene). Bring the class out of
their state of relaxation by engaging in a warm-up and discussion of the activity. Do not
allow them to critique the exercise itself, they should only discuss what came up for them
during the activity that they would like to share with the rest of the class.
- One final note on dropping-in -- do not attempt this exercise
until you have developed a good relationship with the class. Make sure that the class
feels comfortable with one another before you ask them to close their eyes. The students
must trust you and their classmates so that they may relax enough for this exercise to
work. Only drop in key scenes and lines. You may also teach students how to drop-in, and
then have them form acting companies and drop-in scenes to be performed in front of the
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