Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Six Characters in Search of an Author

At University I was a member of Theatre Group and one of my most memorable productions was Six Characters in Search of an author by Pirandello.
(Six characters arrive at a theatre - each in turn melodramatic but with a story to tell , which in turn is part of a whole story......It is theatre within theatre. They are looking for a producer to tell their story.)

In its simplest from this can allow us to explore all 4 skills of language learning, to encourage accurate use of grammar and punctuation and to develop pronunciation, intonation and emotion in spoken language.
The activities below can be used with UKS2,KS3, KS4 and KS5 language learners.the task set by the teacher can challenge the language learners at the level they can operate in the target language.

(You will need an equal number of groups - so that one group can swap work with a second group and then the two groups can come back together and share their work with each other)

  1. Share the idea of mystery characters with the class. Explain how these mystery characters want to tell their story and need a producer to help them put together their story.Can the class help you to write and perform the introductory utterances for the characters? 
  2. Share with the class a picture stimulus. This could be with a mystery picture as above or allow the class to think of characters for themselves.With younger learners maybe we could look at characters we have been  exploring in story ,history etc (pirates.Romans, Kings and Queens, a family from a different time period etc).with older learners maybe we want to link the characters to our investigations of characters we meet in target language poetry and literature. 
  3. Working in groups of six , ask each member of the group to focus on one particular character and to imagine how they might think, look and act (brave, bold, timid, angry, happy, young , old, role in the group).
  4. Depending on the language level and skills of your pupils decide what types of sentences you want the pupils to create as utterances spoken by the characters - so for example with UKS2 and Y7 learners we would want them to write spoken utterances based on : name, age,preferences and personality.With more advanced learners you may want opinions and  personal past history or future hopes.
  5. The pupils must write out their spoken utterances on a strip of paper or card. Each card from the group is gathered together and passed over to a second group.These two groups are now partner groups for the rest of the activities.
  6. The second group of six children must now read the utterances as a team and decide which character might say the utterances. 
  7. Now this second team must create a spoken dramatic performance as an introduction to the characters as if they were on set and speaking with the producer.They have to bring the utterances they have read to life.
  8. The second group should then act out their introduction performances and vice versa. What do the original authors of the characters' utterances think about the characters as they have been brought to life by the second group? 
  9. Finally can the original group that wrote the utterances , take back the characters and create a story board about each of the characters reflecting how the personality was brought to life by the second group? 

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