The importance of putting yourself in the shoes of others: 6 or 9
Why use role-play?
It is widely agreed that learning takes place when activities are engaging and memorable. Jeremy Harmer advocates the use of role-play for the following reasons:
It’s fun and motivating: It only works if you want it to. Quieter people get the chance to express themselves and feel less inhibited. It takes you beyond the classroom – thus offering a much wider range of language opportunities
The importance of using a wide range of tones, facial expressions, gestures, body language and rhythm
Good Blood, Bad Blood, Good Blood, Bad Blood, etc.
Red Blood, Blue Blood, Red Blood, Blue Blood, etc.
Better Botter bought some butter
But she said this butter’s bitter
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter
So she bought some better butter
Put it in her bitter batter
And it made her bitter batter better
Give me the gift of a grip-top sock,
A clip drape shipshape tip top sock.
Not your spinslick slapstick slipshod stock,
But a plastic, elastic grip-top sock.
None of your fantastic slack swap slop
From a slap dash flash cash haberdash shop.
Not a knick knack knitlock knockneed knickerbocker sock
With a mock-shot blob-mottled trick-ticker top clock.
Not a supersheet seersucker ruck sack sock,
Not a spot-speckled frog-freckled cheap sheik’s sock
Off a hodge-podge moss-blotched scotch-botched block.
Nothing slipshod drip drop flip flop or glip glop
Tip me to a tip top grip top sock.
Mime the following: Riding a horse, Skiing, Washing dishes, Eating hot food, Counting money, Telling someone you love them, Eating spaghetti, Singing, Playing tug of war, Washing your dog, Ballet dancing, Moon walk, Playing basketball, Singing opera, Walking in the desert, Playing tennis, Making pancakes, Opening a present that you do not like
Facial expressions: Sadness, curiosity, surprise, angry, perplexed, disgust, fear, happiness, smugness
Activity 1: Monologues; rehearsal in pairs and then individual performance
“COLD AND SHIVERY” I saw it! A ghost! Upstairs! I did. It was floating around all spooky like. I think it touched me. I got all cold and shivery. I wanted to scream but when I opened my mouth all I could manage was a little squeak. I was frozen with fear. I thought it was gonna eat my brains or something. Oh, wait. That’s zombies, ain’t it? Well, it was gonna do whatever ghosts do to me. I could feel it doing something… something real creepy like. You wanna go see it? Or are you too scared? You ain’t as brave as me.
Hey! No, I did not! I spilled a drink on myself, okay? I am not a liar! You go up there and see for yourself. Up there is an honest to goodness, real scary, ghost. I may have lived to tell about it. Will you?!
“How to be a Pirate” BONES
Now we need to teach you to be a pirate. Sly will be there to help but you need a few tips from a real pirate first. Lesson 1… you can’t be happy.
Pirates are always grumpy and if something good happens, they growl and get angry. It might look like they are excited but they’re not. They’re angry that it wasn’t better. And they’ll stay angry until all the treasures of the world are theirs. And then the anger dies down, they get grumpy again.
Lesson 2… no baths, no washing, no cleaning up, no perfume…
Nope, nada, zip. Pirate’s take pride in their stench. It’s like a contest or something. And it makes it easier when everyone smells bad. If you’re the only one who smells good, it’s rough. It’s better to blend in the bad smells… it’s like an orchestra of stink. If someones out of tune, it throws off the balance.
Lesson number… the next one… You have to stop being so girly. Female pirates are the roughest, toughest, leanest, meanest human beings… nay… creatures! …to ever travel the sea. If a male steals one gold, you steal two. If a male cuts off one finger, you cut off two.Be better or be dead.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL A monologue from the play by William Shakespeare
PAROLLES: It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept is ever lost. ‘Tis too cold a companion. Away with’t! ‘Tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin; virginity murders itself, and should be buried in highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by’t. Out with’t! Within ten year it will make itself ten, which is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with’t! ‘Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying: the longer kept, the less worth. Off with’t while ’tis vendible; answer the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion, richly suited, but unsuitable, just like the brooch and the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French withered pears: it looks ill, it eats drily. Marry, ’tis a withered pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet ’tis a withered pear! Will you anything with it?
