Rehearsing With Famous Playwrights


Intro to Playwrights



Grade Level:

10-12 grade, 77 minutes



National Standards:

Content Standard #2:

Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining characters in improvisations and informal or formal productions


Content Standard #4:

Directing by interpreting dramatic texts and organizing and conducting rehearsals for informal or formal productions


Content Standard #7:

Analyzing, critiquing, and constructing meanings from informal and formal theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions


Content Standard #8:

Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the past and the present



Materials Needed:

The students will need to have their scripts



Learning Objective:

Students will contextualize what they’ve learned about their playwrights by performing a scene from one of their most famous works. While students rehearse and perform their scenes they’ll think about their connection to the work, and analyze why it’s “good work,” and why it became so famous.



Teaching Presentation:

Hook (5 minutes):

Remind students that we’ll begin the presentations+performances next class period and that for full points the scene has to be memorized. All group members will receive the same grade, so at least one person from each group needs to have the assignment description/rubric. Remember that your group is in charge of cutting the scene. The presentation+performance shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes.

Additionally, remind students that you’ll be coming around to observe each group as they rehearse. If the gender of a character has been changed they’ll need to justify the choice, and explain how it changes the meaning of the scene. And remind them that while they rehearse they should be thinking about why the play is considered “good work,” and why it’s a member of the dramatic canon. Why was the play important at its production, and why is it important now? (Students should think about how this might apply to several plays if there are several of the playwright’s plays that are historically/culturally influential.) What does their genre and style say about the time period?



Activity 1 (70 minutes):

Have the students break up into their groups and begin rehearsing. Move from group to group every 5-6 minutes to monitor the groups’ progress. Ask them to defend their choices if they’re changing the gender of a character. Help them with any problems they may be encountering, and make sure they’re thinking about the questions posed to them at the end of the hook.

Ask students to work up until the end of the class period. There’s no reason for them to finish early. If they feel prepared for their performance they can rehearse their presentations.