Since I have been working with children for a while now, I have developed a couple of exercises for them. Today I have decided to share them with you guys who are following the blog.
With children it is most important to help them get their concentration at a high level, and giving them acting exercises that ask exactly that.
Characters seem like the hardest thing in acting. Developing a Character takes time and exercise. This particular exercise was made to help children concentrate and gain more awareness of their environment. Exercise is divided into two stages.
Stage one: Imitations
Get the group to imitate a person from their environment with the focus on transformation not on the Imitations. Get them to have a three sentence imitations, ask them to punctuate the characters weird and/or funny elements. It is understandable that, as every other exercise, these three sentences get into a form. Beginning, middle, end.
When working with children on imitations get them to overact. It is much easier to get them into shape if they have more than needed elements, then if they lack elements. You want them to do their vision of the person, a subjective view on the character is very important.
Stage two: Adding elements
Now that your group has done the imitations, ask them to add a random character element to their imitations. It is not important what elements kids get to, stuttering, nasal speech, fast speech. Any kind of talking element will get them to have to think through the character. This stage should be active on multiple classes, the final result you want to see is to get them to not think about the lines and characters and start thinking the lines. So, not to think about the text, but think the text. Repeat this stage until you get all the kids from the group have become natural and are not feeling uncomfortable.