Character Motivations


Character Motivations


by Karlee Savage & Valerie Long


Educational Objective:  Students will demonstrate their understanding of character motivations by analyzing a segment of a monologue in a group then sharing and performing it with the class.


Materials Needed:

“Part of Your World” lyrics (split into 5 segments) ; Class Practice PowerPoint  Lesson 6.Step 3 Mono Class Practice



Grab the first student that comes into class and tell them that when class starts you will turn on a song and ask them to start dancing, encouraging other students to dance with them. When the song ends, ask the students why they started dancing, what made them join in? If I had played a slower song, would you have reacted in the same way? Discuss how different styles of music affect the listener’s emotions and reactions.


  1. Transition: Write on the board: “How can a character’s emotions portray to the audience their intentions?” After the discussion, cross out emotions and replace it with expressions, and cross out intentions and replace with motivations. Ask students “How does changing these words imply a different meaning?”


  1. Pre-Assessment: How does a character’s expression convey their tactic? What other tactics can actors use to convey their character’s motivations? Have students write their tactic ideas on the board.


  1. Analysis Practice: Pull up the Practice Monologue Analysis PowerPoint. Have a student read the monologue aloud. Discuss with the class the tactics and motivations of the character. How would you portray this character based on the motivations present?


  1. Mono Practice: Separate the class into 4 groups (2 groups of 3 and 2 groups of 4). Hand each group a segment the same monologue. Write on the board things to look for while reading and to be discussed in their groups: pay attention to how they react as the reader. What tactics are being used? How do they display the character’s motivation?


  1. Sharing: Come back together as a class and have each group present their answers in chronological order. To receive credit, each student must provide an insight previously discussed in their groups. Ask the other groups to provide input and insights they might have for the presenting group’s segment. After each group has presented, discuss with the class the overarching objective and motivation of the character.


  1. Practice Time: Students will rehearse their portion of the monologue to be performed for the class for 5 minutes. Have one person from each group come to the front of the class, standing in order of the monologue. Each student will perform their excerpt, continuously flowing as if one actor. Make sure students focus on the tactics discussed earlier and bodily expressions, always keeping in mind the character’s overarching motivations. After the first group recites the monologue, have time for students to give feedback to performance members. One thing they did well and one thing they could improve on. Then the next group will recite the monologue. For the remaining 2 students, they do not have to perform if they don’t want to or someone from the other groups can go again to provide the full monologue.



After the performance, ask students what tactics did they see being used? How did they express their motivations? Why did you choose to either speak or sing the lyrics? What could have been done to better express the character’s motivations? How can we use this to better understand our own emotions? How can we use what we’ve discussed to better understand and interpret the motivations of others?



Students can be assessed on their participation in the presentation (10 points) and in group/class discussions (5 points).