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Category Archives: drama

>By Stian

Theater games are often used for warming up at theater schools, but also in many other contexts. I was active in the hippie-pacifist enviroment in Sweden, and that’s where a lot of this come from, we would have weekend gatherings where we would play theater-games in the evenings, practice consensus dialogue and conflict resolution (techniques I believe partly developed by the Plowshares disarmament movement to facilitate equal dialogue and constructive meetings, includes a different facilitators and different ways of facilitating the meeting).

Just as an example, a sample theater-game would be having four people in an imagined elevator on stage, each playing a character “an old lady”, “a young professor” etc, and then improvising. At any time, someone from the audience can come up, tap someone on the shoulder, who then leave, and “enter” the elevator, as someone else. Thus the play goes on. To a large extent, theater-games implies improvisation, which theoretically Chinese students have a big problem with, however I have found that planned properly, it can work (like my example last week, however unplanned that was).

I have never been trained as a teacher in these, merely experienced them, and it’s certainly something I want to look more into when I return “to the west”, but already I think it has given me an insight into how meetings, dialogues and so on work, and how to facilitate them, groups dynamics and so on. I have been using some of this to facilitate group discussions and so on. However, I couldn’t really give any specifics, since it’s stuff that I have more picked up, and that jumps out at the specific moment, then theories I can describe.

But to close, I do think all these things are really relevant, and one of my plans, if I ever get the money, is to study drama, alternative pedagogy, and possibly feminist studies, and then tour the world teaching Esperanto (it is possible, I have a good friend in Holland who has been touring the world teaching Esperanto, another world language, for 16 years, using dance, music and colors, amongst others).

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>By Marc Anthony – Taiwan

I was a drama teacher before I ever entered the language field, and I found that many of the activities I used in drama classes were also quite useful in language classes.

In more advanced classes, I particularly enjoyed introducing improvisation with all its possibilities to my learners. Improvisation is a kind of performance where the “actors” perform without a script, perhaps only with an opening line, a situation, or character roles. It works best in advanced language classes as it requires a great deal of fluidity to be successful.

It should be noted that I use improvisation in the classroom as a learning tool. Some of my learners are familiar with the British and American TV show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, which has skilled comedians performing improvisational sketches. I tell my learners that they do not have to be funny or clever, as the purpose of improv is to accomplish a communicative goal. What is required is careful listening and thoughtful responses.

There are many improv activities. I cannot list them here. Some of the sketches done on on the aforementioned TV show work well. Here is a link to a good list of some others:

http://www.voylesfamily.ws/improv.html#three