Originally commissioned by Long Island Schools in West Babylon, New York, our Social Emotional Learning assembly has been a bit at a number of schools in New York and New Jersey. EMAIL to book this program in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut Spring/Summer 2021. Available Nationwide starting this Fall.
The program is one part show and one part workshop, playing well to groups of up to 100 students. This program has been adjusted for current CDC and school social distancing options.
The show starts with a game called STOP WALK, improvisation’s answer to Simon Says, without the elimination element. The game is focused on listening and following instructions. It’s a game we often use in our comedy workshops.
We share that LISTENING is the #1 skill in all performing, but especially Improv. We teach students to LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES. Listening is defined as “A willingness to change”. Listening at this deeper level leads to empathy.
Nest we play an audience favorite from our main stage show called Columns (AKA Human Mad Libs). Two audience volunteers help two professional actors by filling in the blanks. The artist will pretend to draw a blank, point at the guests on stage, then use the word or phrase given in the scene.
The game introduces how actors improvise a scene by listening to our partners, and in this case our audience helpers. We also demonstrate how we “YES! And…” our team mates, supporting their work, accepting their offers to the scene and responding with details that build upon the previous story blocks.
We then play THE MASK GAME. We insert a little theater history, explaining how masks were used in Greek theater and other times as well as implied masked emotions in more recent history (up until mid 1800s). Every student pantomimes putting on a heavy clay mask – happy, sad and angry. With each mask we discuss how that feels. We also discuss how to let go of emotions, how everyone’s emotions are valid and we are all accountable for acting upon them.
The following games demonstrate self and interpersonal awareness, decision making and commitment. We need to move is ways that don’t harm ourselves or our team. We make simple choices of who/what we are. We commit to these choices.
THE MACHINE We invite 8-10 students on stage. Each student, one at a time, connects to the growing machine, creates a simple movement and makes a sound. This activity continues until every students is part of the action. We show how important it is to be in control of our movement so as not to injure ourselves or the team. We change the dynamic of the machine, getting louder/softer, faster/slower etc.
I AM A TREE We invite another 8-10 students on stage. The first stands center stage, strikes a pose and declares I AM A TREE. Each student joins the story, declaring WHO/WHAT they are and how they connect. The result is a picture filled with character and setting and even story. The process is repeated 2-3 times.
When time permits we recommend a question and answer session. We can talk a little more about Improv and how we use listening and empathy to become more aware of our surroundings and team mates to tell better stories.