A reference list of possible Shakespeare performances (not included)
Shakespearean monologue and/or scene books
Go to the computer lab and give the Exploring the Bard’s Scripts assignment.
Allow students to explore online with the different plays of Shakespeare’s canon and complete the assignment.
Journal write: Have each student write on their piece of paper what kind of Shakespeare performance they are interested in. They could respond to a genre, relationship, mono/scene, character choice, vocal characteristic, staging/blocking, etc.
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.
Write the word PASSIVE on the board. Brainstorm what this word means. Model the passive monologue from Comedy of Errors. Explain how this could very well be made funny and active in the context of the play or with a partner, but not by itself.
Write the word ACTIVE on the board. Brainstorm what this word means. Model the active monologue from Henry IV part 1. Have the class examine what makes this monologue active. How is active acting stronger and more interesting to watch?
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).
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.
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 Exploration work and final decision of a piece to perform.