Introducing the Text and Learning the Process of Script Analysis


Students will come to an understanding of the purposes of first, second, and third readings of scripts and will be introduced to script analysis techniques.


Materials Needed

Photocopies of selected scenes from five plays: Sabrina Fair, The Diary of Anne Frank, Barefoot in the Park, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Mousetrap
Two minute audio example from something like, The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection 


Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Play the audio clip once and have students summarize the poem. Play the audio clip a second time and have students describe the visual and textural images they find. Play the audio clip a third time and have students give specific examples of what would be needed in a set design if the poem were to be performed.



Step 1: Transition – Discuss with the class the information obtained from each listening. List those items on the board:

First Listen

General story line
Nature of characters
Relationship of characters
Physical environment
Flavor of poem

Second Listen

Specific moments within the poem that provide strong visual and textural images

Third Listen

Mechanical requirements of set

Necessary components such as doors, windows, etc.
Identifying areas for further research

Instruction – Explain the importance of analysis and its role in the scenic design process. Inform students that in order to have a clear focus for their designing process it is imperative to read the script several times, analyzing each time for different elements. Explain that other input i.e. the director’s production concept and the production circumstances will factor into their design, but that for the purposes of this project, they will assume the directorial role and design for the circumstances present on the school stage.

Step 2: Modeling – Script analysis exercise. Read an excerpt from a short scene from one of the assigned plays. This should be an alternative scene than the one you will be assigning and should also be a portion of the script that acknowledges the utilization of a set, i.e. a large bell tower is seen through the window.


As a class, begin asking questions that will help define the set. Write answers on the board.
Where does the scene take place?
When does the scene take place?
Is this an interior or exterior space?
Are there windows, doors, stairs, etc.?
What is this scene about?
What images does the scene create for you?
What is the scene about?
What type of theme does the scene portray?
What areas within the scene do we need to research further?

Step 3: Instruction – Have students get in groups of approximately four per group. Pass out the assigned scenes to each group. Offer students a synopsis of the plays they have received. Give students time to read through their scene a couple of times within their groups and discuss their images and impressions of the scene with each other.

Step 4: Checking for Understanding – Have each group choose a spokesperson to tell the class some of the impressions shared regarding the scene.

Step 5: Guided Practice – Individually, have students write down questions and responses that they will need to know regarding their individual set design project for their chosen scene.



Have students turn in their scene analysis.


Author’s Notes

They will be assigned a scene from a play and will be expected to answer certain questions regarding the play. (Five plays will be used for this unit with approximately four students working on the same play, yet performing individual research and creating separate designs.)