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Improvisational Activities To Elevate the Artistry in the Performance
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Creating Believable Human Experiences

Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.

Albert Einstein

According to Professor Rives B. Collins, Theatre Arts Department Chair at Northwestern University, “Creative Drama is defined as an improvisational, non-exhibition, processed-centered form of drama in which players are guided by a leader to imagine, enact, and reflect upon human experience. The primary purpose is to facilitate learning by the participants rather than create a performance for an audience.”

The following improvisational exercises help students portray their characters more instinctively.

EXERCISE: HOT SEAT

Hot Seat helps students better understand their character(s) and brings to the surface emotions that motivate their character(s). These insights might not be present in their cutting but can inform the interper.

 

    • “Hot Seating” is a strategy in which an individual or a group interviews a student portraying a character.
    • We suggest the coach serves as the interviewer to control the questions asked. This way, the coach will know if the student is using the text authentically. The interviewer can ask questions as in a test or step into the scene and inquire, in character, about a specific part of the text.
    • The student will answer the questions as the character. The answers should come naturally to them as if the coach asked the student, “What is your birthday?” The student should feel how instinctively they knew the answer to that question. 
    • The information needs to be accurate from the play but can move into the imagination realm if they can justify their answer from the text.
    • The questions asked in Hot Seat are not surface-level questions. The interviewer(s) must have read the entire play.
    • To practice this, you can Hot Seat the student as the student. This method will teach them how well they need to know their character.
    • When the Hot Seat is in progress, everyone must participate. This method is not an activity to do in front of the class or include spectators.