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Shakespeare Scenes

2: Tactics and Objectives


Drama 3


75 minutes


Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of objective driven acting by incorporating at least three different tactics into their Shakespeare scenes.


• TH:Cr3.1.I
b. Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.
• TH:Pr4.1.I
a. Examine how character relationships assist in telling the story of a drama/theatre work.
• TH:Pr6.1.I
a. Perform a scripted drama/theatre work for a specific audience.


• An open space for play and practice of scenes.
• Tactic’s Hand Out (listed below) - Tactics List
• Car Keys
• White Board
• Dry-erase markers.


• Ensure that an open space is ready and prepared for the activities.


Hook: Ask for a “brave” volunteer. Explain that it’s nothing super scary, but you just need a little help. When you get the volunteer, explain to them and the class that they are going to a short scene with you. Explain that in this scene, you will be their parent, and they are your child. Also explain to the volunteer that in this scene, they want to be able to go to the movies with their friends, but in order to do that, they need to get the car keys to the car from you, their parent. Clear up any questions or confusions. Then begin the scene.

The scene shouldn’t take long, maybe 2 minutes or 3 three minutes, but you should let the scene go until you feel the student has tried many different tactics to try to get the keys. When you feel the scene has ended (because they got the keys or they cannot get the keys or because the scene is tired), break out of character and thank the volunteer with a round of applause. Have the volunteer sit back down.

Step 1:

Instruction/Discussion After the applause, break down the scene by asking the class the following questions:
• What did he/she want? (the car keys)
• How did he/she try to get it? (bribery, black mail, guilt, sucking up, bargaining, begging, screaming, etc.)

Allow the students to analyze the scene, without much of your input. The answers to these questions are fairly intuitive, so the students should get them. Let students spend most of the time reporting what they saw their classmate try in order to get the keys. If you had a good volunteer, there should be a lot to talk about. Once you feel the discussion has run its course, move on to the next step.

Step 2:

Explanation Explain to the students that what we were just talking about are known in acting as Objectives and Tactics. Ask the students if they know, if they can infer what an Objective is? Take a few answers then give them a clear definition:
o Objective: What you want from the other person

Then ask the students to identify the objective of the volunteer in the car key scene. The should be able to identify it, usually with the answer “To get the car keys.” Then explain that when we create and identify objectives for the characters we play in our scenes, we strengthen them by making them go through and for our partner. Ask the students the following questions:
o Why is “going through and for” your partner important in acting? Why should an objective go “through and for” your partner?

Take a few suggestions and explain that it’s important to remember that that watching an actor onstage who doesn’t do or want anything from anyone is BORING. Theatre is exciting because it’s about people trying to do thing, and about people who want things and they want thing from other people. Write the following objective on the board from scene:
o I want you to give me the car keys.

Explain that this is a simple, but strong objective. It’s specific and it goes “through and for” the partner.

Explain that now we have an objective, and then ask the students that they might think the tactics are. Chances are, the will infer what tactics are, but if not take a few ideas, then explain tactics with the following clear definition:
o Tactic: What you try in order achieve your objective

Ask the students to identify some of the tactics from the original scene again, and then continue to the next step.

Step 3:

Group Practice Hand out tactic sheet to the students, and explain that there are countless tactics available to them. Reiterate that in acting, we use action verbs in the form of “to verbs” like “to nail, to attack, to guilt, etc.” because they are ACTIVE and involve the other person. The tactics, when phrased in that way help us to work through and for our partner.

Have the students take a minute or two and scan through the tactics on the sheet. Then have students pick tactics they would like to use in order to get the keys. Have students volunteer to try to get the keys from you. Explain to them that they shouldn’t tell anyone their tactic, but they should just try it. Have the student try their tactic in the car key/parent scene with you, then end the scene when you feel the tactic has been played out. Then ask the class if they could guess which tactic it was from the sheet.

Repeat the scene with as many volunteers as you feel is necessary. Be sure to end each little scene with a round of applause for the volunteer.

Step 4:

Individual Practice After the tactics demonstration, explain that each person in their Shakespeare scene will have a specific objective that they are fighting for and specific tactics. Explain that the students will decide individually on what their objective is. Remind them that the strongest objectives have a clear desire that involves their partner. They should take out a piece of paper, which they will turn in, and on the paper, they will write a strong objective. Then they will write three tactics in the “to” form (to fight, to exploit, to ridicule, etc.) that they can use to try to achieve their objective. Give the students a few moments to work on that, and then explain that they should get into their scenes and try their tactics briefly in their scenes to see how they work. After a few moment, explain that if they’d like to try any others or

As the groups are working, wander between the groups to assess how they are applying the information. Offer suggestions or correction on objectives that are not written strongly, or on tactics that aren’t active verbs in the “to” form.

Step 5:

Group Practice Once students have had time to try their tactics out, explain that they should turn in their sheets with their Objective and tactics. Then explain that they have the rest of the period to finish blocking their scenes, working on memorization or whatever the need. Explain that they will perform these in previews for the first time in five lessons. During this time, move around to as many groups as possible. Stay with a group for 5 or 6 minutes, and help them block or give direction/coaching.


The identification of an Objective and three tactics is the formal assessment for the day. It is worth 20 points. A deduction of 5 points is made for any missing objectives or tactics.