In seventh grade, we lay the foundation of a technique for future Pacific Ridge performers. We immediately focus on the adage: Acting is NOT pretending, Acting is DOING. Consequently, we focus on the first 6 of the 'Ten Doings’, the basis of the Pacific Ridge acting program: observe; establish your relationship with the other(s) in the scene; explore the place; decide what you want; choose how you will get it; develop your character; create the moment before; use the events of the play; know the words of the play; know the world of the play. Each week, the daily warm-up, game, acting exercises and debriefs center around one of the Doings. We introduce pair work and the beginning of very simple scenes, culminating in excerpts from stage adaptations of literature that middle schoolers are reading in their English classes. Over the course of the trimester, we create a lively and professional playing space, develop our ability to invent through storytelling, experiment with the art of playing through improvisation, learn to critique one another’s work constructively, and examine the parts that compose a dramatic script. Our most important goal is to build ensemble while promoting individual self-confidence and personal growth.
In eighth grade, we learn more advanced methods of acting and character portrayal through pantomime and improvisation. Student's started with a "Simple Task" pantomime and conclude with a "Believable Entrances" pantomime. Both projects teach students how to discover the place, create believable circumstances, and discover the world of their character. Since drama is physical, the students are taught the proper way to warm up the Five Tools of the Actor (voice, body, imagination, face/emotion, and teamwork). By the end of this course students will have learned the foundations of effectively portraying a character, how to successful prepare and master an audition, and how to execute an acting scene with two or more acting partners.