Character Analysis

Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their abilities to analyze a script by completing a Character Analysis Worksheet.


Materials needed:

• Anonymous script (see insert)
• Character analysis sheets  – Character Analysis Sheet
• Access to a computer lab
Facets of Understanding:
• Explanation
• Application


Enduring Understandings:

• Importance of character history
• Analysis


Essential Questions:

• How does the larger picture effect the individual moments?
• How do you use research and analysis to support decisions being made?


Hook: (15 minutes)

Ask for a volunteer to perform an anonymous monologue. The script is below:
ELIZABETH: Okay everybody. This … is church. This is God’s house. If you ever want to talk to Him, you just come in here and sit in one of those long chairs and start talking. But not too loud. Or else you might wake up one of those statues. And they are praying to Jesus. (Bows head) Oh! I forgot to tell you. Whenever you hear the name Jesus (Bows head) you have to bow your head or else you have a sin on your soul. Now, over there is the statue of Jesus’ (bows head) mother. Her name is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is not as important as Jesus (bows head) so you don’t have to bow your head when you hear her name. Over there is the statue of Jesus’ (bows head) father. Hey, (points at small child) you didn’t bow your head. Don’t do that cause you’ll get a black spot on your soul!
Have the actor perform it once for warm-up and then perhaps a second time. Once actors feel comfortable, give them a character description sheet, and have them study them for a moment while you talk about their performance with the rest of the class. Ask the class who they though the characters were. Have the actors perform it two more times, this time considering their character description sheets (below):
You are an eight year old who is VERY serious about her religion. She is soft spoken until someone doesn’t bow their head for Jesus.
You are an extremely terse and strict nun. There is NO nonsense when you are around. You take your religion to the extreme and have NO tolerance for those who don’t understand your beliefs.


Step 1 – Discussion: (5 minutes)

How did their performance change? What subtext could the audience see played out? How did the actor(s) feel as they were playing? Were their physicalities different? How can character background effect physicality? Which performance was more engaging? Why? Guide students towards an understanding of the importance of character analysis and understanding.


Step 2 – Practice: (30 minutes)

Tell students that you will be going to the computer lab. Tell students that they are to look up the play that their scene is from and to find out all they can about their character in order to answer the questions on the Character Analysis Worksheet. Students will only have a half hour to complete this assignment, so tell them to be sure and stay on task. Take students down to the computer lab and side coach them while they are completing this assignment.


Step 3 – Rehearsal: (20 minutes)

Take students back to the classroom. Tell them they have the rest of class to rehearse their scenes integrating the information they have just learned about their characters. Encourage them to use their character’s backgrounds to inform the way a line is delivered, or even the way a character moves or talks.


Final Assessment for Lesson 2: (20 points – formal paper due in class)

Character analysis paper