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Shakespeare Scenes

5: Haiku: Narrative Structure in Scene


Drama 3


Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the narratives structure in their Shakespeare Scenes by creating a 30-second Haiku based on their scene.


• TH:Cr1.1.I.c
o Use script analysis to generate ideas about a character that is believable and authentic in a drama/theatre work.
• TH:Cr3.1.I.a
o Practice and revise a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using theatrical staging conventions.


• White board
• Dry-erase markers
• An open space for the showing of haiku’s and scenes.



Draw the standard narrative structure on the board.

Step 1: Discussion

Have students identify each number:

1. Exposition
a. The beginning that sets the stage for all the action to come after.
2. Rising Action
a. All the obstacles and action that lead to the climax.
3. Climax
a. The highest emotional point of the story.
4. Resolution
a. What happens after the climax, how the world has changed.

Should students not know what the numbers are, fill in the numbers yourself and ensure they understand those four points on the structure. To further ensure students understand each point on the structure, as a class decide each of the four points for a simple fairytale that everyone knows. For instance, if you pick Red Riding Hood:
1. Exposition: Grandmother is sick, Red riding hood is going to visit.
2. Rising action: Little Red finds the wolf, she get’s distracted, she tells the wolf where her grandma lives, etc.
3. Climax: Little Red Riding hood catches the wolf and thwarts his terrible plans to eat his grandmother.
4. Resolution: Little Red Riding hood is reunited with her Grandmother.

This can be completed with any story that the whole class knows. Ensure the students are contributing these answers, and that you are not giving them to them.

Step 2: Instruction

After this discussion, explain to the students that each scene in a play should also have this same structure. Ensure that the students under this concept by breaking a smaller scene down as a class. Explain that if Red Riding Hood were a play, we could take one scene, for instance, the scene where Red Riding Hood enters Grandma’s house, and is eaten by the wolf, and we could identify an exposition, rising action, a climax, and a resolution. Have the class help you identify each of the four points in this smaller scene.
1. Exposition: The house is quiet, Red Riding Hood enters and all seems normal.
2. Rising action: Little Red notices the ears, eyes, and teeth of the wolf.
3. Climax: The wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood.
4. Resolution: The wolf lays back down for a nap, burping as he does so.

After completing this breakdown, ask for clarifying questions and allow the students to work for about 5 minutes. Then explain that we are going to start making our haiku’s.

Step 3: Instructions

Explain to students that they will be boiling down their scene to short little Haikus. In the same way that a Haiku takes big ideas and squished them into a small format, these scene Haikus will take the scene and squish it down to a 30 second representation of their scene. The purpose here is to get a better understanding of the build and structure of the scene. First, they should work with their group mates to identify the four points of the narrative structure, just like we did with Little Red Riding hood. They should write these down on a piece of paper to turn in. Ask for clarifying questions, explain they only have 5 minutes, and then let the students work.

Step 4: Group Practice

Walk around the class, checking with each group. Ensure students stay on task by giving them time updates.

Step 5: Directions/Modeling

Now explain that they are going to take what they’ve written them and translate them into physical haiku’s based on their scenes. Their haiku should cover the exposition, should show rising action, it should climax, and then resolve. They should avoid using any words, though occasionally, if an actor feels the must, they can use only one word. Each point of the narrative structure, should have one complete image Model an example for the students, based on the work you did for Little Red Riding Hood. They will have 5 minutes to accomplish these haikus. They should use their time wisely. Questions? Go!

Let the students work for 5 minutes, and give them time updates along the way. Walk around

Step 6: Haikus

Once students are ready to perform, have each scene perform one right after the other, in quick succession. Applaud each haiku performance. This is an opportunity to see which groups have clearly defined the narrative points of their scenes. Mentally note any group whose haiku does not clearly or accurately reflect those important narrative points.

Step 7: Group Practice

Explain to the students that they now have about 30 minutes to work in their groups on their scenes. Remind them that in two class periods, we will be showing these scenes for previews. Briefly explain to them that they should now have strong tactics, objectives, communication, and vocal colors. They should work today to ensure that they their scenes have strong narrative arc. Their haikus should help them know where they need to focus.

Visit any group whose haiku did not demonstrate adequate understanding and explain to them that their wasn’t a clear definition of those narrative moments. Work with those groups during this work time to re-assess their scene and establish clear narrative points that they can work into their scenes.


The assessment today is the performance of the 30-second Haiku, along with their sheet of paper identifying each point of the narrative structure for their own scene. This assignment is worth 20 points and should accurately demonstrate that students understand where their exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution are.