Performing Arts in Art Lesson Plan The Art and Influence of Theater



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Performing Arts in Art Lesson Plan
The Art and Influence of Theater (Beginning Level)


Grades: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5)

Subjects: Visual Arts, Theater

Time Required: Six 30-minute class periods

Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Lesson Overview

Students will examine and discuss an ancient Greek statuette depicting a comic actor and an ancient Roman lamp decorated with a comic theater mask. Students will learn about stock characters and create comic masks for characters. They will work in teams to pantomime a short scene while wearing their masks.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • describe how stock characters have been portrayed in theater and works of art.

  • identify lines and shapes in a work of art.

  • create a comic theater mask.

  • pantomime short scenes.


Featured Getty Artworks

Statuette of a Comic Actor by an unknown Greek artist

http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=35623
Lamp in the Shape of a Comic Mask by an unknown Roman artist

http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=35583
Materials

  • Reproduction of Statuette of a Comic Actor by an unknown Greek artist

  • Reproduction of Lamp in the Shape of a Comic Mask by an unknown Roman artist

  • Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the statuette and lamp

  • Student Handout: “Emotion Cards”

  • Internet access

  • A figurine of a comic actor or cartoon character (i.e., Jim Carrey doll, Toy Story figurine) or an object that displays a comic actor or cartoon character (i.e., SpongeBob SquarePants pencil holder, Shrek drinking glass)

  • Information and activities in “Understanding Formal Analysis” section (optional) on the Getty website at http://www.getty.edu/education/teachers/building_lessons/formal_analysis.html

  • Projector

  • Dry-erase markers

  • Student Handout: “Who, What, and Where?”

  • Student Handout: “The Shapes of Characters”

  • Paper

  • Pencils

  • Art Activity: “Paper Theater Masks” (PDF, 505KB, 3pp.)

(http://getty.edu/education/teachers/classroom_resources/tips_tools/downloads/aa_paper_masks.pdf)

  • 8½ x 11 inch paper cut into approximately eight 1 x 11 inch strips (one strip per student)

  • Heavy sheets of paper (i.e., construction paper or cut sides of brown paper bags)

  • Scissors

  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers

  • Hole punches

  • Elastic or yarn

  • Glue or tape

  • Assorted decorative materials, such as foil, recycled fabric, scrap construction paper, raffia, and yarn (optional)



Lesson Steps
Day 1: Introduction to Pantomime


  1. Before class, make copies of the student handout “Emotion Cards,” one set each for five to six groups, and then cut out the cards. In class, ask students if they have ever played a game of charades. Invite a volunteer to explain how the game is played. Divide your class into five to six groups and have students play a game of charades with the emotion cards. Let students know that once their group has guessed the emotion correctly, the player should exaggerate the emotion. For example, if the player is expressing happiness, have the student make gestures so big that someone far away could tell how happy he or she is. Explain to students that a gesture is an expressive motion of the hands and arms.

Ask students if they know what a mime is. Play appropriate excerpts of the video “Pantomime–Part 2” on the Valley PBS website Art Is... (http://www.valleypbs.org/art-is/season_2/video_player.php) to introduce the art of pantomime. Discuss students’ observations.




  1. Tell students they are going to learn about pantomime. Explain that pantomime is acting by using body language and facial expressions instead of speaking. Model how to pantomime a scenario, such as conducting an orchestra or playing basketball. Ask students to guess the scenario you are pantomiming. Provide groups of three or four students with a short list of scenarios and encourage students to create exaggerated gestures and facial expressions to communicate with one another. For each scenario, students should visualize the setting and use pantomime to pretend they are picking up an imaginary prop, beginning the action, and then putting down the imaginary prop. The scenarios might include the following:

  • You are making a sandwich.

  • You are playing jacks.

  • You are brushing your teeth.

  • You are painting a picture.

  • You are washing your hair.

  • You are playing ball with a dog.

  • You are playing video games.

  • You are doing your homework.

  • You are putting on your shoes.




  1. Invite volunteers to present their pantomimes to the class. The class will take turns guessing what each performer was trying to pantomime. When the class guesses the scenario correctly, instruct the actor to freeze and become a statuette.




