Drama Club Activities: High School Acting Exercises & Games

If your acting class is focused on scene study/monologues, drama club activities such as acting games and exercises are powerful tools to use with students.

There are times during your drama class where your students may be working on a scene/monologue and things don’t seem to be coming together.

Other times things are progressing quite nicely between your actors but there are particular exercises you would like to work on because you are all reaching for something with regards to character or movement.

There can be a multitude of reasons why you would want to have your students act out an exercise.

Below we are sharing with you some drama club activities based on constructing a scene/monologue that you may find useful.

You will find possible scenarios that you may find yourself in with your students and exercise solutions you may use to work through the dramatic issue.

You are also welcome to simply use the acting exercises/games listed here for your class curriculum that do not pertain to a scene/monologue.

Drama Club Activities: High School Acting Games

Drama Club Activities: High School Acting Games

Connecting Your Actors

Scenario:  Let us assume that both your students are rehearsing a scene but they are not connecting.  They seem distant with one another and it isn’t what the scene is about.

In such an instance, you may want to try some of the exercises based on communication and interconnectivity for them.

Exercise Solution #1

Place your actors back to back.  Let them speak their lines to one another.  The idea of this exercise will be to get them to open up to one another by listening.

Have one actor sit with their backs still facing one another.  Have one actor turn to face the other.  You can mix and match different aspects of this exercise with the intention of getting your students to listen and respond.

This building up of aware of one another will help to break down barriers between them and make room for stronger connection.

Exercise Solution #2

For this exercise have your actors sit at a table together.  They are going to mime having breakfast.  The objective is to satisfy one another’s breakfast wants/needs.  No verbalization for this exercise.  Each actor must be dedicated to making the other actors breakfast as satisfactory as possible

There is a significant ‘give and take’ for this exercise to work.  There are strong elements of care and concern that may resonate.

Organic Movement

This does consist of where you are with your actors in terms of blocking the scene or as we prefer to say, the movement of the scene or choreography of the scene at hand.  Blocking sounds like the actors are already ‘blocked’ in a way.

You may have choreographed the scene already but your actors come off as stiff.  There can be a number of reasons for this.

  • You pushed them too fast before they found their footing.
  • The actors instinctually know that something isn’t right but don’t know exactly what is is.
  • The timing is off for certain lines at certain points on the stage, throwing off the entire balance of truth for the actor.

Scenario: Let us assume that there are two actors within the scene but they are coming off tense and rigid.  Things just don’t seem to flow right.  Let us also assume that you have previously choreographed the scene.

Here are a couple of solutions that may get things moving in the right direction to help free things up.

Exercise Solution #1

Go back to the beginning and have your actors sit side by side, reading their scene out loud.  Do not have them make any contact with their eyes.  Read the entire scene this way. Pay careful attention to their behavior because there are clues that will reveal itself to you as to where the problem may be.

Next, ask one of them to stand up and use the space however they desire, (not the choreographed version) while the other actor remains seated.  This will break the mold and find new elements anew.

Have your actors read through the entire scene again. Pay close attention to innate discoveries that were touched on based on what the actor physically displayed.

After you all have gone through the scene, ask the actor using the space some of the following questions as it pertains to the scene and what your actors do: (example)

  • Why did you move to the window?
  • What made you touch that object the way that you did?
  • Why did you walk over to the sink when you said those lines?

There are no wrong or right answers.  The idea is to find truthful understanding inside the scene and helping your acting student make those subtle inner connections.

Then switch your actors.  One actor uses the space, the other actor stays seated.  Read entire scene through again.

After you all have gone through the scene, ask the actor using the space some of the following questions as it pertains to the scene and what your actors do: (example)

  • Why did you sit when you spoke those words?
  • Why did you toss the book on the couch?
  • You kept opening and closing the door…why?

Again, there are no wrong or right answers here.  Only a way of opening your actors up to their characters truths and movements.

It’s all discovery and understanding and nothing set in stone.  Discuss everything with your students.

Have them go up on stage and do the scene again, without anything choreographed.  Let them be free to do as they wish.

When they are finished with the scene, begin to reconstruct the movement based on what you observed.  This will create a more fundamental playing field for your actors without them resorting to feeling trapped or stiff within the context of the scene.

Memorizing Lines

Scenario: Let us assume that your actor can’t seem to get off book for his/her monologue.

Exercise Solution #1

Have your actor try the following with their monologue:

  1. Read the monologue as fast as they can five times.  Each time they must read it faster than the last.  You must time them.
  2. Have your actor use a funny voice to say the monologue out loud all the way through.
  3. Try saying the monologue sounding out each syllable.
  4. Have a few of your other students read the monologue out, while the other actor learning their lines listens to the words.
  5. Ask your actor to write out the monologue a number of times.

Exercise Solution #2

You can have your acting student break the monologue down into beat.  A beat is a change in their characters behavior.

By breaking the monologue down into a small number of beats, it will be easier for the actor to digest and reference for themselves, helping them get off book with the text.

Conclusion

There is always a solution for your drama club activities.  It’s just a matter of working it out and acting exercises are a good way to approach the work if your acting students are having trouble.

These are just only a few acting exercises based on certain situations you may find yourself in when working with your High School acting students.

There will also be variables to work on and hopefully we have helped shed some light on a few fundamentals to help you in your drama class.

Below are a series of drama club activities that encompass acting games and exercises that are great for ensemble building, character building, communication and imagination.

Acting Exercises for Drama Students

  1. 7 Theatre Games for Kids and Teens
  2. Drama Exercises to Develop Characters
  3. Top 5 Acting Games for Drama Students
  4. 10 Easy Drama Games for Teens and Kids
  5. 5 Fun Drama Activities for Kids and Teens
  6. Acting Games and Exercises for Warm Ups
  7. 15 High Energy Acting Games for Young Acting Students

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