Kelly Bisogno, Michelle Milligan
Material Type:
High School
Virginia Department of Education
Blocking, Fine Arts, Staging, Tableaux, Technique and Application, Theater, Theatre, Theatre Arts, VDOE, VDOE Resource, VDOEResource, VaFA
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Education Standards (6)

Instructional Plan: Exploring Tableaux

Instructional Plan: Exploring Tableaux


Students will create and perform scenes using tableaux in order to further understand acting techniques, physical techniques, character development, and theatrical direction.


  • Students will recognize tableaux in performance
  • Students will create and perform tableaux


  • Images of tableaux in painting, photos, and stage and screen stills
  • Scripts of choice
  • Space for play (playing cubes or other furniture deemed necessary by teacher)
  • Props (optional)

Student/Teacher Actions

1. Define tableaux. Discuss history and pictorial representation of tableaux in theatrical text.

2. Present tableaux scenes from movies or ask students to create tableaux moments that          depict emotions such as anger, rejection, fear, and sadness.

3. Discuss or review the following areas where students will be assessed in the creation of a tableaux scene.  

  • Physical characteristics
  • Blocking and movement
  • Vocal characterization
  • Projection and emphasis
  • Articulation and diction
  • Poise and concentration
  • Coordination and ensemble (effect)
  • Rhythm and tempo (i.e., pacing)
  • Believability
  • Variety (in terms of self-direction, use of levels)
  • Sense of drama
  • Memorization and preparation

4. Students will rehearse to create a tableaux scenes as a group. While students work on scenes centered on tableaux, they should be mindful that they are building on acting techniques to reacquaint themselves with the idea of use of space, levels and to revisit the importance of focus, memorization, etc.  During rehearsal time, the teacher asks students to describe their method, which allows the teacher to check for understanding.

5. Students can perform for each other and receive feedback. Students can use a rubric for peer critique to review the different aspects of requirements and what they need to focus on when creating a tableaux. Students can create an image scrapbook of their performance.

6. Students will perform one act for an audience, which can be recorded to share digitally, and/or for the students portfolio.

Assessment Strategies

  • Written feedback for tableaux images
  • Student/peer feedback verbal/written
  • Informal conversations during rehearsal process
  • Presenting final performances, evaluated by rubric

Differentiation Strategies

  • Mixed grouping
  • Chunk tasks
  • Provide multiple opportunities for peer and teacher feedback

Extensions and Connections

  • This exploration blends into art through images in paintings that are tableaux
  • Historical research and connection of tableaux to historical communication through parlor history
  • Screen and popular culture connections: imagery through dance, movies, and poster/visual images


The PDF and Word document versions of this plan are attached.