Introduction to Stage Directions

Lesson Objective:

Students will be introduced to stage directions through participating in the stage directions drawing game.



• Markers
• White board
• White board markers
• Masking tape


Step 1: Warm Up—Wah

Have students stand in a circle. Someone is named the sensei of the group. They say “bow to your sensei” and everyone bows while saying “wah.” Then the sensei puts his hands together and puts them over his head and then says “wah” as his arms come down, pointing to and making eye contact with another person. That person says “wah” as they put her arms (with palms together) above her head. The two people on either side of her say “wah” as they ‘chop’ either side of her, bringing their arms with palms together in by her side. Then the middle person says “wah” as she brings her hands down, pointing to and making eye contact with another person in the circle.
The point is to try and go as fast as possible, maintaining a rhythm. A person can get out of the game by not being fast enough to say wah after someone passes it to them, or if you forget to side swipe someone or you don’t say wah.
Play in two circles if the class is large. Each circle plays to the top two or three and then have a championship game. The top two win.
Ask: Why would we play a game like this in a drama class?


Step 2: Stage Directions

Draw a diagram of the stage on the board. Tell the students to get a piece of paper out and draw the same thing. Ask them if they know how stage directions work? Where is the left part of the stage, where is the right?
Tell them that it depends on where you’re sitting, but right now we’re concerned with “stage” when you say “stage” you mean the point of view of the actor. “House” is the point of view of the audience.
Now, in groups see if you can’t place these directions in the correct place: CS, US, DS, CR, CL, UR, UL, DR, DL. House Right House LeftWhere do you think down stage is and where do you think up stage is? HINT: Stages used to be raked. The back of the stage was higher than the front of the stage.


Step 3: Check answers

Have students help you fill out the stage on the board by handing a dry erase marker to a volunteering student. Have the class check their diagram with the one on the board.


Step 4: Drawing Game

Have students get up and get a marker. Call out different directions and have them place a different symbol are mark on each place.
Have students come up to the whiteboard and put the symbols in the correct place. Check to make sure they’re in the right space.


Step 5: “If you are . . .” stage directions game

Use masking tape to make a 9 square grid on the classroom floor. Have the students sit in their seats. Tell them that you’re going to call out something and a stage direction. If that something applies to them, then they get up and stand in that stage direction’s box. Every time something applies to them, tell them they should move to the stage direction.
Ex: Everyone who is wearing shoes with laces, go to Down Left.


Step 6: Closure:

Have students put their names and period on the paper and hand them in. They’ll get a grade for completion and are expected to keep them as notes afterwards.
Tell your neighbor the difference between stage and house.