'ACTION REPLAY' involves re-enacting an activity as if a
video film of the activity is being replayed. Just as on television,
the action is 'played back' either to examine an incident more closely
or to replay an event worth celebrating.
In the age of TV and video, action replay needs little explanation
(i.e. you don't need to be a drama therapist, and the learners don't
need a complicated briefing). But you might appreciate some ideas (see
below) about how the basic technique can be developed and applied as a
Replaying the future?? Action replay (the
'no-tech' version) is such a versatile tool that story-telling is just
the starting point. It may be all you wish to do with an action replay.
But having managed a successful replay, there are many ways and
purposes in which this tool can be used. It can be a source of fun and
entertainment, and/or a means of analysing critical events, and/or
exploring future possibilities. This stretches the dictionary meaning
of the word 'replay', so the word 'rehearsal' is a useful replacement
if this technique is used for looking into the future. So 'replay' and
'rehearsal' are essentially the same 'technique' but are applied at
different stages of the learning cycle.
More ideas and information: For a more in-depth explanation of the value of action replay and other active reviewing techniques, refer to my article ACTIVE REVIEWING.
The article also includes descriptions of several active reviewing
methods. This page is based on work with young people, and the article ACTIVE REVIEWING
is based on training with adult groups. There is, of course, always
plenty of scope for adapting and adjusting ideas and methods to suit
the characteristics of the people you work with and the purposes that
you and they are trying to achieve. Anyway, most learning groups
benefit from a balance of 'junior-jolly' and 'senior-serious'
THE BENEFITS OF ACTION REPLAY
ACTION REPLAY has many advantages over video work:
- it is more fun
- it is cheaper
- it keeps involvement and energy high
- it is more convenient and saves time
- you can do it almost anywhere
- you need no equipment (although some 'props' might be useful)
- it is an exercise in memory, creativity, and teamwork
- it can provide everyone with a chance of leadership (as director)
- it can be used as a search technique to find incidents or issues to review more thoroughly
HAND OVER THE CONTROLS, AND PLAY!
Once the reviewer has demonstrated the possibilities, group members can
take it in turns to direct the action. The director has some or all of
these 'controls' to play with:
SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS, FAST FORWARD, PAUSE/FREEZE, CUT TO A DIFFERENT
SCENE, CUT AND RE-TAKE A SCENE, PROVIDE COMMENTARY/VOICE OVER, SLOW
MOTION, WITH/WITHOUT SOUND, SOUND EFFECTS, ADVERTISEMENT BREAK, etc.
Note:Directors may find their task difficult -
with the result that the 'players' start to rebel or drop out. So
encourage directors to experiment but not to be too ambitious at first,
and encourage 'players' to co-operate with the director - especially as
all will want a cooperative group when it is their turn to be a
ACTION REPLAY: VARIATIONS
- FANTASY REPLAY: If only it had been like this!
- IN THE STYLE OF: Capable groups and directors imitate a
particular film or TV style, and replay the same incident from a range
of perspectives - each bringing out a different 'side' of the story.
- INVESTIGATIVE: Bringing out issues which participants have found difficult to recognise or confront during the activity.
- CUTS: If reviewing sub-groups activities, keep cutting from one scene to another (as in TV soaps).
DO YOU NEED AN AUDIENCE FOR ACTION REPLAY?
If people are not used to the idea of drama without an audience (and
would see more sense if there was one) then try to create an 'audience'
when first using the technique. If the group has been working in two
sub-groups, then an action replay might be a good way for each
sub-group to inform the other. If the reviewer has not witnessed the
activity to be reviewed, then the group can perform an action replay
with the reviewer as the audience. If there seems to be a 'cover up' of
some kind that the reviewer wants to 'uncover', improvised action
replays tend to reveal what really happened.
OVER-STATEMENT, UNDER-STATEMENT AND A STATEMENT ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
- The first stage is a replay that over-dramatises the
events being reviewed. You may wish to ensure that only the positive
features and achievements are exaggerated. But some groups may also
benefit from reliving their conflicts or difficulties in a deliberately
over-dramatised way - as this can provide a suitable opportunity for
admitting them and owning up to them. This exaggerated version of
events can be presented as an exclusive scoop or as headline news.
- The second stage is for the group to replay the event (or
parts of it) again, this time playing down the more dramatic events and
minimising their importance. The group play it cool - picking on the
most dramatic events and presenting them as everyday ones, and as
something that was well within their stride. This understated version
can be entitled 'No sweat', 'Easy does it', 'What's all the fuss
about?' 'What did you do today?' 'A day in the life' 'Cool-headed'.
- The third version is a more realistic version of events.
If three replays seems like over doing it, then just focus on the
controversial bits or the best bits - depending on the mood and
If it is possible to carry out a replay of the event with only half a
group, then you can save time and increase involvement levels by
splitting the group in half, and asking one half to prepare an
overstatement while the other half prepares an understatement. Each
perform to the other half of the group and then come together for the
final realistic version.
Transfer of Learning:
In place of stage 3, invite the group to step into the future and
demonstrate how they would 'do better next time' - with the same or a