Course: Introduction to Drama and Theatre



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Section One: Course Plan

1. Overview

Course: Introduction to Drama and Theatre

Grade level: 9-12

Course Description/Rationale

This course is designed as an introductory class for high school level students looking to become involved in theatre. This class is necessary if students wish to take any of the higher level drama classes and will prepare them for said classes. 

In this course students will be required to read and interpret various texts, and types of texts. Most of the reading we will do will be scripts, however there are some short satires near the end of the course. Getting students acclimated to the text is only part of what this course will achieve. There will also be many forms of performance. Students will, nearly daily, be working on monologues and group scenes. Through these scenes we will explore various nuances of acting, from characterization, to blocking, and exchange of energy. 

This course will give students the opportunity to showcase their work at the end of the semester in front of a larger audience of their family and friends in  a large culminating activity. 

This course also includes a unit that separates it from most introductory classes. There is a unit dedicated to students creating a fictional theatre company, so that they can see all of the other things that go into putting on a performance. This unit is especially important because it will give students who want to be involved, but not in an acting role, a chance to see all of the other options available in the field. 
Students will be interacting with each other on a daily basis working on various projects, thus forming strong bonds. These interpersonal communications go beyond the scope of this class and help students develop their communication skills for life. By studying acting, one learns more about human nature than nearly any other field. And the key to understanding human nature is to understand how they communicate.

2. Standards Addressed in this course.

ART.T.I.HS.2 Communicate directorial choices to a small ensemble for 

 improvised or scripted scenes



ART.T.II.HS.1 Construct imaginative scripts and collaborate with actors to 

 refine scripts so that story and meaning are conveyed to 



an audience.

ART.T.II.HS.2 Individually and in ensemble, create and sustain characters 

that communicate with audiences.

ART.T.II.HS.5 Design stage management, promotional, and business 

plans.

ART.T.III.HS.1 Analyze the physical, emotional, and social dimensions of 

 characters found in dramatic texts from various genre and 



media.

ART.T.III.HS.3 Analyze a variety of dramatic texts from cultural and 

historical perspectives to determine production 

requirements.

ART.T.III.HS.6 Articulate and justify personal aesthetic criteria for 

critiquing dramatic texts and events that compare 

perceived artistic intent with the final aesthetic 

achievement.

ART.T.III.HS.7 Identify and research cultural, historical, and symbolic 

clues in dramatic texts, and evaluate the validity and 

practicality of the information to assist in making artistic 

choices for informal and formal productions.

ART.T.III.HS.9 Evaluate personal and others’ collaborative efforts and 

artistic choices in informal and formal productions

ART.T.IV.HS.1 Construct social meanings from informal and formal 

productions and from dramatic performances from a 

variety of cultures and historical periods, and relate to 

current personal, national, and international issues.

ART.T.IV.HS.5 Analyze the effect of personal cultural experiences on their 

 dramatic work.



ART.T.V.HS.3 Integrate several arts and media in informal presentations.
3. Unit Layout – Content Areas

  • Ice breakers and Group building activities

Characterization

Improvisation

Directing

Shakespearean Theatre

American Theatre (Our Town)

Theatre Company Design

Satire in Theatre
4. Assessment Plan – Overall Summative Assessment
This course includes some written assessment, as well as performance assessment. The written assessment is mainly derived from the Shakespeare unit. The multiple answer question format will be used to ascertain the students grasp of the content.

For the assessments of performance, the students will be given the following rubric. Not all categories will be used for every assignment. This is simply a general rubric.

5. Weekly Schedule (See next page)

6. Resources Needed

Class set of the following plays: Macbeth, Runaways, Macbird, Tartuffe, Our Town

Colored pencils

Paper

Computer Lab



Section Two- Unit Plans
1. Content Description

Introductory Unit-

Icebreakers and group building activities for two days. These are integral in getting students comfortable in the classroom, and with each other. We will be doing things like the human knot, tape ball, clump, iceberg, and finishing off the two days with trust falls.

One minute Performance. This builds on the lessons from the days prior. Students are now comfortable with each other, and need to be comfortable in front of eachother. These short monologues can be anything from short stand-up bits, to personal stories. The only requirement is that it be done with enthusiasm, and memorized.

Stage directions, dos and don'ts. This lesson will be a direct lesson where I take the students on a tour of the theatre, showing them all of the different things that are available to them. I will also take this time to explain stage directions. The dos and don'ts section will be basic things like finding your light, projection, memorization, and blocking.

Review and quiz. We will play Stage tic-tac-toe. Students will answer questons about the theater itself, and the dos and don'ts. When they get a queston right, they will get to place an x or an o on stage in one of the nine areas (UL, UC, UR, CL, C, CR, DL, DC, DR). There will then be a short written quiz with the information from the review.

