Finding the Perfect Shakespeare Piece


Students will demonstrate their understanding of the Acting Shakespeare assignment by selecting a Shakespearean scene or monologue to perform.



A reference list of possible Shakespeare performances (if available), Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespearean monologue and/or scene books, copy machine (if available)



After the video is over, have the students respond to the film by writing down their favorite moment in Compleat Works. Have them respond to a specific moment and defend their choice by explaining what exactly the actors did to make that moment work or stand out for them. They could respond to a character choice, vocal characteristic, timing, staging/blocking, etc.



Transition – After discussing some of the classes favorite moments in the film, have each student write on their piece of paper what kind of Shakespeare performance they are interested in. Have them choose either a dramatic or a comedic piece and either a scene or a monologue. If they already have a play or a specific character in mind have them write it down.



Discussion – Talk with the class about their personal choices. Have the students share why they are interested in what they are interested in. Let them talk about what they want to perform, and then lead them into talking about how they each go about choosing a performance piece on their own. What steps do they take? How do they wade through all of Shakespeare’s plays and characters to find that magic piece that cries out to them “Perform me!”? Give pointers of your own along the way and encourage the students to find pieces that are active and that challenge and stimulate them.



Instruction – Remind students of the time limit requirements of both a monologue and a scene. (I read the exact rules of both events from the Shakespeare Competition handout to the students).



Guided Practice – Set the students free to explore and read and find their own pieces. Be on hand to help steer the students toward choices that would be appropriate for them to perform without dictating what they must perform. Give the students encouragement to keep exploring on their own with some input from you if they need it.



Checking for Understanding – Once a student (or partnership) has found a performance piece, have them sign up for the piece by writing down their name, the play they’ve chosen, the act and scene of the play, and the character’s name(s). Then have them get a copy of the scene or monologue that they will be performing.



Students can be assessed on their written responses as well as their on-task work in selecting a Shakespeare performance piece.