“An approach to creating drama works that enables a group to consider a range of options or possible outcomes for a dramatic conflict or complication. A small subgroup uses improvisation to explore a dramatic situation while the rest of the group observes. All members of the full group participate in creating the scene – through discussion, by stopping the scene to make suggestions, or by taking over a role. The objective is to shape an authentic scene that fits the dramatic context and is satisfying to the whole group. This approach is central to Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed.”
-Ontario Secondary Curriculum, The Arts
Big Idea: To improvise a scene based on the play Meet Cute. To use the technique of Forum Theatre, in which audience members stop the action and take over roles in order to suggest new ways for characters to solve their problems.
By the end of this lesson students will be able to:
Identify conflict situations and discover possible solutions
Use role play to explore personal and social issues
Analyze and use the conventions of Forum Theatre
Materials: Meet Cute script excerpt
A2. Elements and Conventions: use the elements and conventions of drama effectively in creating individual and ensemble drama works, including works based on a variety of sources
A3. Presentation Techniques and Technologies: use a variety of presentation techniques and technological tools to enhance the impact of drama works and communicate for specific audiences and purposes
A2.2 use a variety of conventions to develop character and shape the action in ensemble drama presentations
A3.1 use a variety of techniques to increase interaction with or participation by the audience
B1.2 interpret short drama works and identify and explain their personal response to the works
B2.2 explain how dramatic exploration can contribute to personal growth and self-understanding
B3.2 identify specific social skills and personal characteristics they have acquired or strengthened through drama work that can help them succeed in other areas of life
C1.1 identify the drama forms, elements, conventions, and techniques used in their own and others’ drama works, and explain how the various components are used or can be used to achieve specific purposes or effects
B3.1 explain how the strategies for conflict resolution and team building used in drama can be applied in the workplace
Health and Physical Education
C1.3 demonstrate an understanding of how relationships develop through various stages, and describe the skills and strategies needed to maintain a satisfactory relationship as the relationship evolves (e.g., communication and interpersonal skills, adaptive and coping skills, conflict resolution strategies)
C2.2 demonstrate an understanding of the skills and strategies needed to build healthy social relationships (e.g., peer, school, family, work) and intimate relationships
C2.5 describe factors that influence sexual decision making, and demonstrate an understanding of how to use decision-making and communication skills effectively to support choices related to responsible and healthy sexuality
C3.3 describe skills and strategies (e.g., communication, social, refusal, adaptive, and coping skills, conflict resolution strategies) that can be used to prevent or respond to situations of verbal, physical, and social bullying and sexual harassment
Read outloud the above definition of what Forum Theatre is for your class. If they need a further explanation or a visual example, play the following clips:
Tedx on Forum Theatre at 3:40min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcLcXeXJVDU&t=252s
Theatre of The Oppressed NYC at 1.22min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi1HfSiMxCU&t=50s
Divide students into pairs to rehearse the scenes. When they feel ready, students will perform the scene for the class without interruption.
They will perform the scene a second time through, but this time any student may yell “stop” at any given time. If a student takes over a role, they must change the dialogue or action in order to improve John or Jane’s situation. (Examples for changes: using different language, reacting differently, or being silent instead of speaking/speaking instead of being silent.)
Run the scene and wait for someone to stop the action. If students seem hesitant to do so, you should stop the action at an appropriate time and ask for a volunteer to take over a role.
Each time the scene is stopped, ask the class to suggest the most logical outcome of the change in action or dialogue.
Continue to work through the scene a few times. It often requires repetition for Forum Theatre to develop workable solutions.
Assign students to groups of three or four. They may explore the conventions of Forum Theatre for extra practice.
At the end of the exercise, ask:
How did you feel about playing your character in the improvised scene?
Did the Forum Theatre activity offer any suggestions for behavior in real life?
Which strategies do you think could have provided the most help to John? Why?
Which strategies do you think could have provided the most help to Jane? Why?
How do we apply these strategies and tactics to our real lives and our interaction with people we talk to everyday?