An Acting Icebreaker
a sample lesson, ?What Are You Doing?? with Guest Coach Yas
At the beginning of her little lesson, Yasmin had the kids sit with her on stage. As was scheduled, she worked with the elder group first, then the younger group. She had them sit on the floor in a half circle with their backs to the audience while she faced them. When she would trade places with the kids later, she wanted to make sure that the one ?performing? would be facing out, subtly building up their confidence to perform facing the audience.
When she spoke to the younger group, she appeared in her fun bold sky blue skin color and wild, short white hair, wearing a short white dress, hot pink leggings, and white go go boots. As energetic as ever, she spoke with a slightly higher tone than her normal radio voice, similar to the over-eager children?s show actors. But when she spoke to the elder kids, she appeared in her Caucasian skin with a platinum blonde pixie cut, wearing a simple white t-shirt, dark acid washed blue jeans, and black ballet flats. She spoke to them with a frank tone, in her more normal voice, but her message to both was the same.
?Hey. You may know me as DJ Zazzy Yas, or some of you may just know me as Yas from working with me here on stage. You probably already know a lot about me, but I want to share with you something not a lot of people know about me... I get scared.?
?I?m scared every time I go on the air on the radio. I?m afraid that people won?t laugh at my jokes. I?m scared every time I walk out on stage. I?m afraid that I will be boring and the audience won?t like me. But it took me awhile to understand - It?s ok to be scared. Everyone can get scared and nervous before they perform. It?s what you do with that scary feeling that can help you, or hurt you. If you let that fear overwhelm you, you won?t be able to be your character. You won?t even be able to be you.?
?I have been told that the best thing I could do is to feel comfortable on stage, but you don?t. I certainly don?t always feel comfortable. I feel nervous right now talking to you.? She paused before continuing, ?But I don?t show it, do I? No, there is a lot to be said for the motto ?Fake it ?til you make it.? If I act comfortable, you think I am comfortable, even though I?m terrified. And that?s what our little game is going to be about today.?
?I like to call this game ?What are you doing?? I will start so I can show you how it works, then we will move down the line,? she said while pointing to the child at the beginning of the left of the semi-circle, then carrying her finger around until she reached the other end.
?I would say to the person before me, ?What are you doing?? and they might respond, ?I?m jumping rope.? Now I have to go into the circle and start pretending to jump rope.? She started jumping up and down in place, swinging her forearms in wide circles, and having her hands balled into small fists as if holding onto the rope handles. She continued jumping as she said, ?And you all will ask me, ?What are you doing???
?What are you doing?? Most of the kids replied, meekly.
Still jumping Yas replied, ?I can?t hear you over my rope hitting the floor...?
?What are you doing?? The kids responded more loudly.
With a smile and still jumping, she replied proudly and confidently, ?I?m rowing a boat!? There were a few scoffs and hushed laughs.
She stopped jumping and looked to the first kid. ?Now you come up and act like you?re rowing a boat, then you will have to tell us what you are really doing,? she said with a wink, going to sit in his spot. The boy came up into the center of the half circle and began bringing his arms up and out, positioning one hand under the other, as if holding a large paddle. He brought his arms down and back as if rowing. ?Perfect!? Yas continued, ?And together, we all ask ?What...?? She smiled again as they spoke loudly and in unison...
?What are you doing??