Acting Shakespeare

Shakespeare Lesson #4

Acting Shakespeare


Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of acting Shakespeare pieces by practicing the “Top Ten Hints” in class and applying them to their individual pieces. 




Hook [10 mins]

  • Give students time to get into their groups from last time and practice their pieces (text translations)
  • Ask students to incorporate some sort of physicalization into their piece, it can be used to emphasize the iambic pentameter or messages they think are important in the words, etc, it’s up them!


Performance of Pieces [25-30 mins]

  • Have groups volunteer go first
  • Talk back after the performance
    • Open it up to class first for comments on their observations, things they liked about the translations, their physical work, etc..
    • Ask the group who just performed about their experience w/the text.
    • Where there things they identified with in their piece? What emotions/situations/problems/modes of expression did they find in common?
  • After a group performs have them turn in their translation, then they can select the next group to perform, etc..


Transition! [5 mins]

  • When all the groups have performed, explain that this activity was to get us more familiar with Iambic Pentameter and the different types of meters, and also to get us identifying more with the text. 
  • Highlight example from some of the performances and comments that support the idea that meters give us clues about the characters, and that in the content of the text we also see stuff that we know and understand! (like emotions, situations, etc…) It’s relevant to us in our time


Remember Akala? [5 mins]

  • Revisit this example (Hip-Hop Shakespeare clip from day 1) to explain that there’s so many ways to use different meters (in this case Iambic Pentameter) to perform Shakespeare’s text
  • We’re going to practice more realism w/ Shakespeare
  • Text has meanings we relate to, going to work on learning to use this rich colorful language to communicate real, specific emotions, themes etc…
  • Use this as a segue into advice for Acting Shakespeare activity


Top Ten Hints For Acting Shakespeare [15-20 mins]

  • Give each student a copy of the “Top Ten Hints For Acting Shakespeare” handout.
  • Explain that the Top 10 Hints are tools that will help us get out of our own heads when using Shakespeare’s language to create a realistic, exciting piece
  • Use the handout to lead the students in the exercises as listed.
  • Rotate between using volunteers and the entire class to model the examples (see handout)
  • Have the whole class go through the final step together (putting all the hints together w/a recitation)


Individual/Partner application [10 mins]

  • Have students choose a partner, they will work together to begin applying hints to the text of their performance pieces
  • Ask them to mark action words, stressed words, words to color, etc as listed on handout


Wrap Up [2-3 mins]

  • Finish up class by reminding students of the memorization check that will happen next time, explain that they will need to have their piece completely memorized to get full points on the assignment
  • Ask them to finish marking their text with things from the “Hints” page, that they began.  Remind them that they will also need to bring their copy of their text next time.


**Students will be graded on participation in top 10 hints activity today. They will also get points for the translation performance as well as the translation paper that they turn in as a group.