Preparing to Present a Mock Talk-back and Body of the Casebook


1) Students will prepare questions to ask a dramaturg during a mock post-performance talk-back between an “audience” (classmates) and a dramaturg (themselves). 2) Students will continue to build a dramaturgical casebook by collecting articles, book chapters, online information, past performances of the production, visual images, historical and other pertinent information that will aid director/designers/actors in visualizing and creating the world of the play.


Materials Needed

Library scheduled
computers with internet access


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Review/assessment: Students will briefly present their 3-4 dramaturgical items in class. They will place the items in their casebooks.



1. Talk-backs
o Talk-backs are discussions led by a dramaturg that allow audience members to ask questions of the cast, director, dramaturg, and sometimes the playwright concerning a play they have just watched. For this class, students will give a short overview to the class of the casebooks they have prepared, and then answer classmates’ questions pertaining to their plays and/or dramaturgical choices. Each talk-back will last about 5-7 minutes per play.
o Brainstorming: Discuss possible questions that may arise during an actual talk-back. What questions might the students ask if they were participating in a talk-back as audience members? How might students answer these questions about the plays they are researching? Allow students to voluntarily suggest questions, and to practice giving answers that pertain to the plays they have researched.
Some prompts to help students think of questions [write these and/or others the students think of on the board]:
o Why produce this play at this time?
· What are some parallels between the play’s setting/issues and issues of today?
o Why was the theme/social issue/historical setting/etc. important to this playwright?
o What was the most exciting/interesting/unexpected/strange thing you learned about the play/the playwright/the play’s issues/other?
o What, to you, is the most important theme/issue/parallel/etc. of the play? Why?
o What character do you relate most to in the play? Why?


2. Mock Talk-back Demonstration
o Using To Kill a Mockingbird as a reference, play the role of the dramaturg, and allow students to voluntarily ask questions about the play. They may use questions on the board, and also questions they think of during the talk-back. Answer the students’ questions in a conversational manner indicative of a talk-back style; include an I-don’t-know answer if possible to demonstrate that it is acceptable for the dramaturg to be honest about what he/she knows about the play.
o Point out the conversational style of the talk-back. Point out the I-don’t-know answer, and assure students this is a perfectly acceptable answer to obscure or difficult-to-reference questions. If no opportunity to portray an I-don’t-know answer occurred, be sure to specifically address this situation.
Assignment: Ask students to write a list of 4 or 5 general questions they might ask a dramaturg during a real talk-back. They may refer to the questions on the board for assistance. Allow students approximately 5-7 minutes to complete this list. Tell the students to be sure to bring this list with them to the next class.


3. Selection of Items
o By prearrangement, students will go to the library to complete their research and record items from their list Identifying the World of the Play.
· Students will find materials that are available via available sources discussed previously.
· They will make a printed copy of each item found.
· They will bibliograph each item on their bibliography list.
· They will include each item in a table of contents.


Assignment (Due next class): Students will locate their last 1-3 items (or whatever number is needed to meet the 8-12 items required). They will print these items for their casebooks. They will bibliograph these last items. They will print the bibliography. They will assemble all the items they have collected–cover page, playwright biography, articles of research, glossary, and bibliography–for the casebook in 3-ring binders. They will write a table of contents that lists the items contained in the casebook in order, and place this behind the cover page. [Refer student to the hand-out Contents of a Dramaturgical Casebook.] They will present their casebooks in a mock talk-back in the following class, and then turn their casebooks in at the end of that class.



List of questions to ask Dramaturg, turned in next class period.
Students will show their final items and their progress in assembling their casebooks to the instructor during the last 5-10 minutes of class.