Some of what we did….
Below are just some of some notes/materials from the workshops. There are also lots available from the pilot in Camden. If you would like more information about the process please do feel free to contact Raging Calm Productions or e-mail me at Jkhrourke@ aol.com
Loosely the 10 days could look like this:
Day 1 & 2 – Establish the ground rules. Find the characters and the world of the play
Day 3 & 4 – Continue finding characters. Find key events
Day 5 & 6 – Start to find the story and the means of telling it (props, set, style choices etc)
Day 7 & 8 – Finalise the story and rehearse
Day 9 & 10 – Rehearse and perform
- Introduce the 2 weeks
- Check in
- Ground rules and sanctions
- Ice breaker games
- Memory exercises moving from individual to collective to imagined
- Characters – Individual biog. lists. Group visualisation exercise, hot seat + improvised exchanges
- Check in
- Ice breaker games
- Physical exercises
- Impro exercises
- Meisner/Storytelling techniques
- Characters – visualisation, hot seat and improvised exchanges.
- Character writing exercise
- Group impro
As a general principle it might be useful to split the days into 1) warm up, 2) acting skills and 3) devising for the first 7-8 days, and to incorporate straight rehearsing late on in the process.
Each day we will have a check in go round at the beginning and a closing go round at the end. After breaks we will often have a gathering go round.
Depending on what we find we might want to use Meisner technique (which would be great for naturalistic impro) or some of Mike Alfred’s storytelling exercises (good for making a connection with the audience and finding a common language
Explore some creative writing exercises, which we could get into on day 2. We might end up with scripted stuff, which finds its way into the final piece, or we might just find good starting points for improvised drama.
Day 3 onwards
Continue to work as above with Warm up / games/ writing/improve/ story and character development. Look at some basic staging theatre techniques to build confidence voice movement etc
A workbook can be a useful tool for participants to keep. Not only to keep all written material together but to keep a journal of thoughts, feelings, the process and progress.
A certificate of achievement was awarded to each participant at the end of each performance, encouraging our invited audience to take part in our celebration.
The early stages of a workshop are to build a group and develop trust. Lots of the games for actors on the link provided (below) which can assist in this. Dive into writing: don’t be afraid to dive straight into writing exercises, being mindful to have additional support for those who may require it.
Simple writing/ drama/ writing exercises to develop characters:
Think of an event i.e. a funeral: write as central point on a flip chart and ask those in the group to think of characters that may be at the event. How near to the circle would they be i.e. the gardener may be at a distance, the sister of the deceased very near. See the notes below ask each person to write a character.
Create an instinctive biography
Create a character out of your world – within your terms of reference
Where they live what type of accommodation
Who they live with
What immediate blood relatives
How they get their money
Something they lack in their lives
Something they believe in
Last time they laughed
A precious object
A very fond memory
Something in life they want
Who would they least like to see
Last time they cried
Something makes them angry
An uncomfortable conversation with someone
What is it?
Someone who has power over them
What they dream of
Where they are now
What they are thinking about saying
Three other things you know about them
Each person reads out their written work. Hot seating of the characters can come next. If you’re unsure what hot-seating is – Google does!
We want you to be these people
Switch off the judgment brain use the experimental brain
Get each participant to occupy a space in the room and talk them through a 24 hour clock. They move in silence through what their character would be doing at any given time, as called out by the facilitator
What do they see?
What do they really look like?
What do they smell?
What can they feel against their skin?
What are they wearing?
Where is the light in the room?
Curtains – Blinds
Is anyone else in the room?
Think about the character in a different physical environment and how they feel – in the rain/snow/sun wind etc
Last time they were in the wind with someone
Last time they were powerless in relation to another person
Who was that?
What the situation was
What did you think?
Was it someone else’s fault or your fault?
How did it make you feel about the other person?
How did it make you feel about yourself?
Who else was involved in the situation?
If upsetting things come (as they may from lived experience) just observe them
What did it mean – this situation of powerless?
What do you wish you had done?
Make a decision about time and place
Be clear about who else was there
If it was a group or one person
Get a pen and paper and write down what happened
Think of a recurring dream. Go into pairs. Tell the other person the dream, who then makes it their own and shares with the group.
Writing from lived experience.
Experienced, professional trained facilitators should be used when delivering workshops that explore lived experience with vulnerable individuals and those who may also living with trauma.
Write about being judges
Write a letter to your 18 year old self
Write a letter congratulating yourself on taking part in the workshop
Write about saying goodbye to an addiction – an illness as loved one for example
If you are bringing this work to performance standards (as we did) then the facilitator will need to act as director and producer bringing often a very diverse and rich range of material together.
Drama Toolkit – A to Z Drama Games
Just one of our favourites! Can also be delivered with EastEnders theme! Probably best to watch the video of the workshops for that!
Zip Zap Boing
People stand round in a circle.
One person begins by looking in a direction and saying ‘zip’ the next person then says zip and it continues round in a circle.
The next command is boing (difficult to type, as in the sound a spring makes.) This changes the direction of the zip and so it continues back around in the opposite direction.
Finally Zap, Zap throws the ‘zip’ across the circle. The person who says zap points to who they want to have the zip. The receiver then looks in the direction they wish to continue play and the zip moves on.
Here comes the fun part!
You can’t boing a boing, you can’t zap a zap, you can’t boing a zap or zap a boing you can only zip a zap and zip a boing! Simple right?
Fantastically fun game once people have mastered it!