Art and Language Arts Activity
In this activity, students explore the folklore of different cultures.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Sources of myths, folktales, traditional stories from various civilizations.
- Materials for creating masks, such as paints, tagboard, scissors, glue, dowels.
- Video recorders (optional)
WHAT TO DO
- Tell students that they are going to put on a festival of the arts that
celebrates the traditions of many cultures. To do so they are going to research
myths, folktales, and traditional stories, then choose one to act out.
- Form acting troupes of four each and have them choose names for themselves.
Explain the guidelines for putting on the plays:
- Since each troupe will have about 10-15 minutes to perform, the first step is
to summarize the action of the story.
- One performer narrates most of the story, while the other three pantomime the
action, except for the climactic or final scene, which they act out with
- The three actors play all the roles, wearing different masks to show which
characters they are at different times.
- Each troupe can make its own masks. Or you might prefer to have students
especially skilled in the visual arts make all the masks. Actors should be able
to hold them up before their faces on a stick, which can be rulers, dowels, or
even tightly rolled-up newspapers.
- Arrange a time for the festival and encourage performers to practice (and
time) their plays before the dress rehearsal. Invite other classes and
community members to the performance. Have students make posters, invitations,
and souvenir programs.
Invite student artists to research historic clothing from ancient
civilizations, to wear in the performance.
After the dress rehearsal, have a panel of students, made up of one student
from each troupe, discuss their plays, explaining why they chose the material
they did, how they shaped it, and what they learned from presenting it.
Have a similar panel answer questions from the audience after the performance.
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