Runaways Unit-

Characterization Direct lesson. This lesson will look at different elements of characterization such as voice, body, age, etc. There will be various pictures of people, and selection of texts from which students will have to, as a class, develop believable characters.

Runaways monologues. Students will have two days in class to choose and rehearse their monologues with myself and their classmates. The critiques should focus on the characterization.

Character interviews. Students will use the characters they have developed for their monologues and will be asked questions by the class. The actors will need to stay in character the whole time and answer the questions as best they can. Students will need to fill in a lot of information about their characters because they only have a little bit of information to go off of.

Performance. Students are given three days. Averaging 3 minutes for the performance, and some time between, it will take roughly 3 class periods of 50 minutes to get through them. Students will be graded via the rubric that they were given on the first day of class.

Improvisation Unit-

Introduction to Improvisation. Students will get a very brief crash course in improv. We will look at the history of improvisation and where it is today, looking at clips from the internet.

Listening to your partner. This activity is designed with active listening in mind. The main point of it is to get actors not only acting on their own, but with a partner. Not simply saying lines when it is their turn to speak. They need to react to what their partner says.

Yes and, and uncle Vanya. These improvisation activities practice students ability to think on the fly. Yes and, looks at the students ability to roll with a scene. Uncle Vanya is a jibberish game that takes from yesterdays lesson about listening to your partner.

Actors Freeze and Customer Service. More improvisation activities aimed at keeping students in the scene and listening to their partners.

Directorial Unit-

Students are given a large amount of class time to work in these scenes because everyone is directing one. There are groups of three, two actors and one director. So everyone directs once, and acts twice. So when you look at it, the 5 days of in class time is less than two days per scene. I will be meeting with directors one on one at this time to see where they are at, and help them give directions.

Shakespeare Unit-

Introduction to Shakespeare. Direct lesson. Students will be given biographical and historical information about Shakespeare's life and writing style.

Macbeth lessons. We will be reading through Macbeth as a class getting through one act a day. We will be using the readers theater method so students will be more engaged. There will also be constant checks for understanding as we read.

Macbeth monologues. Students will have their choice of a few monologues from Macbeth. The focus for this monologue is on the language itself and giving students a chance to graple with it themselves.

Macbeth quiz is attached.

Our Town Unit-

Our town will be read in the same style that Macbeth was read. This should take roughly two class periods. Students will then be working on a scene from the play.

Energy Exchange lesson. This lesson is the bulk of what will be taught acting wise for this unit. Students have already learned that they need to listen to their partner with their ears, but they have not yet been taught to listen to their partner with their body. The exercises in this lesson will allow students get become more in tune with the energy that their partner is giving off, thus producing a better quality of interaction in the scene.

Production Company Unit-

Day 1:the end goal of the project. Each day students will be working on different parts of the project and it will all com together at the end. Students will be placed into groups of 3-4. We will go over the two major types of theatre companies via notes from the board. Students will then have to decide which of the two they would prefer their group to be. This must be done first because it will affect how the roles in the group are divided. The groups will then come up with a name, slogan, and logo, and spend the rest of class working on it.

Day 2: class by having each group present their company. They will tell the class who is doing what role in their company, and what type of company it is. Once all of the groups have presented, we will get a start on the next portion of the project. Now that the students have a bit of an idea of what direction they want to take their company, they will need to choose a location. The remainder of class today will go to explaining the work they will be doing on day 3, in the computer as a group. The first thing the students need to do is decide what their desired audience is. Once that has been decided they will be looking for reel estate anywhere in the country that fits the qualifications. The students could choose to start their company in a place that already has an established theatre community, or they could try and promote their company in an area that is devoid of theatre.

Day 3:Lab day. Students will have this time to work in their groups to find a suitable location. Once they have found the city they will be starting their company in, they will need to do some basic demographic research about it to determine if it really is what they need. They will need to look at population, population of surrounding areas, socioeconomic status, relative age of the town, geographic conditions, etc.

Day 4: a play. Students will be looking for a play to produce as their opening show. It can be a musical or straight show. There are no limitations. However, students must think of how their desired audience will perceive the show (is it likely that a middle class city in the mid-west would embrace absurdest theatre). Each student will turn in a two page paper including a brief plot summary, and the rationale why the play was chosen. This paper will be due with the final presentations.

Day 5: and production calendar. Groups will set up a calendar with dates and times for the following events: auditions, production meetings, rehearsals, shop work days, performances, tech week, hell week, and strike. The rehearsal process will have 6 weeks allocated to it. If the company is more of a community theatre the rehearsals should be in the evening. If it is a professional, full time company the rehearsals should be during the day.

