|Creative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)|
· one hour
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 their insights.
ACRA is a technique developed by the Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE), a non-government organization (NGO) based in Manila, Philippines.
· thick illustration board or any thick cardboard for comic frames (background pictures) and for frames for overlays - minimum size 45 cm x 30 cm
· plastic transparencies for overlays
· craft or bond paper and pens or crayons for drawing comic balloons
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 overlays.
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 the story.
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 story.
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 situation?
· 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 scenes.
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 jail.