• Course Description

    Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting in the moment and in response to the stimuli of one's immediate environment, fellow actors and inner feelings. Students will learn the basic skills of improvisation for performance and will perform small group and individual scenes using various training techniques such as freeze improv, sketch comedy, stand up, and commedia dell'arte.

    Grade Level(s): 9th-12th grade

    Related Priority Standards (State &/or National): Missouri Grade Level Expectations for Theatre

    Essential Questions

    • What makes an improvisational scene successful?
    • How do the actors involved work together in a responsive fashion to define the parameters and action of the scene, in a process of co-creation?
    • How do actors get involved, work together, and respond to the audience to spontaneously co-create and define the parameters and action of a scene?

    Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas

    • Excellence is not accidental. It is achieved and chosen through practice and participation.
    • All students benefit from participation in the performing arts.
    • Working together requires dropping preconceived notions, personalities, differences, and prejudices.
    • Art is a powerful, valuable tool for self-expression and communication.
    • Practice is needed for successful performance.
    • Perseverance (not giving up) is required for achievement.
    • Life requires preparation and planning.
    • Each experience/situation presents unique challenges and demands that must be addressed.
    • Literature is the skeleton; art is what makes it walk.

    Course-Level Scope & Sequence (Units &/or Skills)

    Unit 1: Historical-Cultural Context

    • Students will connect contemporary artistic and performance choices by evaluating and synthesizing cultural and historical information.  They will study and perform an historical commedia character and create "comedic bits" to use in an improvisational scene. 
      • Students will connect historical performances to today's needs through performance.
      • Students will improve their communication using physical gestures.
      • Students will understand that improvisation is an art form that has historical significance.
      • Students will understand that historical techniques can be used today for rehearsal or to create performance.

    Unit 2: Product Performance

    • Students will learn the skills needed for a quality performance product and be able to replicate them for multiple scenes.  They will develop skills to increase their success in every improvisational performance.  Students will study how to quickly make decisions about a character for successful scenes, including vocal and physical choices.  They will understand how working with others on stage instead of individually helps the overall performance.  Finally, students will apply objectives and goals to give each character focus and purpose in the scene.
      • Students will be able to use their training for acting in the theatre as well as presentations in other fields.
      • Students will become more comfortable in front of their peers and other audiences.
      • Students will understand that preparing for performance is a process, and that performing well and consistently requires skill and training.
      • Students will develop vocal skills and stage awareness in their performance.

    Unit 3: Text-Script Analysis

    • Students will study a variety of "scripting" techniques for improvisation, and how to write scenes based on improvisations.  They will research a historical figure and develop a biographical performance as that character or develop a stand-up comedy routine.
      • Students will be able to add structure and control to situations that are unknown, allowing them to perform better in those circumstances.
      • Students will understand how small pieces of rehearsed text can be used in a larger, unrehearsed context.
      • Students will choose a character from a historical literary piece to develop a character for performance.
      • Write an original scene utilizing character development and plot elements.

    Date Last Revised/Approved: 2012