  1. Ask students to think about characters that make them laugh, such as a comic actor or cartoon character. Have each student choose a favorite comic actor or cartoon character and show a partner the pose or gesture they imagine when they picture the actor/character.

Tell them that many actors and cartoon characters have objects, gestures, clothing, and expressions that distinguish them. For example, SpongeBob SquarePants always wears his brown, square pants and tie, and Dora the Explorer always wears her hair in her signature bob with bangs. Have students write down a list of the actor/character's distinguishing characteristics. Tell students to share their lists with a partner. Invite a few students to share with the class what they learned about their partner’s favorite comic actor/cartoon character. Chart students' responses.




  1. Show students a figurine of a comic actor/cartoon character or an object that displays a comic actor/cartoon character. Ask students to bring from home an object that displays their favorite comic actor/cartoon character for the next day's discussion.


Day 2: Comic Actor from the Ancient World


  1. Have students work in pairs to share a few things about their objects that display a favorite comic actor/cartoon character. Select a few students to show and tell the class a few things about their objects. Also point out examples of distinguishing characteristics of the characters and facial expressions and gestures that convey an action or emotion.




  1. Inform students that in ancient times, people would make statuettes of comic actors or decorate a common household object with a comic actor or other images from the theater.




  1. Display a reproduction of Statuette of a Comic Actor. Have students take the time to look closely at the work of art. Tell students to write down what they see, then share their observations with a partner. Prompt students with the following questions:

    • What do you see here? (A little man sitting on a block, a sculpture, etc.)

    • What details do you notice? (big smile, big hair, beard, clothing, etc.)

Invite students to share their observations with the whole class, and chart responses on the board. Tell students that the figure is wearing a mask, and then continue to prompt discussion with the following questions:



    • What do you notice about the pose of the figure? What does it look like he is doing? (thinking, planning, plotting)

    • Silently imitate the pose. What does your body language communicate?

Again invite students to share their observations, and chart responses on the board.


Day 3: Expressions and Shapes in Stock Characters


  1. Let students know that they will take a close look at a second object that clearly shows the details of a comic mask. Display a projected image of Lamp in the Shape of a Comic Mask. Have students take the time to look closely and quietly at the work of art. Invite individual students to describe what they see. Have students answer the questions below by showing you where they see a particular element in the image. Refer to the “Understanding Formal Analysis” section on the Getty website at http://www.getty.edu/education/teachers/building_lessons/formal_analysis.html if you want more information about the elements of art, or if you want warm-up activities for introducing line and shape.

  • What kinds of lines do you see here? (straight, curvy, short, deep, shallow)

Where do you see them?

  • What kinds of shapes do you see here? (circle, half moon, teardrop, oval) Where do you see them?

  • What emotion do you see on this mask? What do you see that makes you say that?

Where do you see evidence for that? Why do you think the artist included this?
If you are projecting the image onto a whiteboard, students can use dry-erase markers to trace the lines and shapes identified. If you are using an overhead transparency, place another transparency on top of the reproduction and have students trace the lines and shapes with dry-erase markers.


  1. Tell students that they are looking at a lamp in the shape of a specific type of theater mask. Ancient Roman audiences would have recognized the mask as depicting the “Leading Slave,” a sly and resourceful stock character from ancient Roman comedy. Explain that a stock character is a type of exaggerated character from everyday life. Further explain that masks and other images from theater inspired the design of decorative household objects because theater was such an important part of culture. Just as movies are popular today, many people attended theater productions in large outdoor theaters several times a year.




  1. Tell students to think of movies with superheroes or fairy tales. Point out that such stories have stock characters like heroes, villains, and damsels in distress. Ask students how we know whether a character is a hero or villain. Brainstorm a list of types of characters and their distinguishing gestures and facial expressions (i.e., villain, hero, wise old man, damsel in distress). Remind students that these are all stock characters with stock gestures and expressions.


Days 4–5: Theatrical Masks for a Pantomime


  1. Tell students that they are going to create a preliminary drawing of a mask for a stock character. For upper elementary students, explain that they will wear the masks and pantomime a few scenes as their characters, so they should think about what stock character they will want to create a mask for.

