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Script Analysis And Scene Work

Script Analyzation- Plot Structure & Given Circumstances

Lesson 1: Script Analyzation- Plot Structure & Given Circumstances


Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to recognize plot structures and given circumstances by reading a 10 minute play and presenting the plot structure and given circumstances to the class.


Materials: Antigone Cutting copies,Lesson 1.Antigone Cutting

Given Circumstances sheets Lesson 1.Given Circumstances Worksheet


Preparation: Print all the things.


Pre-Assessment/Starter: Write on the board, “What steps should an actor take in preparing for a role? (Start from the moment they get the script to when they perform)”

Allow the students to discuss their answers. Have a student write down on the board different things that students say. After each student expresses their answer, ask the other students to raise their hand if they wrote down something similar. The students have not yet had much interaction with scripts, so don’t expect much. If they mention the following words, they are probably above average:

  • Objectives
  • Tactics
  • Given Circumstances
  • Background Story
  • Emotional/Sensory Memory
  • Blocking

If a lot of students wrote down these things, then you may need to do another pre-assessment to see how fully they understand these things, and adjust curriculum accordingly.

Circle key terms, like the ones listed above.



We’ll be starting a new unit today. We are going to be working up to doing scene work! In this unit, your final assessment will be two part. First, you’ll perform a scene with a partner or partners. Next, each of you will turn in a short script analysis, as well as your marked and annotated scripts. Next class we’ll discuss the requirements of this more.

In this unit, we’ll be trying answering the starter question every single day. Today, we are going to start by discussing script analysis. Script analysis should be the first step an actor should take after they get their scripts.


Instruction 1: Plot structure

Let’s review plot structure again. Can someone write the plot structure on the board?

Get a volunteer to do this, then have the class check it. Then discuss:

  • Why is knowing the plot structure important to you as an actor?
    • It can help you with the tempo of the performance, the tension, and can help you figure out your objectives.

Let’s try an example!


Activity 1: Reader’s Theatre

Step 1: Hand out copies of the Antigone cutting. Explain that we are going to read a short excerpt from a scene and then analyze it. Explain the story surrounding this scene. Then ask for two volunteers to be Antigone and Ismene, and do the readers theatre.

Step 2: Now, have the students work with the person sitting to their left to outline the plot structure of this scene.

Step 3: Have a student volunteer to share their plot structure results with the class. Ask:

  1. How would knowing this structure influence the acting in the scene?



There is so much you can glean from the text to help you as an actor understand the character. We are going to finish class by studying the given circumstances.

  1. What do you think given circumstances are?
    1. The specific conditions in which the action of the play occurs. They are silent, invisible, yet potent forces. They are the specifics of the background of your character.


Activity 2: Given Circumstances

Step 1: Have the students get into groups of three. Give them a copy of the script analysis sheet. Explain that the students should get into groups of two. In those groups they need to find the given circumstances of each of the characters in the scene. It might be easier if one partner focuses on only one character. As they do this worksheet, go around and answer questions.

Step 2: Have the students turn in their papers before the bell rings.


Conclusion: Turn in your paper if you haven’t yet. Explain that they will need to do the exact same thing for their own script analysis, but when they do, they will only need to focus on the character they are playing.