Counter text


Students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept of counter text by selecting a counter text to go with Romeo and Juliet



Materials Needed

One copy of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Philip Glass music selection



Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook
Read the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs out loud to the class.




Step One: Discuss with the class what counter text is and how it adds to a play. Write Counter Text on the board followed with the definition: A text directly or indirectly related to the play that affects the way the production company uses their text. Often the counter text is never made known to the audience, but is for the benefit of the production team as it makes the play their own and can flesh the text out really well.


Step Two: Talk about the book we read and how we might use it as a production company in a performance of the Three Little Pigs. Make sure the students understand that they cannot rewrite the script- they must stick to the original story of the three little pigs as the script.


Step Three: Go through the plot of Romeo and Juliet, discuss some texts that might feed into our understanding of the theme in Shakespeare’s play such as psychology books, other books, plays, films, documentaries, and even music. Talk about opposites and how they can pull together to create depth in a production.


Step Four: Play a clip from Philip Glass’s modern music to the students. Ask them how they would feel if this was playing in the background of Romeo and Juliet, how would it change the play without ever having to change the way it was being performed on stage?


Step Five: Pack up and head to the library (yes! Again!) Once there ask them to get in groups of 3-4 and pick a counter text for Romeo and Juliet- they can use one from their knowledge or they can search for one in the library- they have 25 minutes to do this.


Step Six: Gather everyone together and ask every group to share the counter text they picked and why they chose that text and how they think it would affect their production of Romeo and Juliet.


Step Seven: Thank students for their willingness to learn something kind of hard to get a logical grasp on. Ask them to continue to think about Romeo and Juliet because we will use the play again within the next few days.




By picking out their own counter text and sharing how they thought it could help in a production of Romeo and Juliet, they should demonstrate their understanding of this concept. The grade should be based on the level of creativity (50%) and the ability to explain how it will work in the production setting (50%). Explain this to students before sending them off to work.