Day 6: . Students will create advertisements for auditions and fliers for the show itself. Students will record a radio add for the show. Tape recorders will be supplied. Scripts need to be approved by the teacher. Colored pencils will be provided as well as paper.

Day 7:Ticket Sales and budget. Groups will set up a budget. They have $5,000 dollars to start. They will allocate money for paying their actors, paying for rent of the building, rites to the , and building materials. Each group will then figure out how many seats there are in the house and set ticket prices. Groups will figure that each show will fill half of the audience and will need to make sure that with all of the costs associated with the production that some profit is made. The socioeconomic status of the audience should also be factored in, IE what the audience would be willing to pay for a ticket to the show. Finally, will tickets be sold ahead of time or only at the door? If they are sold ahead of time, how will that be done?

Day 8: Tying up loose ends. This day is set up to finish anything the groups need to finish. They will be allowed to go into the computer lab to finish anything they need to do on the computers, and I will be available to help them with anything they need.

Day 9-10: of full projects. Each group will present their company. They will play their radio advertisement for their show, give a look at their production calendar, explain what their intended audience is, what kind of company they are running, go over their budget, and finally why they chose the play they did and provide a brief plot summary.

Satire Unit-

Introduction to Satire. Discuss the difference between satire and parody. Give definitions for both using hand out. Use open scenes for the class to create satirical situations and scenes, giving students the opportunity to act them out.

The Greats of Satire. Look at some of the great satires from the ages. Brief excerpts from A Modest Proposal, Harrison Bergeron, The Metamorphosis, and a synopsis of 1984.

The Satires of Juvenal. Students will be given different color task cards depending on reading level. Students will have no way of knowing what the different cards actually mean. Each card has a different satire assigned to it, and various assignments with a varrying level of difficulty. However different in difficulty the assignments are, they all achieve the same levels of cognitive thought. ( I have the cards actually made up if you would like to see them). For example, the below reading level card requires students to find examples from the modern word to make a collage that illustrates the ideas portrayed in the satire, while the above grade level students have to write a scene that embodies the satire.

Intro to Modern Political Satire. Students will, as a class, create meaning for old politcal cartoons. Students will then be required to explain their reasoning why or why not each perceived meaning works.

Satire in Cartoons. Students will be broken into groups and we will look at political cartoons. Each group will be responsible for a cartoon and have a short amount of time to come up with the who, what, when, where, and why about each cartoon and then have to give a short presentation on their cartoon.

Macbird. We will be reading the play Macbird in class. Students will look at this as a parody of Macbeth and a satire of the Kennedy assassination. Students will also be comparing modern satire to that of Juvenal.

Tartuffe'd. Lesson on religious satire. We will be reading Tartuffe as a class. Once the play is read, students will be broken into groups and given an element of literature. Students will then have to find a short scene from the play that illustrates their element and prepare their scene, and explain how it is an example of their element.

Final. Students will be putting on an after school comedy show called Satireday Night Live. The students can choose to work alone and perform a monologue or work in groups and do scenes. Students can write their own scenes (they will have to be approved), or choose ones that are satirical in nature. These will be their final scenes for the class, and graded following the rubric.

2. Standards

ART.T.I.HS.2 Communicate directorial choices to a small ensemble for 

 improvised or scripted scenes



ART.T.II.HS.1 Construct imaginative scripts and collaborate with actors to 

 refine scripts so that story and meaning are conveyed to 



an audience.

ART.T.II.HS.2 Individually and in ensemble, create and sustain characters 

that communicate with audiences.

ART.T.II.HS.5 Design stage management, promotional, and business 

plans.

ART.T.III.HS.1 Analyze the physical, emotional, and social dimensions of 

 characters found in dramatic texts from various genre and 



media.

ART.T.III.HS.3 Analyze a variety of dramatic texts from cultural and 

historical perspectives to determine production 

requirements.

ART.T.III.HS.6 Articulate and justify personal aesthetic criteria for 

critiquing dramatic texts and events that compare 

perceived artistic intent with the final aesthetic 

achievement.

ART.T.III.HS.7 Identify and research cultural, historical, and symbolic 

clues in dramatic texts, and evaluate the validity and 

practicality of the information to assist in making artistic 

choices for informal and formal productions.

ART.T.III.HS.9 Evaluate personal and others’ collaborative efforts and 

artistic choices in informal and formal productions

ART.T.IV.HS.1 Construct social meanings from informal and formal 

productions and from dramatic performances from a 

variety of cultures and historical periods, and relate to 

current personal, national, and international issues.

ART.T.IV.HS.5 Analyze the effect of personal cultural experiences on their 

 dramatic work.



ART.T.V.HS.3 Integrate several arts and media in informal presentations.

3. Lesson Plan 1 (Revised lesson in section 2.6)




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