Tableaus and ‘Earthquakes’: Monday 21st November

In today’s Dramatic Communication lecture I introduced a new ‘learning’ game to the students: tableaus. The idea of this game is that the students work in groups and are given a couple of minutes to produce a static image, or tableau, of a word that I gave to them. They then had to show this montage to the rest of the class, and see how long it took them to guess what it was. Normally when this type of game is done with ‘actors’ they just jump on the floor and start making their own interpretations, but what was interesting here was that the students spent the vast majority of the allotted time discussing how they would construct the image. ‘How very scientific of them’ I thought, although I didn’t hold much hope for the group who appeared to have had no trail run what so ever. Amazingly it took the rest of the class less than 2 seconds to surmise that they were a train; proving that there really is more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case that there really is more than one appropriate methodology which can be applied when one is required to create a human tableau.

Mounting the whiteboard: a key weapon in any teacher's arsenal.

The presentations from the groups this week were exemplary, and it was fascinating to see how they had managed to incorporate the 10 different gestures into their performances. Judging from the reaction of the onlookers there was also a perverse pleasure to be gained in watching people attempt to curb their involuntary postures and motive nuances, although they all rose admirably to the challenge, one male student remaining so rigid that I feared rigor mortis may have set in. Another interesting aspect to reveal itself during the presentations was the misuse of air quotations, and I had to explain afterwards to the students that tsunamis were caused by an earthquake, and definitely not by an ‘earthquake’.


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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