Freeze frames are a quick and effective way to start a drama session. They can easily be used with any age from children to adults. Participants create an image using their bodies – with no movement. Freeze frames can be made by individuals, small groups or even the whole group.
A good way to explain a freeze frame (also known as still image) is that it is like pressing the pause button on a remote control, taking a photo or making a statue. The images can be made quickly without discussion – or they can be planned and rehearsed. They are very useful as an immediate way of communicating ideas or telling a story. They can be used to represent people or objects and even abstract concepts like emotions or atmospheres. As there are no lines to learn, freeze frames can help shyer performers to gain confidence.
When viewing a series of freeze frames, try using Open and Close. Bring the images to life through improvisation using Action Clip. Freeze-frames can be usefully combined with Thought Tracking, Forum Theatre or Flashbacks and Flash Forwards.
Freeze frames can easily be used across the curriculum, for example:
- Fairy tale tableaux are a good place to start – simply ask small groups to choose a fairy tale and create three still images (beginning, middle and end)
- Improve students’ vocabulary skills by asking them to illustrate a word or phrase in a story using a still image
- Fun can be had making group objects that turn from one thing into something else – for example Cinderella’s pumpkin turns into a coach, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen
- In Science, groups can develop a series of images showing the process of metamorphosis (e.g. caterpillar to butterfly or frogspawn to frog).
- Explore a work of art or documentary photograph by bringing it to life as a 3D Living Picture
- For more advanced use of freeze frames with teen/adult students, take a look at this interesting analysis of a scene from Goodfella’s.