I’m sure most Drama and Theatre teachers reading this blog have made better use of YouTube in their classes than myself, but yesterday in a Year 9 Drama course studying various forms of comedy, YouTube effectively erased my DVD comedy collection in the Drama department at school.
After spending a few hundred dollars five years ago purchasing old films of the Marx Bros, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Charlie Chaplin, Monty Python and the like on DVD, yesterday YouTube and an interactive whiteboard used as a projector became a far better option. Of course, other people had ripped and uploaded to YouTube all the funny scenes I had intended to show from the various movies.
But the best part of the lesson was a group of 14 year-olds fully embracing black and white video, and even silent video in the case of some Charlie Chaplin, while laughing hysterically. Even after deconstructing the routines and analysing where the slapstick or satire was evident, the students still enjoyed the experience beyond my expectations when it became academic.
I showed my class the very famous Abbott and Costello routine Who’s on First? as an example of stand-up with excellent comic timing (they are simply standing in front of a curtain when delivering the script), the train scene in The Marx Bros film Go West where they chop up the carriages as firewood for the engine, a number of cream pie fights from The Three Stooges and the cabin scene from The Marx Bros film A Night At The Opera where about 20 people all roll out of the door at the end. Not to mention the globe scene from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator – in fact this was their favourite comic scene of about a dozen showed that lesson and that alone made my day as a Drama teacher.
YouTube, like Google, is bread and butter Internet use in the classroom these days, but I’d still like to hear Drama teachers share with everyone some of your innovative uses of YouTube in the drama classroom or even simple use of it that turned into great experiences. Comment below.