At play : teaching teenagers theater /
Elizabeth Swados.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Faber and Faber, 2006.
description
xxxv, 273 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
ISBN
0571211208 (pbk. : alk. paper), 9780571211203
format(s)
Book
Holdings
  • In
    Curriculum Resources
    792.0712 S971A
    Browse Shelf Note ▼
    3RD FLOOR; borrowing restricted to OISE students, faculty and staff
More Details
imprint
New York : Faber and Faber, 2006.
isbn
0571211208 (pbk. : alk. paper)
9780571211203
contents note
Being the director -- Voice -- Movement -- Characters -- Improvisation -- Discussion -- Writing -- Space -- Time -- Music and choreography -- Putting a show together -- Mentoring.
catalogue key
10306190
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [271]-273).
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Excerpted from At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater by Elizabeth Swados. Copyright 2006 by Elizabeth Swados. Published in June 2006 by Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK I've written this book to share some of the techniques and exercises I've used for more than twenty-five years with young actors. The typical age range for my work spans from twelve to the early twenties, and I usually put all the ages together so that everyone learns from one another. Most often, I concentrate on young people in middle and high school. While I create shows independently of schools, I wrote this book with the intention of assisting teachers in creating theater with their students. After a year of workshops, my company of young people creates a custom-made piece for our ensemble. In the same way, a teacher and class may create an original piece after working together for all or part of the school year. And just as my young company performs in front of peers at public and private schools and community centers as well as juvenile and psychiatric facilities, groups of students could perform before fellow students. Therefore you will note that I often write about a series of exercises that have been put together to help create a show. But please be aware that the exercises I've chosen can and do serve several other categories of theatrical experience as well: 1. To make a show outside of school 2. To make a show in school 3. To train young actors in a community or drama school environment 4. To train young actors in a classroom or after-school environment 5. To use one or two exercises in a limited class time The exercises themselves have been grouped in several categories. You should find your own way of using these categories. If you have students working with you over a long period of time and intend to create something with them, you can use the order suggested by this book. Or you can improvise from it. If you want to make a show but have only three weeks, you can decide what you need from this book and extract it accordingly. If you simply want to teach in the classroom, you can use the exercises randomly as they suit the class. Each exercise is aimed toward a specific part of the theater student's development and works very well in tandem with other exercises and theater games. I advise you to adhere strictly to only one rule: make the time that you work separate, individual, and sacred. If there is one resounding note in my work, it is that young people should know that the theater can be theirs and that they can find a new language that can define the future of the art and its audience, and provide a personal, exciting way to express themselves. An unusual mode of expression for theater is like nothing else. A final note: I tend to mention musical theater more than plays because my inclination is toward work with music. You don't have to be a musician or singer to do theater. On the other hand don't rule out any art or area of research when dreaming about your participation. Let your talents roam free. There are too many specialists in the world of theater, too many categories and methods and rules. You will find your place and your own voice. But for now try everything.
First Chapter
Excerpted from At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater by Elizabeth Swados. Copyright 2006 by Elizabeth Swados. Published in June 2006 by Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

I've written this book to share some of the techniques and exercises I've used for more than twenty-five years with young actors. The typical age range for my work spans from twelve to the early twenties, and I usually put all the ages together so that everyone learns from one another. Most often, I concentrate on young people in middle and high school. While I create shows independently of schools, I wrote this book with the intention of assisting teachers in creating theater with their students. After a year of workshops, my company of young people creates a custom-made piece for our ensemble. In the same way, a teacher and class may create an original piece after working together for all or part of the school year. And just as my young company performs in front of peers at public and private schools and community centers as well as juvenile and psychiatric facilities, groups of students could perform before fellow students. Therefore you will note that I often write about a series of exercises that have been put together to help create a show. But please be aware that the exercises I've chosen can and do serve several other categories of theatrical experience as well:

1. To make a show outside of school
2. To make a show in school
3. To train young actors in a community or drama school environment
4. To train young actors in a classroom or after-school environment
5. To use one or two exercises in a limited class time

The exercises themselves have been grouped in several categories. You should find your own way of using these categories. If you have students working with you over a long period of time and intend to create something with them, you can use the order suggested by this book. Or you can improvise from it. If you want to make a show but have only three weeks, you can decide what you need from this book and extract it accordingly. If you simply want to teach in the classroom, you can use the exercises randomly as they suit the class. Each exercise is aimed toward a specific part of the theater student's development and works very well in tandem with other exercises and theater games. I advise you to adhere strictly to only one rule: make the time that you work separate, individual, and sacred. If there is one resounding note in my work, it is that young people should know that the theater can be theirs and that they can find a new language that can define the future of the art and its audience, and provide a personal, exciting way to express themselves. An unusual mode of expression for theater is like nothing else.

