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C L A S Photo: Claire Harris

S R O O M

A C T I V I T Y

Teacher Resource Package


atyp Education brings a new world of Drama experience to your students. Melding the buzz of new technology, hands-on creative arts experiences and rigorous learning – we create activities to delight students of all ages. Our programs are about tailoring creative solutions for teachers. Rather than one-size-fits-all workshops and residencies, we make sure each experience meets your specific needs. Our specialist Arts educators, Heather and Adèle, will work with you to create an experience that’s perfect for your class. So whether you bring your class to us at the Wharf or we bring Sydney’s top artists to you – let atyp Education be the first place you turn to for inspiration and support in drama education.

This Resource Package has been designed as a classroom tool to assist with the preparation, viewing, evaluation and analysis of the Australian Theatre for Young People (atyp) rehearsed reading of Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things. The notes and activities have been divided into three components: Before you see The Shape of Things The Reading: Behind the Scenes The Shape of Things After you see The Shape of Things

They are designed for students from Years 11-12; however some of the activities could be adapted for younger year groups. NSW BOS Syllabi have been used as a guide for this resource package. We hope you find these activities useful and that they enhance your creative arts experiences in the classroom. Adèle Jeffreys and Heather Clark Education Managers Australian Theatre for Young People


table of contents before you see the shape of things black comedy – the genre rehearsed reading in rehearsal

the reading: Behind the scenes of the shape of things the creative team & cast program photos from the reading

after you see the shape of things: Written Responses initial reaction the elements of drama

Practical Responses character / role tension actor-audience relationships what is art?

acknowledgements


before you see the shape of things C L

black comedy: genre the shape of things is considered to be a black comedy.

A S

What makes a play a comedy?

S R O

What makes the comedy black?

O M

A

What are you expecting from the shape of things?

C T I

I T Y

Photo: Claire Harris

V


Photo: Adèle Jeffreys

rehearsed reading A moved or rehearsed reading is a reading of a play where the actors have scripts in hands. The director reads the stage directions. Sometimes the actors will be seated and it is purely voices that carry the story along. Other times directors may choose to block the scenes in the space.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a rehearsed reading? ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ What are you expecting from the reading?____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ Why do you think atyp decided to stage a rehearsed reading? ______________________________________________________________________________________


in rehearsal atyp education mangers Heather Clark and Adèle Jeffreys with the cast in rehearsal for atyp’s moved reading of Neil Labute’s The Shape of Things.

C L A S S R O O M

A C

Photo: Adèle Jeffreys

scene one : overlapping lines rehearsal activity: soundscaping The following vocal warm up was used to prepare for the overlapping of lines in scene 1 Actors lie on a circle with their heads facing in towards the centre—as close as is comfortably possible. •

Start humming on your out breath. It doesn’t have to be a note just an mmmm

Notice when your breath overlaps with other people’s breath, your sound overlaps with their sound

Play with the length of the hum, the tone of your hum. Listen to the other hums in the room and comment on it vocally with a complimentary sound, tone, length or a discordant , opposite one.

Start to play with the words “we know”

Experiment yourself with how many

T I V I T Y

variations you feel not noticing others •

Use the words to make responses to the other voices in the room

When you are ready find a climax and then an ending

Photo: Adèle Jeffreys


scene three - a living room: blocking tension We know in this scene that things heat up between Evelyn and Phillip. The stage directions state that they are in a lounge room and that Phillip and Jenny are on opposite couches. We decided to play with the space between Evelyn and Phillip. Adam

C L A S S R O O

Phillip

Evelyn

Jenny

Have a look at the diagrams to the left: How does Phillip’s body language portray his initial impression of Evelyn?___________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Comment on the space between Evelyn and Phillip _______________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ How do you think Adam and Jenny are feeling? _____________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Who has the highest status in this scene? Why? _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ How does status relate to level here?

M

A C T I V I T Y

Note the change of seating arrangement. What effect does this have on the audience? __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ Comment on the relationship between Evelyn and Phillip now? ______________________________________ __________________________________________________ What is Adam’s role here? ________________________ __________________________________________________ How does level influence status in these pictures? __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ Which version of blocking do you prefer? Why? ___ __________________________________________________ Which version do you think we chose to use?______ __________________________________________________

Photos: Adèle Jeffreys

Have a look at the diagrams to the right:


where is the action? Have a look at where we are plotting each scene in our space. Why do you think we have planned things this way?

C L A S S R O O M

A C T I V I T Y


the reading the shape of things

atyp Creative Team the shape of things atyp Artistic Director

Fraser Corfield

Co-Director

Heather Clark

Co-Director

Adèle Jeffreys

LX Operator

Juztine McGuire

atyp Cast the shape of things At atyp we make theatre by young people, for young people. Our cast members range from 16 to 26 years of age.

