(Much of this lesson from “Preview Reflection” by Shawnda Moss, BYU THED Database)
Lesson Objective: Students will sharpen their scenes by setting rehearsal goals and focusing their rehearsal on the areas they received notes on during previews.
Materials: Soothing music for relaxation, Teacher Preview Notes taken last time (typed up for students)
Conduct a relaxation session with the students. Have them lie down on their backs and begin the soothing music. Guide them verbally through relaxing breathing, releasing tension in their bodies and clearing their mind. After the relaxation period, guide the students through a visualization (staying on the floor with their eyes closed and seeing the day happen in their imagination) of a day in their Shakespeare character’s life. They will supply the activities and moods of the character throughout the day as you prompt them to do daily routines (waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast, going to work, staying at home, and so forth throughout the day). Tell them that at some point during the day their character must “run into” the character(s) they are playing opposite of in their scene or monologue. It can be during an errand to the grocery store where they meet up in the produce section, it can be a date-night, it can be a business meeting, etc. This meeting must take place at some point during this day.
Once the day is complete visually, have the students mentally return to the meeting of the characters in the day. Now allow them to hear the exchange between the characters in their imagination as well as see it. Focus their attention to the tiny, fine details of the relationship and exchange (what is the body language like, how do the characters react to each other, what happens vocally in the meeting, what is being discussed, etc.?). Make sure that the students spend some time on their own mentally painting this picture and discovering new bits to their relationship and feelings toward the other character.
Have the class sit in a circle. Ask a few students to share the experience of their character that day. Have them share with the class what their character’s meeting was like and how they felt about it.
Talk with the students about how important it is to create a character that has a previous life to the scene with prior relationships and feelings. This is something that we need to see more of in final performances. If possible, share a moment in your own life where you had an exchange with someone that you had a previous relationship with that made that exchange more tense or happy because of what you had previously gone through with that person.
Have the students take out their notebooks and respond to the following three questions in regard to their own preview performances:
What was the strongest moment/thing about your preview?
What was the weakest moment/thing about your preview?
What specific steps are you going to take before your final performances to overcome your weakest thing?
Explain that not only do you want them to see your notes and suggestions, but you want them to critically analyze their own work, see a weakness, make a goal (or objective) and then work to reach that goal before their final performances.
Pass back the preview notes you took on each performance and give the students time to work on their scenes. Have them focus their rehearsal specifically on the goals/specific steps they wrote out for improving their scenes and in applying what they learned from the visualization exercise to their scenes.
Circulate the room as students work. Offer clarification on any notes students have questions on or assistance in any other ways needed.
Students will be assessed on their participation in each activity today (visualization exercise, discussions, journal exercise, & rehearsal). If desired, could have students turn in their Journal assignment at the end of class for points.