A final note: I tend to mention musical theater more than plays because my inclination is toward work with music. You don't have to be a musician or singer to do theater. On the other hand don't rule out any art or area of research when dreaming about your participation. Let your talents roam free. There are too many specialists in the world of theater, too many categories and methods and rules. You will find your place and your own voice. But for now try everything.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." --Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by clich and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book, At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater. She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." --Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." --Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliché and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book, At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater. She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." --Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." --Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliché and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book,At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater.She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." --Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." Â--Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliché and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book,At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater.She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." Â--Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliche and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book, At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater. She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." --Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliche and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book, "At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater." She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." --Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados has changed the lives of countless young people, and has changed the way all of us in the field think about making theater. Liz makes theater that matters; her fierce optimism that the world can be changed, by kids and by art, infuses this book as it does all her work. We are lucky to have her among us." Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater "Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliche and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book,At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater.She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
"Liz Swados is clear about the kind of theater she wants to create with young people. Theater has to connect to the heart, to what's authentic, but often buried and covered over by cliche and stereotypical thinking. To accomplish her kind of theater, Swados has created a comprehensive pedagogical system, which she describes in clear, often poetic yet immensely practical terms in her book, At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater. She presents sets of teaching exercises, each of which is prefaced by deeply principled views on both theater and the world within which teenagers struggle. She is explicit about what each set is meant to accomplish for teacher and student alike. The end result is an extraordinarily valuable teaching manual for anyone who aspires to be an effective theater arts teacher. Liz's consistently brilliant work is the best evidence of the success of her approach." Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Provost of the Arts, NYU
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Young people and improvisational theatre should be a natural combination, so why is it rarely found in the classroom? Elizabeth Swados reckons that improvisational theatre is the perfect creative outlet for primary and secondary school students and she provides the tools and guidance.
Long Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combination--so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados--playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir--improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical "Runaways "and in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating--and enjoying--improvisational theater. Covering the basics--from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters--this is "the "book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Main Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combination - so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados - playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir - improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical Runaways and in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating - and enjoying - improvisational theater. Covering the basics - from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters - this is the book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Main Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combination - so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados - playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir - improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form.Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical Runaways and in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating - and enjoying - improvisational theater. Covering the basics - from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters - this is the book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Main Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combination--so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados--playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir--improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical Runaways and in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating--and enjoying--improvisational theater. Covering the basics--from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters--this is the book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Main Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combinationÂ--so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth SwadosÂ--playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoirÂ--improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musicalRunawaysand in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creatingÂ--and enjoyingÂ--improvisational theater. Covering the basicsÂ--from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of charactersÂ--this isthebook for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Main Description
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combinationso why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swadosplaywright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoirimprovisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musicalRunawaysand in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creatingand enjoyingimprovisational theater. Covering the basicsfrom freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of charactersthis isthebook for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with. Elizabeth Swadoshas composed, written, and directed more than thirty theater pieces, includingThe Trilogy,Nightclub Cantata,Runaways,Alice in Concert,Doonesbury,Rap Master Ronnie,The Haggadah,Jonah,Job,Esther,Jerusalem(with Yehudah Amichai),The 49 Years,andMissionaries. She has performed at La MaMa, The Public Theater, The Manhattan Theater Club, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, and other theaters on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and all over the world. Ms. Swados has composed music for film and television as well as a song cycle,Bible Women, which has toured the United States. She has published a memoir, novels, nonfiction books, and children's books. Her newest work includes a musical theater piece about the life and work of Alfred Jarry, which premiered at the Flea Theater in February 2005 and opens at the Alley Theater in Houson in September 2007. In the summer of 2005 she created a musical theater piece in collaboration with a cast of students about attending New York University and living in the city, which was performed for the incoming freshmen at NYU. The twenty-fifth anniversary concert ofMissionarieswas performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in December 2005.My Depression: A Picture Bookwas published in April 2005. She is a faculty member at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and lives in New York City. Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combinationso why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swadosplaywright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and an acclaimed family memoirimprovisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the musicalRunawaysand in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key for young people to createand enjoyimprovisational theater. Covering the basicsfrom freeing the imagination to learning how to work with an ensemble, from mastering different forms of movement and sound to creating different kinds of charactersthis isthebook
Short Annotation
Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combinationso why do we so rarely find this combo in todays classrooms?
Unpaid Annotation
Young people and improvisational theatre should be a natural combination-so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados-playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir-improvisational theatre is the perfect creative outlet for primary and secondary students... if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form. Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical Runaways and in teaching the techniques of improv theatre in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theatre, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating-and enjoying-improvisational theatre. Covering the basics-from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters-this is the book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.
Table of Contents
Introduction : my story
Being the directorp. 3
Voicep. 37
Movementp. 52
Charactersp. 75
Improvisationp. 96
Discussionp. 129
Writingp. 173
Spacep. 192
Timep. 207
Music and choreographyp. 218
Putting a show togetherp. 239
Mentoringp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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