LESSON PLAN

Analyzing a Play Through Socratic Seminar

by Annie Dragoo

In this two-part lesson, students will analyze a script using a specific method and practical critical thinking skills.

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LESSON PLAN

Applying Analysis to Performance

by Karen Loftus

This session reviews what students have learned about script analysis, and applies it to an open scene exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Characters in a Scene

by Karen Loftus

This session uses a two-character scene to find facts and inferences about a character.

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LESSON PLAN

Close Reading: 21st Century Issue Play

by Lindsay Price

Close reading is a text-dependent analysis tool that allows students to read a text for in-depth comprehension. Students focus on the text to understand what’s being said, how it’s being said, and why. In this lesson, students will close read a teen issue play: Censorbleep by Lindsay Price. Reading something that was written specifically for them may help students connect to the analysis process.

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LESSON PLAN

Close Reading: Early Modern

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, we will close read sections of an early modern text: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This play fits the criteria well for a close read text: Lots of details both in story and character, lots of structural “hows” to analyze, and Oscar Wilde makes a lot of statements with this play about Victorian England, about how people behave, about marriage, and about being truthful (earnest).

Students will approach the text through a variety of exercises, from close reading the title, to single sentences, to a small section, to a culminating assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Close Reading: Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Close reading is a text-dependent analysis tool that allows students to read a text for in-depth comprehension. Students focus on the text to understand what’s being said, how it’s being said, and why. In this lesson, students will use this analysis technique on a monologue. They will go through
the process on a model and then apply what they have learned in a culminating activity.

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LESSON PLAN

Close Reading: Shakespeare

by Lindsay Price

Close reading is a text-dependent analysis tool that allows students to read a text for in-depth comprehension. Students focus on the text to understand what’s being said, how it’s being said, and why. This tool can be an excellent method for getting students to connect to Shakespeare. Where students take a left turn with understanding Shakespeare is that they can’t see past the language. They can’t see using the same tools analyzing a Shakespeare play as they would a modern play. So use close reading to break the language down, move past it, and treat Shakespeare like a modern
text.

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LESSON PLAN

Compare and Contrast: Adaptation

by Lindsay Price

Students will compare and contrast a scene from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Lindsay Price’s adaptation Humbug High.

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LESSON PLAN

Critic Case Study: "A Dirty Act Done Publicly"

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue to evaluate the role of the critic and the purpose of criticism. In this case study lesson, students will examine a 1891 production of Henrik Ibsen’s play Ghosts. The single-night performance resulted in 500 reviews, many of which were negative and caustic.

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LESSON PLAN

Critic Case Study: The New York Times

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue to evaluate the role of the critic and the purpose of criticism. In this case study lesson, students will examine the power of the New York Times drama critic in the mid to late 20th century. While there were many outlets reviewing shows, there was an ongoing mythology that a review from the New York Times had the power to keep a show running or close it. Students will discuss and infer if this is true. They will also reflect on the role of the critic who has such power.

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LESSON PLAN

Dorothy Parker

by Lindsay Price

Students will continue to evaluate the role of the critic and the purpose of criticism. In this case study lesson, students will examine a single critic from a specific era. In 1918, at 24 years old, Dorothy Parker became the drama critic for Vanity Fair. This was a time period when there were upwards of 80 Broadway theatres and over a hundred shows opened each year. It was also a post-war era where audiences were looking for release, and the wit and tone of Dorothy Parker’s reviews were exactly what people were looking for. It also got her fired.

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: Prose vs Drama

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will read two ghost story texts: a prose version and a theatrical adaptation of the same story. Students will then compare and contrast the two texts: How does each handle the ghost story genre? How does each create mood and atmosphere for the genre? What are the similarities in the texts? What are the differences? In your opinion, which suits the genre better?

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: Scoring a Scene

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will read a scene, identify the beats, apply action words to each beat, and reflect on how they would use this information to present the scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Getting to Know a Character

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the 5 ways we learn about a character in a script.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction

by Lindsay Price

In this introduction lesson, students will begin with terminology, discussion about their own knowledge and views, and try out the role of the critic in a low-stakes exercise. Is it possible to give an informed opinion about a crumpled up piece of paper?

