Mirror Exercise – Classic Drama Warm-Up Activity

Everyone gets a partner. (If there is an odd number, someone can go twice.) Partners stand in two lines, facing each other, about a meter apart. One is the leader, the other, the “mirror.” Moving only from the waist up, the leader begins to make simple gestures or movements. The “mirror” duplicates the leader’s movements exactly–just as a mirror would. (Some students have trouble with the right-left shift. If the leader raises his right hand, the “mirror” should raise his left, just as the figure in a real mirror would.

The goal is to mirror the partner perfectly, so the leader must move carefully so that the ‘mirror’ won’t fall behind. If they are doing a good job, we cannot tell who is the leader and who is the “mirror.” (The audience can be kept engaged by watching for when the reflection is exact and when it is not) Side-coach them to use smooth, continuous movements. Abrupt movements almost always catch the “mirror” lagging. Encourage them to maintain eye contact rather than look at their partner’s hands.

Challenge the players to focus on the process. Initially there will be giggles. Encourage the leader not to try to ‘trick’ his partner–on the contrary, the leader works very hard not to trick the mirror. It is the leader’s responsibility to perform movements that the “mirror” can follow precisely.

Once all players are concentrating on mirroring, have them switch leaders a few times by calling out “change” At first, every time they switch leaders they will start over, but they should reach the point where they can switch leaders in mid-stream, without interrupting the smooth flow of movement.

After the leadership has been exchanged a few times. Switch groups so that the audience can do the exercise and the first mirror group observes

Variations and building on:

  • Let the leader use the whole body, not just from the waist up. Add levels and depth. (A step closer, a step further back)
  • The leadership can shift back and forth between partners without the teacher calling out “change”.
  • The mirrors can move around the space still mirroring each other’s actions.

This activity is part of the drama games and activities that were shared over the airwaves of Symphony 92.4 2 by is SDEA Committee Members. The segment was called ‘Benefits of Arts’ and was broadcast Mon- Fri, 7-7.30 am. The presenters were keen to share quick drama bytes with parents sending their kids to school, teachers and people who drove to work during the early morning drive time. Many of these games and exercises can be used on their own or can be applied to various forms of learning to bring focus, encourage team work, get players to use their bodies and to open up language.

If you would like to share an activity/lesson plan with us, please add it to the comment box us and we will be pleased to add it to this list