DTA | Shakespeare's Toolkit
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Shakespeare's Toolkit

Created by Todd Espeland

Todd Espeland has the experience to know that having more tools in your toolbox makes you a better actor. This is especially important when teaching students how to approach Shakespeare. They need help breaking through the language barrier and into the character’s needs and into the character’s thoughts.

The tools that you’ll receive in this course will do just that. The course looks at scansion as a tool for breaking down Shakespeare’s verse, the importance of end of lines, and caesura. Caesura is an inner-line pause which is a lot of fun to play with and really, helps us provide insight to the character’s thoughts and into their needs.

The course provides numerous examples and handouts, and culminates in a performance assignment to use with your students.

9 Modules
3 hours, 3 minutes
6 Credit Hours

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction 7:20 FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 1 outlines the course and explains the techniques that will be covered to build the tools to break down Shakespeare's characters and text.
Lesson 2: Warm-Up 9:02 FREE PREVIEW
This lesson teaches a vocal warm-up that gets the lips, teeth, and the tongue prepared for the language of Shakespeare's text.
Lesson 3: Scansion 41:47
This lesson covers scansion: a system of breaking down Shakespeare’s verse in order to understand it, see how it’s arranged, and then look at the arrangements and see how Shakespeare arranged this poetry.
Lesson 4: Scansion with a Sonnet 31:17
This lesson applies the scansion learned in lesson 3 to one of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Lesson 5: Ends of Lines 21:15
This lesson looks at ends of lines in Shakespeare's poetic form, and examines their importance.
Lesson 6: Ends of Lines with the Sonnet 10:58
This lesson reviews the ends of lines learnings and applies them to the ends of lines verse with the sonnet.
Lesson 7: Caesura 31:02
This lesson reviews Caesura: an inner-line pause that Shakespeare has built in for characters to take breath or to create suspense or to have an emotional gear shift.
Lesson 8: Performing Everything 11:58
This lessons applies the scansion, the ends of lines and the caesura to the sonnet, in order to perform.
Lesson 9: Non-Shakespeare Work and Recap 18:31
This lesson recaps the learnings of the course, as well as discusses how these learnings can be applied to non-Shakespeare work.

Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.2.6.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7

TH:Cr3.1.7.a - Demonstrate focus and concentration in the rehearsal process to analyze and refine choices in a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 7

TH:Pr6.1.7.a - Participate in rehearsals for a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 8

TH:Pr6.1.8.a - Perform a rehearsed drama/theatre work for an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr6.1.HSI.a - Perform a scripted drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Cr3.1.HSIII.b - Synthesize ideas from research, script analysis, and context to create a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant in a drama/theatre work.

Common Core

California VAPA Standards (2019)

6.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH:Cn11.2.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

7.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

67TH:Pr6 - Create through improvisation a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

8.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

8.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted scene from a drama/theatre work for an audience.

Prof.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Prof.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted short drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Florida Sunshine State Standards

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts

Tennessee Theatre Curriculum Standards

Tennessee Theatre standards (2018) standards were built using the framework of the NCAS which is built on four key domains: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Connecting, and Responding. Within each of these domains are foundations and standards to support the development of curriculum, programs, and learning.
(source: Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts, Summer 2018)

Please refer to National Core Arts Standards to determine the standard that best suits your needs.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts

HS 117.316 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.D - analyze dramatic structure and genre.

HS 117.316 LII - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.A - analyze historical and cultural influences on theatre.

HS 117.317 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.D - analyze and evaluate dramatic structure and genre.

Alberta, Canada

Theatre Studies Drama 10 (Greek, Medieval or Elizabethan, and Canadian)

1 - recognize theatre has evolved as a traditional art form

2 - recognize innovations in the theatre

Theatre Studies Drama 30 (Early or Middle or Late drama)

4 - recognize dramatic structure of a play

British Columbia (2018)

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Reasoning and reflecting

Receive, offer, and apply constructive feedback

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Communicating and documenting

Compose, interpret, and expand ideas using symbolism, imagery, and elements

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Connecting and expanding

Demonstrate respect for themselves, others, and the audience

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Explore and Create

Develop performance skills in a variety of contexts

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Communicate and document

Compose, interpret, and expand ideas using symbolism and imagery

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Examine the impacts of dramatic works on culture and society

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