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Ancient Greek Theatre

Lesson 1: Ancient Greek Theatre

Essential Questions:

Where has civilization as we know it stemmed from? How can learning theatre history help me be a better theatre practitioner/observer? What do I already know about theatre history and how?

Lesson Objective:

Students will have a basic knowledge of Ancient Greece and the origins of theatre by taking notes on the presentation and video.

Supplies Needed:

white board and markers, projector, computer, Ancient Greece PowerPoint Presentation Lesson 1.Ancient Greece PowerPoint, Greek Theatre video

Hook (5-10 min):

Write Ancient Greece on the board and as students are coming in hand them a marker to write what they think of when they hear/say ancient Greece.

Transition (1 min):

I hope you all enjoyed learning about Shakespeare and will continue to learn more as you continue your work in theatre as he is such a prevalent figure in Theatre history but we are now going to go a little further in time to what is considered the beginning of theatre and that is Greek Theatre. Let’s go through some of the things that you all put on the board. What do you mean by this? How do you know about this? We are now going to learn MORE.

Activity 2 (8-10 min):

I’m now going to go through a presentation to give you a BASIC understanding of Ancient Greece politically and socially before we get into the play. Please take notes as you will be quizzed on these facts. Also ask questions or offer insight that you may have.

Activity 3 (10 min and 30 sec.):

Show video on origins of Greek theatre and make sure they are taking notes.

Activity 4 (30 min-40 min):

We are going to work on a tableau, do you guys know what a tableau is? It is a frozen image with your body, as if you were “painting a picture” using your body. I am going to put you into groups of 3-4 and assign you one of the elements talked about in the video for greek comedy and tragedy: hubris, Moral, Lampoon, and Reducto ad absurdum. You will then create a tableau to show what these elements mean. Be creative and make sure to use all your classmates.
Give the class a few min to prepare what they will be presenting. Once everyone is ready have them “perform” for the group. Set it up so when they are ready we say “1-2-3 Action” and they freeze in their pose. Explain that while they are frozen you will be going around and making comments about their tableau so hold until you say “CUT.” Have the class make comments on what/why they think the group chose the pose they did and how the explains the element. Have the groups with the same element perform back to back so we can get a feel for similarities and differences.

Activity 5 (5-8 min):

Now that we have spent some time learning about Ancient Greece what are some things you might want to add to the board.

Discuss the changes or lack of changes. Tell them that as we continue on with our unit on Greek theatre they can use this as a visual for their knowledge.

Conclusion (1-2 min):

As we continue to move on through theatre history I hope you are seeing ways in which these different theatre periods have influenced theatre today. Continue to make that a focus through this unit and others as we will return to this idea. Also, bring your textbook to class next period.