San Ramon Elementary 4th Graders all enjoyed their Drama course with Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs this Spring! Teachers Ms. Ainsworth, Ms. Dick and Ms. Logue requested a “general theatre and improv” class. This introductory course is designed to teach basic theatre and improvisation technique through collaborative play.
Students learn respect for their instrument (their body & voice), through a series of fun warm ups every day. The lessons are structured in a rehearsal format with a check-in and warm-up preceding content-filled theatre games. Every class is spent actively up on our feet, so the elements of movement – size, weight, tempo, tension, focus, direction – is an early lesson to give young actors a vocabulary with which to work for the rest of the course.
Some other concepts the young actors learn include the essentials of theatre – from stage directions to the many roles in dramatic production. The 4th Graders also practice the acting basics: objective, action & obstacle; and Stanislavski’s ‘Magic If’ exercises are an imaginative highlight.
In the spirit of improvisers everywhere we celebrate every mistake or happy accident with hands thrown in the air and a “Whoohoo!” Kids love this take on ‘failure’ and it seems to propel them fearlessly into the lessons on improvisation where they further learn to be present, focused, enthusiastic young theatre artists.