Tableau work is a fundamental theatre skill that helps actors understand the importance of creating visual images onstage. Because tableaus are motionless and silent, actors must convey meaning through their stance and expression, especially as they relate to other actors onstage. Tableaus also help young actors become adept at creating stage pictures by helping them understand that at any given moment in a performance, all actors should be able to be clearly seen.
This five-page tutorial includes a description of tableau work, tips for creating successful tableaus, discussion questions and over 100 prompts!
Here is one version of the activity!
Secret Crowd Tableaus
Give each group a scene suggestion secretly and allow them a few minutes to develop their tableau. Suggest that each group have a director, or take turns being a director who would help make the tableau stronger. When each group is brought on stage to perform their tableau, audience members must guess the situation.
Crowd tableau examples:
- Funeral-goers mourn at the graveside of a loved one.
- Paparazzi maneuver to get the best photo of a celebrity.
- Film goers watch a bloody scene in a horror film.