Evelyn

Claudia Osbourne

Adam

Sam Marques

Phillip

Sean Marshall

Jenny

Ella Cook


C L A S S R O O M

A C T I V I T Y


C L A S S R O O M

A C T I V I T Y


Photos: Claire Harris

the shape of things on stage: the rehearsed reading

Photo: Glen Jeffreys


after you see the shape of things written responses C

initial reaction

L

_______________________________________________________________________________

A S S R O O M

A

What was your initial reaction to the reading? What sticks out in your mind?

_______________________________________________________________________________ Would you recommend the reading to a friend? Why / why not? _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

elements of drama Comment on how the reading used the elements of drama: Tension: Where were the moments of tension in the play? _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Which moment held the most tension for you? Why? _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Recreate the tension in the moment as a tableau.

C

Focus: How did the directors draw the audience's focus to the action in each scene?________________________________________________________________________

T

_______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

I

Identify a moment that was really successful.____________________________________

V

_______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

I

Space: How did the actors use the stage space? ________________________________

T

_______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

Y

What was the most interesting aspect of the use of space? Why? _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________


Movement How was movement used to portray each character? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Symbol Can you identify any symbols/motifs used in the production?

C L A S S R

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ What were the most successful symbols used? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Mood / Atmosphere Describe the mood of the piece at the beginning, middle and end of the play. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

O

What sort of feeling did you have at the end of Evelyn’s monologue? Did it change your opinion of her? Why/why not?

O

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

M

Where were the high points in the performance? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ How did you feel at the end of the performance? Why?

A C

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ What devices were used to create mood throughout the performance?

T

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

I

Draw a mood map that shows the emotional journey of the overall show:

V I T Y


after you see the shape of things practical responses character / role

C L A S S R

Each character has a turning point where the audience realizes they are not quite as they seem.

practical task In groups of 4 “cast “ the play. Evelyn Adam Jenny Photo: Adèle Jeffreys

Phillip Begin with the obvious relationships Adam—Evelyn

O

Jenny—Phillip

In these pairs create a frozen tableau that instantly represents the relationships of the characters at the following moments in the play ( you will end up with 3).

O M

Beginning

Middle

End

You can decide on the scene or line that defines this moment.

A C

Swap partners

Jenny—Adam

Evelyn—Phillip

Repeat the exercise above Swap partners again

Phillip—Adam

Evelyn—Jenny

T

Repeat the exercise one final time

I

Perform your tableau’s for another group in the class.

V

Reflection

I

Recreate the strongest tableau from the other group (in your opinion).

T

Discuss the relationships and turning points between the characters.

Y

Why were you drawn to this?


tension Tension between characters builds and relationships change throughout the play.

Brainstorm What is the turning point for each of the characters? The moment of the highest tension? See if you can pinpoint. The scene or even the line. Who are they interacting with? What has changed?

C Evelyn

L A

Adam Jenny Phillip

S In the space below draw a tension map of the play:

S R O O M practical task

A C T I V I T Y

In groups of 4: •

Create a physical representation of the tension map you have drawn

Create a soundscape of the tension map you have drawn

Perform for the class

Reflection Discuss the differences/similarities between groups. Which method was more successful in the portrayal of tension (physical or sound?) why? Photo: Adèle Jeffreys


actor-audience relationship brainstorm Scene 9 : the big revelation. We broke down the 3rd wall, had Evelyn address the audience directly and the rest of the cast scattered through the crowd. Why do you think we chose to use this technique in this scene? ________________

C

_____________________________________________________________________________

L

_____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

A S

What was the effect for the audience? _______________________________________

Was it successful? Why? Why not? ___________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

S R O

practical task In your class group play with scene 9, assign 4 people to be the characters and the rest of the class to be the audience. Replay a version of the scene: 1. where you see all of the characters onstage

O

2. with Evelyn addressing he audience directly and Adam, Phillip and Jenny in the audience

M 3. can you think of another alternative? Have a go!

A

reflection Discuss as a class:

C

What was the difference between the scenes you performed?

T

V I

How did it feel as the audience? Discuss the tone/mood/atmosphere? How connected did you feel to the action and what Evelyn is saying?

T Y

Which version did you prefer? Why?

Photo: Claire Harris

I


what is art? This play inevitably brings up discussion about what is art? Some of our audience responses have been :

C L

“Art is not vandalism. You can destroy or deface objects in the name of art but not people or other artworks”

Photo: Glen Jeffreys

A S

brainstorm

S R

what is art?

O O M

A

practical task

C

In groups of 3 or 4—physically portray your top 3 responses to the brainstorm above in 3 tableaus.

T

Perform your tableaus for another group in the class.

I V reflection

I T Y

Discuss the similarities and differences of your tableaus and responses.

Has this changed your opinions?


acknowledgements

A big thank you to all of the cast, crew and creatives from atyp who assisted with the rehearsed reading of the shape of things and the accompanying resource.

If you would like to receive further information about atyp’s education programs or rehearsed readings please visit our website

Photo: Claire Harris

www.atyp.com.au/education


theshape of things_atyp resource package