Suitcase with random items in it (clock, notebook, doll, etc. – raid the prop closet)
Play the next 10 minutes or so of the film. Have students write down the given circumstances they see from the film. Nothing is to be interpreted – only examine what is actually there based on the clip today and earlier class period viewings of the film. You could even jot down WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN somewhere to remind students of what to look for.
Have students pair up and one person in the pair will be WHO and WHERE and the other person will be WHAT, WHEN. Have them share their answers with each other.
As a class get a specific answer on each of the four points. How does looking at the given circumstances in the film serve as paroles for the larger langue of the film?
INSTRUCTION & PRACTICE:
Now take these ideas and go directly into the Fuente Ovejuna scene work. Go through the Given Circumstances PowerPoint:
Slide 1: Title
Slide 2: Suitcase Improvisation – have 4-6 students do this. Discuss with the class what they saw – literally (i.e. they stroked the blanket softly; they pushed the soda can away, etc.). Then they can talk through some interpretation they may have made in the improv (i.e. they like this item because they smiled and sighed when they hugged it; they are a writer since they grabbed a pen and wrote in the notebook, etc.).
Highlight for the students how this simple improv with an item from a suitcase use given circumstances; some were given directly to the actor (what and possibly who if they were just “themselves”) and the others were built by the actor (they in an attic perusing old family artifacts or flash forwarding back in time, etc.).
Slide 3: Stanislavsky and given circumstances
Slide 4: Review together as a class in detail the given circumstances. You may want to jot down a key word or two next to the “W’s” you already have listed on the board. Remind students that after they analyze the given circumstances and begin to work their pieces the HOW and WHY will come much more naturally to their characters and the scene.
Slide 5: Stella Adler’s quote (an acting disciple of Stanislavsky) – let’s get to acting then!!
Slide 6: Directions for their work in class. Go through this verbally and if possible leave shown for a while until students are into their working of the scene.
GROUP ANALYSIS & REHEARSAL:
Have students work in their groups as outlined in the last slide. Float around the room to encourage and help as needed. After about twenty-five minutes or so have the class pause what they are doing and have a quick “check-in” with them about where they are at. Have a member from each group share the point they are at in the rehearsal directions and use this information to gage how to structure the rest of the class period rehearsal time.
If students aren’t through all the directions yet, then send them back to dive in where they had paused and continue to work.
If students have gone through their scenes a few times and have some definite blocking set up, have them go through their scene focusing on one particular given circumstance at a time. So they may run the scene focusing deeply on WHO – crafting a character, pushing for an objective through the others in the scene, using their voice and body to show how they feel about the other characters, etc. Or they may run the scene focusing specifically on WHAT – using what happened previously to inform the top of the scene and then working on how they feel about it. etc.
If student are in need of something different to focus on, remind them to think about the Spanish Golden Age background, history, and culture. Have them work together in their group to pull out any instances in the scene that they can highlight SGA work.
Pull students back together and have each group share one thing that they discovered about their scene due to the given circumstances of the scene.
Remind students that memorization is due next class period – students should be working on that.
Collect their given circumstances scene work papers for grading.