Hot Teeth!

play by Bill Condon , illustrtaaed by Aśka

Learning intention:

I am learning to experiment with vocal effects such as tone, volume and pace so that I can use my voice more effectively when speaking publicly.


Success criteria:

  • I can discuss the style of speech adopted by a newsreader.
  • I can discuss the mood of characters in a play.
  • I can reflect on how their mood might be revealed through their tone, volume and pace.
  • I can experiment with using tone, volume and pace to convey emotions.


Essential knowledge:

Ensure students are familiar with the following terms:

  • Tone – the manner of speech, for example authoritative or nervous
  • Volume – how loud or quiet a sound is
  • Pace – the speed someone speaks at


Prior to reading Hot Teeth! view an episode of Behind the News. Discuss the style of speech the newsreader adopts, using the following questions to guide students’ responses:

  • What kind of language does the newsreader use, for example formal language or slang? (Formal language)
  • What tone does the newsreader use? (Authoritative)
  • How quickly or slowly does the newsreader speak? (Slowly and clearly)

Summarise students’ observations, for example, the newsreader speaks in an authoritative tone, speaking slowly and clearly and using formal language.

Read the first lines of Hot Teeth! Spoken by the Newsreader:

In breaking news, police say a gang has stolen hundreds of sets of false teeth! For a live update, we cross now to our dental reporter, Floss Daily.

Discuss the mood of these lines (the information is dramatic and serious). Discuss how to convey this mood using tone (for example using an authoritative tone, speaking slowly and clearly, emphasising words such as ‘stolen’. Remind students of the style adopted by the newsreader in Behind the News. Provide students with copies of the play and instruct them to make notes on how to present the lines based on the class discussions.

Repeat this process with the next two sets of lines:

FLOSS: I have with me Miss Gumm, who is wearing her gardening teeth because—

GUMM: My going-out teeth were stolen.

Discuss the mood each of the characters might be feeling as they say these lines. For example, Floss, who is a reporter, would speak in a similar way to the newsreader (formally and authoritatively) whereas Gumm, the victim of the crime, would speak in a more emotional way (emphasising words such as ‘stolen’ and talking like she is on the brink of tears). Discuss how you might show this with tone, for example by using a shaky voice, rising in pitch as if about to cry. Again, tell students to make notes on their copies of the play about how to say each of the lines.

Instruct students to work through the remainder of scene 1 with a partner, identifying the mood and experimenting with using their voice to convey these emotions.

Provide students with digital equipment that features voice recording software. Inform them that they will be performing a section of the scene solo, adopting different voices for each of the characters to convey the moods they might be feeling.

Students can choose which section of the scene they would like to perform. Inform students that they should use a section that features at least three different characters to allow them to experiment with using their voices to convey different emotions. Allow time for students to record themselves saying the lines, using tone, pitch and pace to express the feelings of the characters. Share recordings and discuss how students conveyed the desired emotions with their voices.