Three Unities


Students will demonstrate their understanding of the French Neoclassical “Three Unities” by modifying a fairytale to have one plot, set in one place, happening in one day.



Materials Needed

· Timeline of French Neoclassical theatre drawn on board   1.Timeline of French Neo-classical
· Bowl/hat
· Enough slips of paper for each group (5 students/group), indicating fairytale (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, etc.) and each dramatic structure element (e.g. Exposition, Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Falling action)

NOTE: GOAL of the slips of paper: Students will draw what fairytale group they will be working in and then draw what dramatic element they will be in charge of
· Copy of each fairytale



Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook
Inform students that they will be starting a new unit on 17th French Neoclassical theater. Have students share any prior knowledge they have about this time period with the rest of the class. Then guide students’ attention to the board (timeline diagram). Review the timeline with them. As the term implies, clarify that the neoclassical ideals are a revival of the classic ideals. Then explain that the focus of this unit will reflect the focus of that time period: playwriting




Step 1:
· Once each student has picked a fairytale from the bowl/hat, have them organize into groups according to the tale they picked
· As soon as students are separated into fairytale groups, have them draw from the bowl/hat a dramatic element
· Inform them that 1) for the rest of the unit they will be working in these groups and 2) based on whatever element they drew from the hat, they will be in charge of heading the writing process when it comes to that element
· Pass out the fairytale to the appropriate group
· Have them read/familiarize themselves with their story


Step 2:
· Introduce students to the “Three Unities”
· To be considered a “good” play by the French Academy, explain that French Neoclassical plays had to have
1. TIME: ONE day
2. PLACE: ONE location
3. ACTION: ONE plot


Step 3:
· As a group, have students determine necessary modifications to their fairytale to adhere to the Three Unities


Step 4:
· Once groups have determined the necessary changes to ensure their fairytale adheres to the Three Unities, have students outline the happenings/events of the revised fairytale within their assigned dramatic element
1. For example: A group doing Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) would determine that the action all takes place in the grandma’s cottage. The student “in charge” of the exposition would then create an outline that described the events prior to the inciting incident of this revised version of LRRH.




· Within the last 15 minutes of the period, have each group member share what they created
· Once the basic outline of the revised fairytale is shared, have groups decide on appropriate transitions between each individual’s writing to ensure continuity and flow
· ASSIGNMENT: Before the period ends, have each group hand in a piece of paper identifying each group member, the assigned fairytale, and the time, place, and action of the revised version




Participation: 5pts
Write up: 5 pt
Total possible points: 10 pts



Breakdown of points for Write-Up Points

Identifies each group member 1
Identifies fairytale title 1
Identifies each revision
(one day, one place, one plot) 3