Characters and Relationships

Lesson 5: Characters and Relationships


Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to establish relationships in dialogue by revising their scripts in class.



TH:Cr3.1.I – Practice and revise a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using theatrical staging conventions.



This is played like a Blind Date show. One player leaves the room while three others go “onstage” or to the front of the class. While the fourth player is out of the room, the rest of the class comes up with strong personality traits, or even specific famous characters that the other 3 players will adopt. Examples might be No. 1 is a robot, No. 2 is Jack Sparrow and No. 3 thinks she’s in a live game of Monopoly. The fourth player comes back in the room and is allowed to ask three questions to each of the contestants. This is best when a question is asked to one contestant, then the other, then the other and then the second question is asked to each, etc. After the questions player 4 should guess what the personality traits/characters were.


Step 1:


How were characters or character traits revealed? Did characters announce everything about themselves right at the beginning? Why or why not?

(Because it’s more interesting and it’s more true to life. Because it’s more logical.) Encourage students to refer back to their handout with the four script writing tips on it. Write those four terms on the board so students have a visual.


Step 2:

Let’s talk about how our dialogue can establish relationships by writing some examples.

In your self-start notebooks, start writing dialogue between Bob and Sarah. You must write 16 lines of dialogue – 8 lines each.  In this scene, Bob and Sarah have had some sort of connection in the past but now they are ending that connection. So you decide what their relationship is and how you’re going to show that relationship. You have two minutes. Just write!


Step 3:

Have one student share by casting their Bob and their Sarah. Ask another student to share whose relationships were totally different than that example. What changed in their dialogue? How did we know what the relationships were?


Step 4:

Have students write the scene again. Same situation, same people. You can change small details if you like. Now you can only use 10 words of dialogue. You might need to write stage directions for your actors.


Step 5:

First have one of the original Bob and Sarah scenes share with the same actor and actress. Ask, “If we hadn’t known the story from before, would we understand what was going on?” (probably not). So what could we have Bob and Sarah DO but not necessarily SAY to establish their relationship and the expository information we need to understand the scene? Students will suggest different movements, perhaps showing Bob and Sarah holding hands and then having Sarah pull her hand away, etc. Ask the students to re-perform the scene.


Step 6:

Ask: Which version of the scene was more powerful to you? There is no right answer. How would we write those actions for the second version we just saw into the script?

Demonstrate this by writing the stage directions on the board for that scene as a student dictates them.


Step 7:

Have a new student (who did not share their original Bob and Sarah scene) share, casting their own Sarah and Bob. Before they perform, ask the writer and actors to confer and decide what actions they can add to the scene to help us understand.


Turn to a partner and talk about what made these two versions of the scene (16 lines and 10 words) so different. Were there moments that were more powerful for you in either one of them?


Step 8:

Have students remain in those partnerships and get out their scripts they have been working on. Have each partner share about a page of their script with the other. Go through this same process. Try to rewrite a scene together using half the dialogue, deciding what can be cut and where stage directions may need to be added. 


Step 9:

Remind students that the rough drafts of their scripts are due NEXT TIME. Go over what a rough draft means. For the purposes of this class, a rough draft should be your best work. It is printed, completed, follows all the criteria on the assignment sheet. The only reason we are calling it a rough draft is because they will be required to make revisions based on teacher feedback within a week of receiving that feedback.