For one of the drama TDTs we were asked to choose an object and use the drama convention ‘visualisation’ to explore what it would be like if the object had human qualities (what it would see, how it would feel etc.). During our drama input we discussed the benefit of using visualisation to create a character. This way of developing a character allows children to use abstract thought and gives them the opportunity to look at a situation from a different perspective.
As I looked around my room to choose an object I realised the significance that some of the objects have in my everyday life but had never thought to stop and consider this before. I decided to pick my bed and came up with the following dialogue portraying the thoughts that a bed might have. This type of activity is known as ‘writing in role’.
Another day sat here in this corner. I’ve got four legs but never left these four walls…who am I kidding? I couldn’t even fit through the door if I tried. Well, that is, unless they took me apart completely and then put me back together again. No. I have a service to provide and it is a very important one. I am the constant in her life. Always there when she comes in after a long day, ready to support her as she tries to reenergise from the stresses of the day, I am a comfort. The day she got her first job, I was there. When she had her first missing home breakdown, I was there. When she stayed in her pyjamas all day with a snuffly nose and a box of tissues close at hand, I was there supporting her every second. I see her ups and downs, successes and failures, happy days and heartaches and hear every silent prayer that she whispers each night before she falls asleep. There are days when I wish I could hold her all day long and protect her from the outside world. I get the sense she feels the same way as she often hits the snooze button multiple times just to spend that extra few minutes in my care. As much as I wish I could get up and go with her each day, to fight off the troubles the world throws at her, these moments remind me why I need to stay right here where I am.
After completing this task we were asked to consider how a human character could be developed from our chosen object. This is a useful tool for building a character’s identity as coming up with a complex character can be challenging and the previous activity can act as a stimulus to start ideas flowing.
Human character description:
- A mother of a young woman who has been involved in a car accident and is paralysed from the waist down.
- As a result of this she has put on a lot of weight and has become quite depressed as she can never leave her bed.
- Her daughter visits her everyday and tells her stories of the outside world.
- She often reminisces about ‘the good old days’ and memories from before the accident.
- She wishes she could stand up and walk out the room with her daughter every time she leaves and finds it very difficult every time they say goodbye.
- It is hard for her not to be with her daughter every step of the way.
From a learner’s point of view, I really enjoyed doing these tasks, particularly the first one, as the use of abstract and creative thought behind the task meant that there was very little scope for getting it wrong. This is an aspect that I enjoy about drama, as there are many opportunities to think outside the box and very few times when you are able to be wrong about something, as it is your own creative response to a situation. The security of knowing you can’t be wrong provides the opportunity for children to share their ideas in a safe space.
From a teaching point of view, I think that some children would benefit from being given a specific object and examples of a final outcome before they try and address this task. Depending on the age and ability of the children, this task does not need to be written but can be discussed in groups, pairs or as a whole class. A link could also be made to literacy as “there are close links… between the expressive arts and creative writing” (Scottish Government, undated, p3).
Scottish Government (undated) Curriculum for Excellence: Principles and Practice and Experiences and Outcomes. Edinburgh