Family Portraits

This is a very simple warm up that can be used to explore a characters relationship with the rest of their family and those close to them.

Depending on group sizes and the text/devised piece involved, this could be done as a whole class or in individual groups.

Begin the activities by having a discussion about the family and important people in the characters life and imagine that all of those people were coming together for a family portrait.

Build up the family portrait slowly and see how, as each new member of the family or group enter the portrait, the relationships change. Consider how that change is communicated, through eye contact, proxemics, movement and facial expressions.

This is going to reveal a lot of subtext about how the central character of the family portrait feels about everyone else.

It also reveals subtext about how the central character feels about the relationships that others in her group have. If, for example, Mum sneers and looks away when Dad enters the portrait, how does that action effect the central character of the Son or Daughter?

It’s important that the students can reflect on how this new information (knowledge of the characters and physical memory of the characters reactions and movements) can be enveloped and applied in performance.


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