Ensemble Building Activity

AIM:    To practice ensemble building with young students by sharing and teaching unique talents/quirks. 
OBJECTIVE: To share and learn to celebrate their unusual tricks and then teach them to their classmates. Every student has an unusual trick they can do! It’s a unique little quirk, which makes them special.    
  • Share their unique tricks in a goofy talent show setting.
  • Learn how to be a patient teacher
  • Be open minded to learning something that seems impossible
  • Have pride in their unique “quirks”
  • Learn to look vulnerable in front of their peers when performing a new skill/trick that is difficult/hard to master.
  • Be a supportive audience for each other during a vulnerable presentation.
  • Approach a “silly” activity with seriousness.
Explain to students, “This activity is called, “Stupid Human Tricks”. 
  1. We explain what a ‘stupid human trick’ is: “Everyone has an unusual trick they can do! It’s a unique little quirk, which makes you…you! There are no excuses! Everyone has something!”
  2. Give students some examples:
    1. Body Tricks: double jointed body parts, wiggling your ears, touching your tongue to your nose
    2. Athletic Tricks: splits, flips, handsprings, stand on your head,
    3. Knowledge Tricks: say the 50 president’s names in less than a minute, sing the alphabet backwards, recite the “I had a Dream Speech”
    4. Misc: Shakespeare Sonnet in another language, drinking water from a straw up their nose, etc..
  1. Explain the rules:
    • The trick has to be performed in ONE MINUTE or less.
    • Have 2 – 3 kids show examples.
    • They will pair up with someone they have NOT worked with yet.
    • They will practice together for 5 – 7 minutes.
    • They have to teach their partner their “trick”. 
      • This is the key lesson: Even if it is a body trick that would be impossible to teach…they must commit, modify and work together to teach each other the trick to the best of their ability.
    • They must practice presenting their trick as an “act”. Beginning, middle and end. (Intro, Trick, and Bow)
  1. Group comes together as a whole and we present as many partners as possible.
    • Remind students that they are on stage and they must commit to presenting their tricks as a full scale scene.
FOLLOW-UP:Discus why this activity is relevant to our work in the theatre: (Working together, patience while learning something difficult, being vulnerable on stage, presenting the trick as a finished scene).
Ask the students:  “Was it harder being the teacher or the student? Why?”
“How did it feel to present a trick that you haven’t mastered yet?”