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Close Reading

by Lindsay Price

Students will work on their critical thinking skills through close reading. Teachers will first model the technique with a sentence, students will practice the technique in groups and then apply their knowledge with a close reading of a monologue. This lesson comes with an individual assignment and close reading handout.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to The Bald Soprano: Cliché and Stereotype Exercise

by Lindsay Price

Students will compile modern-day clichés and stereotyped phrases and use these words/phrases to create a scene. The point of the exercise is to take something unfamiliar like the Theatre of the Absurd and identify a point of connection. A technique that we know well (the use of cliche and stereotype) is something Theatre of the Absurd Playwrights also know well. Use this exercise as a precursor to studying The Bald Soprano. You’ll need a scene from The Bald Soprano for the end of this lesson.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Acting

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will continue their examination of the individual elements that work together to create mise-en-scène. The next element is acting. Students will apply their knowledge of how acting helps visualize the story and create impact.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Composition

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will continue their examination of the individual elements that work together to create mise-en-scène. The next element is composition. Students will apply their knowledge of how composition helps to visualize the story and create impact.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Costumes

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will continue their examination of the individual elements that work together to create mise-en-scène. The next element is costumes. Students will apply their knowledge of how costumes help visualize the story and create impact.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Culminating Activity

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will demonstrate what they have learned about mise-en-scène with a culminating analysis activity. Students will analyze a scene from a film, identify elements of mise-en-scène, and determine the visual impact and emotional engagement in the scene based on the elements.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Lighting

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will continue their examination of the individual elements that work together to create mise-en-scène. The next element is lighting. Students will apply their knowledge of how lighting helps visualize the story and create impact.

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LESSON PLAN

Mise-en-scène: Setting & Location

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will continue their examination of the individual elements that work together to create mise-en-scène. The first elements are setting and location. Students will apply their knowledge of how location helps visualize the story and create impact.

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LESSON PLAN

The 21st Century Critic: Culminating Assignment

by Lindsay Price

We have now made it to the 21st century. The 21st century is a time of great change for criticism and the role of the theatre critic. There is the tumultuous world of social media criticism with both pros and cons. People consistently choose online options over print. The audience has become the critic. What does that mean for the professional critic? Do we need professional informed opinions of art in the 21st century? Are audience reviews as valuable as critic reviews? Students are given a variety of culminating assignment options in order to apply what they have learned throughout the unit.

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LESSON PLAN

The Masque of Red Death and Coronavirus

by Lindsay Price

In this compare and contrast lesson, students will read a dramatization of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of Red Death. This story is the ultimate example of “social distancing.” Students will compare and contrast the dramatization to the current events surrounding Coronavirus and then write an adaptation focusing on modern viruses.

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LESSON PLAN

The Problematic Use of Brownfacing in Film

by Quincy Young

Students will view examples of Brownface in film and use critical thinking skills to annotate a text about the issues of Brownface in the film West Side Story. Students will then produce a written reflection on why the use of Brownface in the 1961 film version of West Side story is problematic and
offer their opinion on why it perpetuates a negative stereotype of the Latinx community.

Includes options for distance learning delivery.

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LESSON PLAN

The Stanislavski Method

by Karen Loftus

This session introduces the Stanislavski method of acting and four elements: objective, obstacle, stakes, and tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Themes in the Crucible: A Good Reputation

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss the theme of a reputation in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Students will participate in activities, scene work and written reflection on the theme. It is assumed that students are in the middle of reading the play or at least have been introduced to the story.

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LESSON PLAN

Themes in The Glass Menagerie: Traps vs Escapes

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss and apply dramatically the theme of Traps vs Escapes in Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie. It is assumed that students have started reading The Glass Menagerie or know the story. Use this lesson as a supplemental to your study of the play.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students are given an assigned scene to analyze, focus on one character, and complete the script analysis assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

What is a Monologue: Analysis

by Lindsay Price

Students will identify the elements that make a good monologue. Have student groups read aloud existing monologues and then discuss, answer questions, and evaluate the elements of the monologues. Do these existing monologues meet the criteria of a good monologue?

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LESSON PLAN

What is Mise-en-scène?

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will discuss the difference between film and theatre, identify their prior knowledge of film, and identify the definition of mise-en-scène.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing a Reflective Review

by Lindsay Price

Writing a play review is an excellent way for students to apply critical thinking skills. A review is a subjective but educated response to a play. The reviewer gives an opinion and supports it with thoughtful analysis. What are the parts of a well
written review? What should a student do before, during, and after a performance?

The culminating exercise involves students writing a review of a show. Use this lesson as a precursor to students seeing a performance (i.e. a school production, a community play, or a touring show).

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LESSON PLAN

Writing a Review: Introduction

by Lindsay Price

A review is a subjective but educated response. The reviewer gives an opinion, then supports it with thoughtful analysis.

Students will examine existing reviews, identify the elements of a review, compare and contrast reviews, and practice supporting their opinions (i.e. not just “I like this” or “I don’t like that,” but explain the “why” behind their response).

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