Making Contemporary Performance Practices a Reality in Our Work


An Introduction to Playwrights and Their Work



Grade Level:

10-12 grade, 77 minutes



National Standards:

Content Standard #2:

Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining characters in improvisations and informal or formal productions


Content Standard #4:

Directing by interpreting dramatic texts and organizing and conducting rehearsals for informal or formal productions


Content Standard #7:

Analyzing, critiquing, and constructing meanings from informal and formal theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions


Content Standard #8:

Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the past and the present



Materials Needed:

Excerpts from the canon that you’d like the students to use- this lesson will use A Doll’s House, Our Town, Pygmalion, Death and the King’s Horsemen, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Good Person of Szechwan, and The Cherry Orchard.

Lesson 8.Create Your Own Contemporary Performance Scene Handout



Learning Objective:

Students will apply what they’ve learned about contemporary experimental performance groups, their processes, and work as they analyze and synthesize the relationship between playwrights/work from the dramatic canon and non-traditional contemporary plays/playwriting practices by picking a play of a traditional playwright and creating a performance using contemporary non-traditional practices.



Hook (5 minutes):

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! It’s time to pick your groups for your contemporary performances! Each group should be 5-6 people, and then you will be assigned a play from a different famous, classic playwright of the dramatic canon that we haven’t studied yet. Get in your groups!



Activity 1 (10 minutes):

Pass out the assignment sheet to each group. Briefly go over the schedule for the rest of the unit so students know what’s expected of them. They will be continuing the same practices that we’ve been using for the last few class periods. Before assigning the plays let students know that they are being given a scene from a script. They can either work from this scene to create their contemporary performance, or the entire play in general. Assign a play to each group.



Activity 2 (65 minutes):

Allow students to begin brainstorming and working on their performances. By the end of the period they must turn in a brainstorming sheet with possible ways to perform their scenes. Students may use their smart phones to research the plays more in-depth if they’d like, but if they do they should be monitored.




Turn in your brainstorm sheets and be ready to continue working on Tuesday!