Unit Plan: uc- medieval Theatre teacher: Sandra McLean Keywords

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Unit Plan: UC- Medieval Theatre

TEACHER: Sandra McLean

Keywords:Drama in education, Miracle and morality plays, Religious drama



5-7 weeks

Drama'>Achievement Objectives Being Assessed

Learning Outcomes

Understanding Drama in Context

Students will:

· Level 5: investigate the characteristics, purposes, and function of drama in a range of contexts.

Developing Practical Knowledge in Drama

Students will:

· Level 5: select and use techniques, conventions, and relevant technologies for specific drama purposes.

Developing Ideas in Drama

Students will:

· Level 5: select and refine ideas to develop drama for specific purposes.

Communicating and Interpreting in Drama

Students will:

· Level 5: present and respond to drama and describe how drama combines elements, techniques, conventions, and technologies to create structure and meaning in their own and others' work.


Our vision is for young people:

who will be creative, energetic, and enterprising

who, in their school years, will continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners


The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:


using language, symbols, and texts
managing self
relating to others
participating and contributing.


Using language, symbols, and texts
Managing self
Relating to others
Participating and contributing


Why is Drama a powerful delivery method of information/ beliefs/ morals/messages? How does it do this?
What are some of the parallels between Medieval Theatre and Theatre in Ed (Children's Theatre) today? Why is it a popular method with children?


Teaching and Learning Experiences

Ongoing Assessment Approaches

Page 22- interesting facts- students can get into different groups and jigsaw this- deliver the info using a fun skit- aim is to get to grips with what the Middle Ages were like. Can use any other fun facts.
Intro to topic-
Churches banned performances, until reintroduced through 4 line performance- have used lines off the Quem Quaeritis- pg 29- get students to perform 4 lines in Latin/ gibberish, but need to convey essence of message to an audience which is trying to read body language- can be fun intro, as difficult to get info and often lapses into entertainment or stock characters ie angels flapping wings.
Introduce theatre history in chunks-
ie what do you think happened once these plays were introduced into performances? bigger crowds/ Church attendance, so move first to steps, then markets- still religious in content, but priests losing their stronghold over performances, as people take over.
Once moved to market place, style of performance becomes more loose/ entertainment value increases. Can team with pg 27 practical exercise, where groups in class have to keep attention of audience- see challenge here, as spoilt for choice, so why would half the class watch that group and not move on.
Shorty discussion of differences between mystery, morality
Can give students a taste of the structure of a morality play by getting 2 capable readers/actors to perform Everyman segment on page 29. Note language is heightened and moral is very explicit- can signal that in rest of this play there are various other personifications- a popular device at this time.
Example of Mystery play can use Lost Son- clear moral- still Biblical, but aim here can be to make this entertaining to an audience. Once students know story, can divide up into different groups:
a. Son wants inheritance- has attitude- thinks he knows it all
b. Son has money- parties it up
c. Son loses 'friends' when run out of money
d. Son finds a job working for pig farmer- realises he was better off at home
e. Son returns home- gets unexpected welcome. Older brother resents this.
OR get students to cover all areas, but still make message at the end clear- that his dad will always love him, no matter what the botch up was.
Also, get them to understand the FEATURES of the form- ie some actor audience participation could include the Lost Son asking various audience members if they had a job for him and pleading for anything. For Staging, students are reminded that their acting space could be quite confined and that there is no huge backstage area, for characterisation see list on page 31.
Perhaps also point out the self- assessment page before doing this segment- this is a good indicator of what is to come with children's theatre- if scenes are too short and exercise already too cluttered, leave this part out.
Page 23- get students to do a fact finding mission, where they consolidate all info by filling in blanks- these are randomly distributed throughout the room so they have to find answers scattered around walls ( in resource folder under year 10)- each answer has some letters underneath and this spells out a sentence- also avail under s drive Year 10, Medieval Theatre.
Would not spend more than 2 weeks on this, as students will soon get sense of moral based stories, personifications, rudimentary technologies and clear plot lines that have entertainment value and are audience - centred.
For Children's Theatre, the FEATURES overlap. Continue to reinforce this term as it is also used with NCEA and consistency across levels makes it easier for students.
I would continue to draw parallels between medieval theatre and children's theatre model- recapping personifications and stock characters in MT ( devil, angel, death, good deeds)- get students to think of the types of characters evident in CT( villain, sidekick, hero, nerd/ geek, clumsy/dumb but loveable character, fairytale character, animal or insect that can talk, group of characters such as gummy bears etc.
i would then work through a coupld of the main 'types' and get students into pairs or individually to introduce their character to class in a line up format and what they do/ their super powers- big energy and fun names and larger than life physicality ie for villain and sidekick, they might run onto stage and say " I am the Magnificent, Mighty Monte Carlo and this is my trusty sidekick Bob. We are going to take over the world by freezing everyone on the spot. Watch and learn how I do this with Bob" clicks and he freezes, clicks and he unfreezes. Anything goes and you may even get everyone to walk around the space as villains, then sidekicks etc developing an evil laugh a clear gait and also some sort of ugly facial expression directed at the audience. Encourage those in the audience to also respond with boos and hisses or any other cues given.
After working through a range of stock types, introduce ways to maximise actor audience relationship- how do Children's Theatre models get audience's involved? Get students to respond to this and think first before offering suggestions.
Again, in small groups, get students to trial the following on the audience:
- getting the audience to repeat a spell/ a rhyme, call out when they see danger approaching, give directions, answer direct questions, get up and volunteer to help with something, do a specific set of movement, claps etc etcetc- You may wish to display these discoveries so that students can revisit these when going over their assessment performance.
Note also the big no no's in terms of responsibilities- as students will very likely perform this to a live audience of pre-scholars, the teacher needs to set clear guidelines- the teacher may even wish to ask the pre-school what topic they are currently interested in so that themes overlap with their needs. LHS students have a responsibility to be:
-factually correct, where applicable- ie proper emergency number if dialling for hospital
- appropriate in language
- not be condescending- 'children'- but rather use 'boys and girls'
- to ensure that all action/ posters etc on stage are appropriate for age group and any behaviour from LHS students can be copied by parents
- to make the message a fun experience, rather than seeing it as silly/ juvenile- ie sharing is caring etc
Brainstorm any other areas that could be potentially problematic
Remind students also that they are being assessed on the Features of the form and that they need to make deliberate choices as given on page 38-39. Students are encouraged to use a checklist as given on page 40.
I would recommend one run through with the class as the pilot audience, encouraging responses only where the actors draw these out or pretrain audience to do so.

Summative Assessment

Children's Theatre performance in front of pre-school.




New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars

· The Arts Exemplars

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