Welcome to the Play Fair-Selecting & Understanding Modern to Contemporary Theatrical Texts

Lesson 3: Welcome to the Play Fair- Selecting and Understanding Modern to Contemporary Theatrical Texts

Length: 75 min.

Objective:Students will demonstrate their ability to effectively analyze a new text through physical exercises and written response to oral readings.

Levels of Understanding:

interpret, perspective, apply

National Standards:

TH:Cr1.1.I.c. Use script analysis to generate ideas about a character that is believable and authentic in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cn11.1.I. a. Explore how cultural, global, and historic belief systems affect creative choices in a drama/theatre work.

Materials Needed:

Scripts from “A List of Selected Scripts, 1900-Present”

A sign that says “Peruse Me”

Given Circumstances worksheet

Hook (5 min):

Before students come in, have a pile of the scripts from the “A List of Selected Scripts, 1900-Present” stacked up on a table at the front of the class. Post a sign above the scripts that says (in Alice and Wonderlandfashion): “Peruse me.” Allow students the first five minutes of class to look at the scripts, then have them put the scripts back in the stacks and sit down. Inform the students they will have more time to peruse later in the lesson.

Step One (4 min):

Review what was learned from the previous two lessons. How do we interpret plays we see?Are there differences in opinion? Whose opinion is ‘right’? What clues help us discern character motives and relationships? How can we give our audiences those clues? How do you think analyzing at a play’s text might be different from analyzing a staged production?

Step Two (6 min)

The students for the remainder of the unit will be working with a 3-6 minute scene from 1900- the present day. No group may have the same play. The play that was watched in class may not be chosen. Inform the students that each page of a script reads approximately one minute in runtime. Help students understand the schedule for the next six class periods by blocking out on the board the day-to-day schedule.

Students will read their chosen scene’s play in entirety aloud.

Before letting students pick scripts, ask them why they think it is important to understand a scene’s entire play in order to enact that scene’s characters (the students should have some experience in wanting to better understand the entire story via their Shakespeare unit).

Step Three (18 minutes)

Let students peruse the scripts seriously, forming their scene partners as they peruse. The students should know the teacher will remain by the stacks of scripts to give suggestions and answer questions. Pause the class a third of the way through the selection process, informing students of the remaining amount of time to select their partners and texts. Pause the class two-thirds of the way through the process to determine who has groups and texts. If students haven’t made choices at this time, assign them groups and texts. As students get into groups, have them read the entire play aloud together.

Step Four: (30 min)

Last time, students dived into the history of a character through questions seven of the Play Report Form. As they read their plays, they should determine their roles and each complete a Given Circumstance worksheet for their character.

Characters may be decided this or next time, but the Given Circumstance worksheet should be completed by the middle of next class.

Pause the students periodically, as they read asking them to create character relationship tableaus for the rest of the class to see, just as they did as they watched the filmed performance. If students do not finish reading their plays, they will have time to do so next class. Scripts may not be checked out.

Step Five: (5 min)

The teacher will make copies of the selected scenes for the students to use in rehearsal. Have the students write down which three to six pages they will be using for their scene and the number of copies they need. Have the students store their play report forms and put the scripts back on the table, cleaning up the classroom.