play by Feana Tu'akoi , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention:

I am learning to explore the effects of changing voice tone, volume, pitch and pace in formal and informal contexts.

Success criteria:

  • I can express emotions using my voice.
  • I can identify possible emotions felt by characters in a play.
  • I can use my voice to express emotion when performing lines in a play.


Essential knowledge

Ensure students are familiar with each of the following terms:

  • Tone
  • Pitch
  • Volume
  • Pace

For background knowledge, view the video Pace, Emphasis, Diction, Tone, and Volume.

Learning resource:

Discuss emotions people experience and list these on the board. Sample responses include:

  • excitement
  • fear
  • nerves
  • longing
  • disgust
  • horror

Tell students that they will be playing a game of emotion charades where they will need to perform an emotion from the list without revealing to the other players which emotion they have selected. Inform students that they will need to use their voices to communicate their chosen emotion. Provide examples such as talking more quickly than usual and in a higher pitch to show excited or talking slowly and extending words to represent sadness.

Select a student and play a round to model the activity to the class. Once students are clear of how to play the game, place them in pairs and instruct them to play a few rounds each.

Discuss the different ways students’ represented the emotions with their voices, noting ideas on the board, next to the emotion they were used to represent.

Inform students that they will be using these skills when performing a play.

Prior to reading the play, Fearless, select some students and allocate them each one of the characters from the play. As students read, pause at the following points and discuss how the character’s might be feeling:

  • When Mr. and Mrs. Brown ignore the First and Second Ghosts attempts to scare them the ghosts may become increasingly frustrated, particularly in the line:

Second ghost: BOO!

  • When the vampire arrives the ghosts are scared, particularly when they say the line:

Ghosts (clutching each other) Aargh!

  • The ghosts are trying to act cool in the lines:

First ghost: I wasn’t scared.

Second ghost: Me neither.

Note the feelings on a copy of the script, either one displayed digitally or on the hard copy of the magazine using a post-it-note.

Discuss how students might use their voices to display each of the emotions. Sample responses include:

  • becoming louder and more forceful with the tone, to demonstrate frustration
  • using a higher pitch to show fear
  • extending the length of words to show boredom/nonchalance

Instruct the same students who read earlier for each of the characters to re-read some of the lines, using the tone, pitch, pace and volume to express the chosen emotions.

Place students in small groups. Instruct them to select a short passage of the play and to experiment with using their voice to express the emotions selected.

Allow time for students to rehearse, before matching the groups with a fellow group to perform the extract of Fearless that they have rehearsed. Provide the students with note paper or whiteboards. Instruct the group who is not performing to note the emotions they believe the other group are expressing with their voices on the whiteboard as they perform.