Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Art of Conversation

 Conversations are at the true heart of all dramatic productions, be it a play, a movie or a TV show. They are all basically made up of a string of conversations, strung together by actions and a change of scenery – conversations interspersed by characters going to work, walking, running, eating, sleeping until they have their next conversation. 

 One of our favourite Drama activities takes things right back to the basics of conversation and is aimed specifically at developing this art, this skill to focus on one conversation at a time. I am of course talking about the humble Snippet. It is literally a snippet of conversation, as if overheard in passing, about something as random as a bucket, a lost item, or a Birthday Party. It is quite amazing how much learning can be packed into an activity that takes all of 30 seconds to perform and perhaps 5 mins to teach and prepare. 

Firstly, we work on memorisation skills. The kick-off point of each Snippet is a few given lines that the children must memorise. We usually divide the children into groups of two, each child must assume a character, and is given a line or two to memorise that starts the conversation. 

We use a very effective memorisation technique that becomes the way in which children learn lines for much longer and more complicated scripts for scenes and plays, and ultimately improves their ability to retain information and recall it when required. 

Next we focus on improvisation and creativity as the children have to complete the conversation using their own words. We encourage them to be creative and come up with an unusual, funny or surprising ending. They also have to think about their characters, the relationship between them and the setting for the conversation. 

A Snippet builds Teamwork. 

The children must work together as a team when coming up with the ending or resolution of the situation and rehearse what each one is going to say. Eventually they become so comfortable with these scenarios, that the entire Snippet can be improvised on the spot, using the given lines as a springboard. 

This demands a lot of trust and fast thinking from the children as their confidence and creativity grows. It is an excellent activity for new students to understand the basics of improv, memorisation and performance as a whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment