Animated comics role play activity
Animated Comics Role-play Activity (ACRA) combines verbal and
visual traditions prevalent in learner-centered education. Its use of comics
provides a lively and challenging presentation of the situations that happen in
life. When used in awareness workshops, participants unravel together their
perceptions on themes like environment, governance and gender.
ACRA ensures active interaction because the participants are both
performers and scriptwriters involved in a drama of their own making. By acting
out the roles of players in a semi-defined story, the participants present their
perceptions of a particular reality, act on this simulated situation and share
ACRA is a technique developed by the Popular Education for
People's Empowerment (PEPE), a non-government organization (NGO) based in
· thick illustration board or any thick cardboard for comic
frames (background pictures) and for frames for overlays - minimum size 45 cm x
· plastic transparencies for overlays
· craft or bond paper and pens or crayons for drawing comic
You may also make cardboard frames for the overlays to give them
stiff edges for easy handling.
I. Prepare comic frames
· Draw the main characters and background
picture(s) on illustration board(s).
· Draw the overlay scenes needed
onto plastic transparencies.
Overlay 1: Sunrise
Overlay 2: Sunset
Basic frame with overlay
2. Prepare the comic balloons as shown below. Make 5-6 sets of
these balloons on craft or bond paper. Make them large enough (at least 30 x 20
cm) to accommodate clear and big handwriting.
Facilitator can also provide blank papers where participants
themselves can draw comic balloons.
1. Divide the participants into several groups, one group to act
as narrator and the others assigned to the main characters in the story (one
group per character).
2. Explain that you will use comic pictures to suggest a scene,
and that one group will narrate the story, and the others speak for the
characters using comic balloons.
3. Give the narrators the comic frame(s) and overlays, and outline
the story to them. Explain that they will alter the scene as they change the
4. Give the other groups paper or comic balloons and tell them
which character(s) they will be. Tell them that they will have 45 seconds to
write their responses each time.
5. Ask narrator(s) to set the scene and introduce the story. Then
ask one of the character groups to start the dialogue. Give them 45 seconds to
write their dialogue line(s) in one of the types of bubble, and then hold it up
and read it out loud.
6. Let the other group(s) respond with their dialogue and when
appropriate, ask the narrators to change the overlays and tell another step in
Ask the groups to position themselves, one at the left, the other
at the right side of the room (if two groups only) or in a circle if more than
two groups with the narrator(s) always at the center.
7. Stop the activity after achieving the twists and turns of the
8. Process the activity through the following questions:
· What did you feel while acting out your role?
· Has the situation or something similar ever happened to
you? Has this happened in your community or in your line of work?
· What did you do? What did other people do in such a
· What insights have you gained?
If the dialogue is just between two characters.
1. You can use paper cutouts as overlays if you have no
2. You can also use an overhead projector to display the
In several workshops in Samar, ACRA had been used
successfully. The participants formed two groups. Drawings of two fisherfolk
were shown to the two groups. Each group was told to assume one character and
given blank papers to write their comic balloons for their assumed character.
A facilitator acted as the narrator. In her story, she said that
Bert and Jorge, were fisherfolks from Taytay Bay, Palawan and Sorsogon, Bicol
respectively. She said that Bert and Jorge met along the coast and were
discussing the catch in their areas. The first frame showed Jorge catching more
fish than Bert. The facilitator started the story with Bert's dialogue - "Why
have you caught more fish than me?" She then asked the group assigned to the
Jorge's character to think of an answer to Bert's dialogue. The story unfolded
as the narrator superimposed more overlays on the basic frame and the two groups
exchanged dialogues. One group remained a fisherfolk throughout the activity and
the other group took on roles of various characters. These roles, based on the
narrator's cues, were a son of a fisherfolk, a community development worker, a
fish warden, a policeman, the mayor, a commercial fish dealer and finally a
judge. The story evolved as dictated by the participants with Jorge ending up in