A monologue from the play by Walter Wykes
MAN: All right, look … I didn’t want to tell you, but I’ve fallen behind. At work. I can’t keep up. Recently, they’ve … ahh … they’ve let a few people go. Every day there are fewer and fewer people doing the same amount of work. They have me running the accounting department entirely by myself! Not management, no, I haven’t been promoted. It’s just me—there’s no one to manage! I do everything! The whole department! And that’s not all! I’m also expected to take incoming calls because there’s no receptionist, fix the computers because there’s no tech department, field customer complaints because there’s no customer service! I’m in charge of the mail room, the cafeteria, janitorial services, research and development! Last week, human resources was let go, the whole department, and I received a memo—which I’d actually typed myself because there’s no secretary—instructing me to familiarize myself with all applicable state and federal guidelines! Tomorrow, I’m supposed to start mediating all employee disputes! I have no idea what I’m doing! I’d ask the legal department for advice, but I’ve never studied law so I wouldn’t know what to tell myself! And to top it all off, I have to take the CEO’s dog out to poop four times a day! At regular intervals! He has stomach problems and he’s on a very strict schedule!
POVERTY IS NO CRIME
A monologue from the play by Alexander Ostrovsky
KORSHUNOV: What are you crying about, young lady? For shame, for shame! He, he, he! There! I’m older than you, and I don’t cry. [Looks at her searchingly.] Oh, well, I know what it’s about! I suppose you want to marry a young fellow? Now, this, my pretty one, is just girlish folly. Now, just listen to what I’m going to tell you; I’ll tell you the truth straight out. I don’t like to deceive any one, and have no need to. Will you listen, eh? Good! Now, we’ll begin with this point. Will a young man appreciate your love? Any girl will love a young man; that is nothing unusual for him; but to an old man it is precious. An old man will reward you for your love with some little gift, this and that–with gold, and with velvet–and there’s nothing he won’t give you. And in Moscow there are lots of nice things in the shops; there are things worth giving! So it’s nice to fall in love with an old man. That’s number one for you! And then this is what happens with a young and good-looking husband. You see they are a fickle lot! Before you know it he will be running after some one else, or some young lady will fall in love with him, and then his wife may pine away. Then come reproaches and jealousy. And what is this jealousy, eh? He, he, he! Do you know, young lady, what this jealousy is? It isn’t like a needle prick in the finger; it’s far more painful than that. You see the cursed thing consumes a man. From jealousy people stab one another, and poison one another with arsenic! [Laughs spasmodically and coughs.] But when any one falls in love with an old man, then all is peaceful for his wife. And here’s something else I will tell you, my dear young lady: Young men like to go on sprees; they like gayety and distraction, and all sorts of dissipations, and their wives may sit at home and wait for them till midnight. And they come home drunk, and bully their wives, and swagger. But an old man will just sit near his wife; he’ll die before he’ll leave her. And he would like to look into her eyes all the time and to caress her and to kiss her hands. [Kisses them.] Just like that.
Flowers from Phil
(Phil enters a restaurant nervously. He carries a bouquet of flowers. He slowly goes up to a table where his blind date waits. He stops. Turns and leaves again. After a moment he returns. He checks his clothes, drops his flowers, picks them up, gets scared and goes. Then he returns and goes to the table looking nervous but determined)
Hey, there, Sidney. I’m early. I mean I’m Phil and I’m early. I am glad you’re early too, well, sort of. I was hoping to beat you and get used to the room first. I get nervous in new places. And with new people I get nervous a lot. I brought you flowers. The flowers are a little wilted. They were pretty. I mean there is this wonderful flower shop but I didn’t have time to go there today but I did a few days ago and I wanted these flowers. I don’t get a date every day you know and I wanted this to be special, so I got the best flowers I know of because I want this to be great. You know what I mean. Well, you probably get a lot of dates. I mean a normal amount of dates, but more than me, but less than say… Madonna. But these flowers were the best… a few days ago.
Clueless is a comedy about teenagers living in Beverly Hills in the 90s. Cher Horowitz spends her time shopping, playing matchmaker, advising her girlfriends about fashion and dating. In this funny monologue she is addressing her class and gives her opinion on matters of immigration.
