Finishing Plays, Beginning Project

Day 6: Finishing Plays, Beginning Project



Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of what makes a good play by revising their scripts and beginning work on putting some of them up on their feet.


Materials Needed:

Their scripts from last time, the playwriting powerpoint, and pencils and paper for each student



Write the following quote on the board as the students walk in: “One usually dislikes a play while writing it, but afterward it grows on one. Let others judge and make decisions.” Anton Chekhov, from a letter to Maxim Gorky, September 24, 1900.

  • Discussion: From your short experience with playwriting in this class and your other experiences with playwriting before this, do you agree? Since Chekhov is one of the most famous playwrights of all time, let’s take his advice for now.


Group Readings:

 Have the students get out their plays from last time and pencils or pens. While they do this, set up the powerpoint again to the slide that says: “Cast and Produce”

  • Read Aloud Often.
  • Cast it and do it now.
  • Does it sound right?
  • Get feedback.
    • Group the students in groups of 3 and have them one by one give their scripts to the other two to read out loud.
    • Tell them not to worry if they feel like theirs is the worst play ever written – just tell them you were going for a Morality Play, and then as you hear it read aloud, fix it!
      • Give the students 15 minutes to read each other’s plays and make comments.


Revising, Rewriting, and Continuing:

Now that you’ve heard it aloud, what did you think?

  • Now take 10 minutes to revise what you have written, rewrite your lines, or continue writing your play once you are happy with what you have so far.
  • After 10 minutes are up, bring the students back together.
  • Has your writing changed now that you’ve heard it spoken aloud?


Start Project:

  • Plays are meant to be performed, not just read, so let’s perform some of these plays!
  • If you are interested in having your play performed, stand in this area of the room. If you are interested in acting in one of the plays, stand in this area of the room. (The students I had were also really interested in directing and had a little bit of experience with it, so they requested a third group be made of directors. This is not necessary, but if the students are interested, go for it! If there is not the correct number of students, leftovers can also be used as directors)
  • Count the number of students wanting to have their plays performed and the number wanting to be actors. Work it out so that there are two actors for every playwright (and one director for every playwright if you are using directors). Ask kids to shuffle around if they are willing until you have the correct numbers
  • Ask the playwrights what gendered actors they need and make sure that lines up as well. If it does not, ask who can change the genders in their scenes without changing the meaning of the play. Then assign actors to playwrights (and directors to playwrights).



Unit Final Assessment:

  • Now that you have your groups, you will be working together to get this play up on its feet.
  • What is the role of the playwright now that there are actors involved? Do they suddenly cease to exist or care about the play? Nope. You may now end your play, and you should be constantly watching and listening and adding lines in here and changing this line and playing around with the script.
  • Actors – your job is to act. And to memorize even though the lines may be changing around.
  • (Directors – what is your job? You should be helping the actors create the world the playwright desires – help them with blocking, emotion, objectives, characterization, etc.)
    • You have the rest of the time this time and the entire period next time to work on these.