Priceless Summer Drama: Freshmen Deliver

Drama on the Stage

By Todd Novak and Matt Kiesow

We want to give our freshman the chance - even for the non-dramatic - to make a memory on our stage during our summer transition program called Connections.  We want to challenge them to do something difficult and possibly uncomfortable. For that quiet creative, it’s oxygen. For the athlete, it’s movement with a different purpose. For the shy, it’s a challenge that just might crack the shell. Freshmen embrace this. When we walk out of the the building after this event, we are different.

Below are the instructions for how to run Drama on the Stage. We have a blast doing this. The laughter and the new perspectives we gain are wonderful dividends for taking a risk on acting.

Supplies:  

  • Instruction Sheet for Mentors (See below and linked HERE)

  • 3-4 different props per team from the Theatre Dept. (They can be things like hats, stuffed animals, telephone, broom etc.)

  • Three props for teachers to do a demonstration skit

  • Select one or two objects that all teams have in common

  • Scoring sheet (HERE)

  • Costumes for the three celebrity judges

  • Pens

  • Timer

Location:  

We use our Little Theatre for performances.  We use a classroom for each team for performance preparation.

Set-up:  

To demonstrate what the students will do, the staff  puts together and performs a sample skit using ideas for a setting and theme given to us from the Connections students.  We pull three random props for the staff to use ahead of time to show how they must work those props into their team’s skit.

Teacher Role:  

  • To perform a sample skit for the teams to view

  • To monitor each team’s classroom progress in creating their skit

  • To be the celebrity judges who will judge and score the teams’ skits

Mentor Role:  

  • To lead and be part of their team’s skit/team cheer

  • To have an active role with their team’s performance

  • To monitor and focus their team to put together the best skit/team cheer possible

Presentation:  

Ok, freshmen! It’s time for a little drama at Washington High School. In

just a few minutes you are going to head to a classroom and create a skit. You will have a couple of things to help you out. You will have a number of props to use in your skit as well as the location for where the skit takes place and a brief outline of the plot for your story. You and your team will fill in the details.

In addition to that, you will also develop a cheer for your team.

Both the skit and the cheer will be performed on this stage this afternoon!

First, we would like to show you what this might look like. We are going to perform a short skit ourselves as a way to model this event. To start us off we need a location . . . .

Ok, now we need a situation or basic plot idea . . .

Ok, here are our props that we will use in this play.

When you do this, you will have about 35 minutes to put together your skit and cheer. The three of us are going to take about five minutes to prepare a skit and then perform it for you.  

Teachers perform their skit.

Ok, that’s our best effort to show you what you are going to do. I’ll have each mentor select an envelope and head to your rooms with your props.

When you return ready to perform, we will also be joined by three judges who will come and evaluate your performance. This will be for team points with the first place team earning 20pts.

You will be evaluated in the following ways:

Team Cheer will be scored separately. We will award points to the top three teams.

Team Skit will be evaluated in the following areas and each team will earn points depending on their ranking.

  • Plot

  • Creativity

  • Everyone Participates

  • Time

(A copy of the rubric can be found HERE.)  

Do you have any questions?

Play:  

Teams are sent to their assigned classrooms for approximately 30-45 minutes.  During that time they must create their skit and team cheer. This time is a guide, and can be adjusted as needed.  We have found that using the school intercom is very helpful in dismissing all teams at the same time. This keeps everyone in their rooms until we are ready to go. Students come back into the Little Theatre for the performances to start.  

Following each team’s performance, the “Celebrity Judges” will give feedback on what they saw. This is similar to what you would see on “American Idol”.


Here are our three “celebrities” that show up for Connections. Any variation will work depending on the school mascot and the personality of the Connections staff.  


The Warrior---dressed somehow in a military camo type of outfit. We use a ghillie suit for our Warrior. When the Warrior gives feedback after each performance, he/she always talks about courage or strategy or planning or working together as a team.

The Graduate---dressed in a cap and gown. When the Graduate gives feedback, he/she talks about academics, scholarly advice, and character tips.

George Washington----Since this is Washington High  school---this should make sense. He/she is dressed in a George Washington wig and coat. We use Washington quotes throughout George’s feedback. These are mainly taken from his Code of Civility. (Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s hilarious.)

One of the side-benefits of the above characters is it allows the judges to talk about what happened on the stage in a humorous way even when the performance is less than sparkling.


Process:  

We ask these questions at the end of the event:

  1. What was your level of fear when we announced this event?

Students make a fist and place it on their chest. They then hold up the number of fingers that represent how they feel. Five (5) is very fearful to one (1) being completely chill.

  1. What is your level of fear now that the event is done?

  2. How does this activity connect with high school?

  3. Why is this a good activity to include in Connections?

  4. How  might this experience help you in High School?

Scoring:

Each judge is given a Rubric to follow for each team’s performance.  Judges score them on an individual basis.  When the performances are complete, judges confirm to determine the winners.  Teams are told that final results will be tallied and announced the next day.

We also give a Best Actor award to the student whom the judges deem worthy.

Drama on the Stage

Assignment:

  • Present your team cheer

  • Present a 5-minute skit

Cheer

  • Loud

  • Clean

  • Understandable

Skit

  • Read the Location and Situation to the Audience

  • Everyone participates

  • Has a beginning, middle, and end

  • Speak loudly so all can hear

  • Looking for excellent fun! Have a great time doing this!

  • School appropriate

  • Use of ALL props

We will give you the time to dismiss from your rooms.  

No bathroom breaks during the work time.

Your Room: ________


Setting: <See Below for List>

Situation: <See Below For List>

Eight Scene Selections

Setting and Situation

Backyard of a house

Stuff keeps coming over the fence into your backyard. You plan a way to stop it only to discover a mystery next door that changes the neighborhood forever.

Shopping Mall

A secret passage is discovered in a clothing rack that leads to a secret place. The secret place proves to be more amazing and more dangerous than any of them expected.

Forest

There is a cabin that is discovered by a some hikers. They discover the cabin is haunted. They have to get rid of the ghost.

Castle

Castle life if boring. All of the sudden someone comes to the castle and changes everything. But they really want to take over the castle. How will it end?

School

A couple of kids get a master key to the school. They sneak into the school, but someone is waiting there for them. Who are the true Warriors? Those that break in or those that are waiting for them?

Farm

The barn is a place of work, but then someone brings a gift that changes everything. Their farm will never be the same with this new, helpful tool.

Antarctica

Scientist in Antarctica find a surprise in the ice. They don't know what to do with it. It changes everything. One of the scientist will die. Why and how will this change the group?

Island

A mysterious bottle floats up on shore with a liquid inside it. One of the islanders drinks it, and life changes for all of them.