For lower elementary students, assign each student one of four types of characters (i.e., villain, hero, wise old man, or damsel in distress) for which they will be making a mask. For each type of character, teach the students that character's distinguishing facial expression.




  1. Distribute the student handout “Who, What, and Where?” Instruct upper elementary students to complete the first row of the handout in groups of three; lower elementary students will fill in the first row based on their assigned stock character.




  1. Once students know which stock characters they will be making masks for, review how a face can be drawn from a variety of shapes (i.e., a circle for the head) and lines (i.e., a curved line for the mouth). Draw some examples of these characters’ faces for your class using a variety of lines and shapes to depict facial features and expressions. You may wish to copy examples on the student handout “The Shapes of Characters.” Invite students up to the board to help you exaggerate the features of the characters by, for example, making a feature bigger or more obvious.




  1. Distribute paper and pencils to your class. Have students create a possible design for their mask using a variety of lines and shapes. To help students decide what to draw, ask them to consider the following questions:

  • What kind of shapes will you use for the eyes? Will they be large enough to see through?

  • What kind of shape will you use to create an expressive mouth? Will it be large enough to speak through?

  • What kind of lines will you use to create expressive eyebrows, wrinkles, dimples, etc.?

Tell students to label each drawing with the character they are portraying.




  1. Distribute copies of the art activity “Paper Theater Masks” and work with students to help them create their own masks.


Day 6: Performing Pantomime


  1. Instruct upper elementary students to work in groups of three to complete the rest of the student handout "Who, What, and Where?" Tell students to decide who in each group will play the different parts. Model this activity with two volunteers using one of the examples from the handout. Lower elementary students will complete the worksheet with the teacher. Be sure to write new vocabulary on the board (i.e., pantomime, character, props, masks).




  1. Instruct students to follow directions on the handout in order to create a short pantomime as stock characters. For their pantomime, students will wear their masks and use gestures and movements specific to their characters.




  1. Invite each group of three to perform their pantomimes.


Assessment

Students will be assessed on the following criteria:



  • their ability to use gesture, movement, and facial expression to pantomime emotions and scenarios

  • their participation in class discussions about stock characters

  • their inclusion of a variety of lines and shapes in their stock character theater masks



Standards Addressed
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
Grades K–5
SPEAKING AND LISTENING

K.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and text with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

1.3 Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.1.4 Describe familiar people places, things, and events, with relative details expressing ideas and feelings more clearly.2.4 Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audible in coherent sentences.

3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

4.6 Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 4 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

5.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 5 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)




Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
Grade 1

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, in the environment, and in works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, and texture.
2.0 Creative Expression

2.3 Demonstrate beginning skill in the manipulation and use of sculptural materials (clay, paper, and paper maché) to create form and texture in works of art.


Grade 2

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, the environment, and works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, texture, and space.
4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.4 Use appropriate vocabulary of art to describe the successful use of an element of art in a work of art.


Grade 3

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.5 Identify and describe elements of art in works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, texture, space, and value.
Grade 5

2.0 Creative Expression

2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art.


Theatre Content Standards for California Public Schools
Grade 1

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.1 Use the vocabulary of the theatre, such as play, plot (beginning, middle, and end), improvisation, pantomime, stage, character, and audience, to describe theatrical experiences.

1.2 Observe and describe the traits of a character.


2.0 Creative Expression

2.1 Demonstrate skills in pantomime, tableau, and improvisation.


3.0 Historical and Cultural Context

3.2 Identify theatrical conventions, such as props, costumes, masks, and sets.



Grade 2

2.0 Creative Expression

2.1 Perform in group improvisational theatrical games that develop cooperative skills and concentration.

2.4 Create costume pieces, props, or sets for a theatrical experience.


Grade 4

  1. Artistic Perception

1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre, such as plot, conflict, climax, resolution, tone, objectives, motivation, and stock characters, to describe theatrical experiences.
2.0 Creative Expression

2.1 Demonstrate the emotional traits of a character through gesture and action.



2.3 Design or create costumes, props, makeup, or masks to communicate a character in formal or informal performances.

© 2010 J. Paul Getty Trust



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