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Discovering a New Story: Setting/Technical Design


Author: Melissa Longhurst

Objective:Students will demonstrate their understanding of design choices that support a story by creating a design idea in groups for this tangled clip and responding to others ideas.


Theatre Standard:

  • TH:Cr.1.1.5. b. Propose design ideas that support the story and given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Re9.1.5. b. Assess how technical elements represent the theme of a drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Re7.1.5. a. Explain personal reactions to artistic choices made in a drama/theatre work through participation and observation.

Materials:  Tangled Scene

Lesson Plan:

HOOK: Find your own space in the room & close your eyes

“… imagine you are alone in an old, abandoned house in the dead of night. The wind rustles the trees outside, which lightly tap against the creaking house. With this setting, what type of actions would you expect to occur? Perhaps a ghost will appear, or a murderer will attack. These are examples of plots that might occur in this particular setting.

On the other hand, imagine you visit a crowded shopping mall. People push past you and salesmen entice customers with deals. A group of kids hangs out at the fountain, laughing and joking around. What type of actions do you expect to happen in this setting? Would you expect a ghost to jump out at you here? Definitely not!”


  • What makes up a setting?
    • Place is the location
    • Time is when the story takes place
    • Social situation is the cultural environment
  • Ex: New York City, Summer of 1932, midst the great depression
  • Do you know the story of Tangled?
    • Who are some of the characters?
    • What settings are in tangled?
      • What kind of sounds are in these locations? – we’ll use those later


  • In a moment we will stand up and walk around the room and you will show me characteristics of characters with your body. Once I see your character, we will add a location to the character and see how it affects your physicality.
  • Depending on the class—could have everyone explore Rapunzel and then Flynn Ryder, or have the boys do Flynn and the girls do Rapunzel. Start with the horse
    • Maximus
      • Palace/Castle (proper)
      • In forest (searching, fooling around with Flynn)
      • Tavern?
    • Rapunzel
      • In her tower
      • Outside-
      • City
      • Tavern
      • On water
    • Flynn Ryder
      • Castle (hiding?)
      • Forest
      • Rapunzel’s tower
      • City (with Rapunzel)
    • Can also explore Paskel, Gothel (Mother), Big nose thug/Stabbington brothers
  • Can ask questions to actors:
    • How do you feel?


  • What changed when your character was in a different setting?
    • Urgency? Comfort? Posture?
  • Was it hard to know how to respond without a specific scene in mind?
    • This is why the setting and script go hand in hand- changing the atmosphere helps change the mood if you know the objective or outcome you want to receive.


  • Get in groups of four people
    • Two people will mold the shapes of the pictures they’re creating, 2 people actors/statues
    • Before you go:
      • If you are an actor/stature- stay at a neutral shape and let them mold your arms and legs and they can give you suggestions of what emotion or how to change your face to the right facial expression
      • If you are the artist and molding the actors- remember to ask permission to touch them, and gently move their body into different shapes, work with your partner
    • Make an image of a relationship with two characters and their environment. Although you can’t use blocks or furniture to build a set, try to find ways through physicality, gaze, and actions.
    • OPTIONAL: hand out slips of paper with specific characters and a location. (from Tangled)


  • Remember what pose/picture you are in, and you can all relax.
  • What location do you think they’re in?
  • Now as we watch the other groups present their still images, as the audience we will come up with a caption (slogans, titles, verbal encapsulations) of what’s being presented visually
    • Anchor caption
    • Relay caption
    • Riddle caption
  • Discussion about captions and how they can tell location and characters from the frozen images? What physicality shows that? Simple costume? Props?
  • What questions do you have for the characters?


  • Create a short scene from the picture that is frozen.
  • What can you use to show/hear the location/setting? What would you do on a larger scale (for a production)? Create a 30 sec to 1-minute improvised scene with the other two students who were actors helping to create set, and sound scape
  • In your scene try to answer some of the questions we asked or you’re wondering about
  • Don’t just take a scene from a movie


  • What can you do when putting on a show? What can you change? What do you have the liberty to make your own? What do you need to keep?
    • Regular scripts/show
      • Keep: script, songs, characters
      • Change: setting (partially depending on if the script refers to it), sound, lights, projections
    • Are you devising? Adapting? Etc?