Tableau is a form of performance art in which students reenact a scene.   Students choose a moment in time, emphasizing the most important components found in the text, and pose frozen for 30-90 seconds.  This form of imagery and visualization helps students understand the text.  However, as you can see in this video, some Tableau performances go a step further and let the characters come to life with brief dialogue.  This is an excellent example of this strategy that bridges comprehension with performance art. 

At my school, we had students choose a painting as the basis for their tableau.  First, they had to decide which characters they would be from  the scene.  The students created a script using language and events from the era in which the artwork was created.  They painted a backdrop using some of the original painting, and the students chose music from the era which set the mood for their performance.  

Tableau is often used to help students identify the main points of a story.  They pose frozen to “illustrate” the essential elements found in the text.   Below is an example of frozen tableau.