CHER: “So, OK, like right now, for example, the Haitians need to come to America. But some people are all, “What about the strain on our resources?” But it’s like, when I had this garden party for my father’s birthday right? I said R.S.V.P. because it was a sit-down dinner. But people came that like, did not R.S.V.P. so I was like, totally bugging. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, squish in extra place settings, but by the end of the day it was like, the more the merrier! And so, if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty?”
Funny Girl is a musical play about the life of actress Fanny Brice, from her first forays into show business and love affair with gambler Nick Arnstein to her success and final divorce.
In this funny monologue, Fanny expresses her burning desire to become an actress and that soon it will be her turn to make it in show business.
FANNY: “Suppose all ya ever had for breakfast was onion rolls. Then one day, in walks (gasp) a bagel! You’d say, ‘Ugh, what’s that?’ Until you tried it! That’s my problem – I’m a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls. Nobody recognizes me! Listen, I got 36 expressions. Sweet as pie and tough as leather. And that’s six expressions more than all those…Barrymores put together. Instead of just kicking me, why don’t they give me a lift? Well, it must be a plot, ’cause they’re scared that I got…such a gift! ‘Cause I’m the greatest star, I am by far, but no one knows it. Wait – they’re gonna hear a voice, a silver flute. They’ll cheer each toot, hey, she’s terrific!, when I expose it. Now can’t you see to look at me that I’m a natural Camille, and as Camille, I just feel, I’ve so much to offer. Kid, I know I’d be divine because I’m a natural cougher (coughs) – some ain’t got it, not a lump. I’m a great big clump of talent! Laugh, they’ll bend in half. Did you ever hear the story about the travelling salesman? A thousand jokes, stick around for the jokes. A thousand faces. I reiterate. When you’re gifted, then you’re gifted. These are facts, I’ve got no axe to grind. Ay! What are ya, blind? In all of the world so far, I’m the greatest star! No autographs, please. What? You think beautiful girls are gonna stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they’re gonna be out! FINISHED! Then it’ll be my turn!”
This girl hates teenage life
GIRL: “Oh, my gosh. I think I’ve just come up with the best theory.
Teenage life sucks. That’s it. I mean, once you hit 13, your life
just goes (rocket). All the adults are like “I loved being a
teenager!” Ha, sure. Well, I’m sorry but this isn’t “Sunshine
70’s” anymore. They’re just trying to make us feel better. And
the little kids are like “I can’t wait to be a teenager! It would be
so fun much to be older!” Haha, no you don’t. No, you really
Okay, first of all, you’re in Middle School when it all starts to
happen. For some weird reason, it seems like when you’re a
teenager, all your friends start to turn on you. I mean, at first
they’re like “Hey, best friend!” and you know, you do the
regular things like hang out and stuff. And then once you
leave, they go around gossiping “Oh, my gosh, did you know
that Gretchen made out with Justin at movies… oh yeah, it was
definitely tongue,” (what expression) I don’t even know a
Justin! Then, there’s puberty. Actually, I’m not even gonna get
And then there’s high school, the black-hole of all teenage life.
Once you get there, everything starts to fall apart. First,
everyone expects you to be this pencil thin stick or you’re
considered “fat”, but when you are that thin, they just go
spreading around that your anorexic! And all through high
school, it’s nothing but college this or college that, and the
college-councilors are not much help about it. They’re like
“You fail! You lose! You fail at life! You better memorize the
phrase ‘You want fries with that?’! Grrr! I hate them! I wish
they’d die!!!! (Sigh) Where was I? Oh yeah, life sucking. You
know what, I’m tired of complaining. So, I just have two things
to say: Adults, you’re wrong, and kids, get ready.”
The participants sit on a chair in character in turns and the audience asks them follow up questions.
Role play: In pairs , a variety of interpretations, rehearsal
Resolving bullying: Alex has been bullied after school for months. His work is starting to deteriorate and his grades are getting lower. Alex tries to resolve the situation. Who does he talk to? What does he do?
What was the most fun? What was the most challenging? Have you done something today that you had never done before? What have you discovered about yourself? Which character appealed to you the most and why? What lessons are you taking away with you? Would you come again? How can this activity be improved?