Conflict, Action and Machismo

Lesson 8:

Conflict, Action and Machismo



Students will demonstrate the ability use conflict and obstacles in their scene by exploring actions of the characters in their scene.


Materials Needed:


Laurencia’s Monologue copies  Lesson 8.Laurencia Mono from FO



Watch the next ten or so minutes of the film.  Have students observe the clip (and remember what they’ve seen previously in the film) to determine the conflict of the play.   Make sure students understand what CONFLICT is – conflict is a literary or storytelling element that involves a struggle between two opposing forces; conflict may manifest as external or internal.  Though usually a protagonist and an antagonist: a bad guy who offers opposition to the main character’s drive.


Have them write in their journals what the conflict is as well as any obstacles that come up to contribute/add to/inflame the conflict. 


After the viewing discuss together what the conflict is and what obstacles are a part of that conflict.  How do obstacles affect the characters involved?  What action comes out of the conflict – what do characters actually DO?  Why is it important to connect the conflict with action?  Conflict is the essence of dramatic storytelling and actions show the storytelling to full effect.



Give each student a copy of Laurencia’s monologue from Fuente Ovejuna.  Have someone in the class read the monologue out loud.  At the conclusion of the reading, ask what effect this young lady’s monologue might have on the men of the village. 


Remind the class that SGA Spain society is male-dominated – women were considered something to be valued, honored, and defended.  Does anyone know what the term machismo means?  It is the sense of being ‘manly’ and self-reliant, the concept associated with “a strong sense of masculine pride: an exaggerated masculinity; an attitude, quality, or way of behaving that agrees with traditional ideas about men being very strong and aggressive.  Does understanding more about machismo change any ideas of how the men would feel about her monologue and how Laurencia speaking out like this goes against the idea of machismo


Is there any element of machismo in the group scene that you’re working on?  If students respond positively to this have them share where/how machismo manifests itself in the scene.  If there isn’t much response perhaps students can look deeper at the text to see where machismo and the theme of honor might be implied.



With the monologue sheets and a writing utensil have students get together in their scene groups.  Have them go through the monologue “beats” (delineated by a line on the paper) and examine each for conflict, obstacles, and potential action.  Have them look at these questions to guide them in analyzing each beat:  (perhaps write the key words on the board to guide the students: conflict, obstacles, action)

  • What is the conflict(s)? (think of what came ‘before’ the scene and how that might create conflict that plays out in your scene)
  • What obstacle(s) are contributing to the conflict? (either self-imposed or created by other things/people)
  • What actions can be explored? (think of objectives here; and exploring how using and reacting to other characters could spur action)


Don’t give students too long to work on this – they can analyze and talk all day long; you want them to get into the text swiftly and efficiently, so keep a tight timeline for them to explore this.  If they don’t finish it all completely it is okay; they will get the purpose of the practice in exploring conflict and action.  However, if you plan to “perform” the monologue you may want to have one group start at each beat in order to ensure the entire monologue is examined.


Assign one of the five scene groups to each beat.  They will have someone in their group perform that beat with all the analysis in mind to inform their interpretation and performance.  The beats should stream seamlessly from one performer to another, so have them all come up to the performance space together to perform the monologue.


Ask students: how can exploring the conflict and obstacles in a text can lead to very specific, detailed actions?  In this Spanish Golden Age drama how does this examination pull out the history, background, and culture of Spain?



Have the students repeat this process in their own scenes and text.  Together they should examine conflict, obstacles and action of their piece.  But now they will take their analysis one step further by exploring actual actions to take in their scene in terms of reactions, blocking, gestures, facial expressions, busInéss, vocal choices, etc.  Ask them: Which actions will you play?  You can either have students simply explore these things as they rehearse, or you can have them write down “answers” to the questions and turn them in as a group.


Give students time to rehearse their scenes focusing on bringing up the conflict, exploring machismo opportunities, and sharing SGA information appropriately in their scenes.


You may want to have some kind of memorization check-in here; to ensure that students have memorized their work as required.



INSTRUCTION (if needed to focus students or add more time to their rehearsal structure):

Have students examine environmental factors and attitudes of their scene in the play.  Sometimes thinking of these things specifically allows details about culture and history to be more real and alive for actors.



  1. Geographic Location: The specific area in which the play takes place. The exact place. This includes the climate.
  2. Date, year, season, time of day. What about the date is significant?
  3. Economic Environment: The character’s relationship to wealth or poverty, and the class of the character in relationship to the society in which they live.
  4. Social Environment: The morals and social institutions under which the characters live; their values and societal beliefs.
  5. Political Environment: The character’s relationship to the form of government under which they live.
  6. Religious environment: The formal or informal psychological controls place upon a character because of their religious beliefs.



Beliefs held by a character that are in direct opposition to the world in which the character lives. This opposition creates conflict. Conflict creates dramatic action.  Hmm…sounds familiar, right?



Remind students that they will be previewing their scenes in class next time.  Their memorization must be totally solid, props should be utilized, and it is expected that they have grounded, driven performances informed by given circumstances and conflict/action.


Also make sure students know that the Spanish Golden Age test will be next class period.  The test will be on Spanish Golden age background, history, culture, and theatre that have been studied in the unit.