View all Standards for California VAPA Standards (2019)
Adv.TH:Cr3.a Refine, transform, and re-imagine a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using the rehearsal process to invent or re-imagine style, genre, form, and theatrical conventions.
by Angel Borths
Teacher Angel Borths developed this unit when she was looking for lessons to teach the basics of pantomime in the classroom.
This unit culminates in a finished product for performance, either for peers, or for theatre festivals. The rubrics and written work for this unit take planning and preparation for performance into account. The exercises can be pulled out and used independently, but work best when used to build toward a finished product. You can also pull the ground plan and stage directions lesson plans to use with playwriting or directing lessons.
Part of the Drama One Curriculum
by Karen Loftus
This unit on Ancient Greek Theatre focuses on the function of the chorus, the choral ode, and the details of the theatre space. It touches on plays and playwrights of the era, culminating in a final project of a modern version of Medea that includes a choral ode.
A rubric is included for the project as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.
Part of the Drama One Curriculum
by Karen Loftus
Students are introduced to, analyze, and explore the history, characters, and style of Commedia dell’arte. Commedia Dell’Arte is a theatre history unit mixed with improvisation, physicalization, and exploring specific characters.
In this unit, we’re going to focus on three main aspects:
(1) Causes and Effects of Commedia (History), (2) Stock Characters, (3) Commedia Performance Practices.
The unit culminates in a commedia performance. A rubric is included for the project as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.
by Matthew Banaszynski
Join Matt Banaszynski in this dynamic unit designed to introduce students to the process of starting, drafting, polishing, and performing a self-created, stand-alone monologue.
This unit introduces students to writing their own stand-alone monologues. Students will learn the steps involved in going from a simple idea to a written piece to performing that piece. They will also provide feedback to others and give themselves a self-assessment.
This unit has been prepared for a middle school drama class but could be adapted for high school. It was designed as a way to get non-theatre students more involved in theatre.
by Jenny Goodfellow
This unit on Puppetry is designed for middle school and up, to introduce students to the material and get them comfortable with performing in a safe and low exposure environment.
This is a unit that builds to a culminating experience for your students. Each lesson is designed to explore techniques, provide opportunities for creative collaboration among your students, and give them opportunities to perform. Some of the lessons require materials to build or create puppets. Puppetry can be as easy as drawing a face on your finger for finger puppets, to actually purchasing your own finger puppets for students to use.
While the focus of this unit is puppetry, your students will explore other skills as well. There’s the obvious ones of creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. They are also going to explore storytelling, performing skills, and playwriting.
by Lea Marshall
WARNING: This unit is ABSURD. However, instructor Lea Marshall decided to do something really ABSURD with the unit, which was make it a bit more predictable. First, the unit takes two lessons to go over the Historical and Philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. It starts with just a visual exercise to really bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the Absurdist movement into the Theatres.
Next, students break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. With each lesson that introduces an Absurdist Element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element. Then, students explore the element through an Absurdist text. This will help familiarize the students with the 4 Absurdist scripts used in the unit. These bite sized forays into the scripts will help students to choose a script to fully immerse themselves in for the final project.
As a final project, students will choose one script to work with, and choose the format of their project (performance, costume or set design, or playwright).
Part of the Drama Two Curriculum
by Matt Webster
The Drama Two Curriculum has been developed to expand and deepen the students’ skills as actors. In this unit, students will use open scenes to generate characters and scenarios. They will then explore the ideas of “objective,” “tactics,” and “status.” The unit culminates with students applying learned character analysis techniques to classroom generated open scenes.
by Laramie Dean
Instructor Laramie Dean uses this unit as the final project for his Drama 2 students. Drawing upon any of the skills students have developed throughout they create a product that could be used within a new piece of musical theatre.
Students start by analyzing three musicals, study guides included, and practice creating musical elements. They are then giving class time to prepare in groups as many elements as their can for a new musical using devised theatre techniques.
There are 24 lessons in this unit which culminates in a final assessed performance.
Part of the Distance Learning Curriculum
by Lea Marshall
We included this unit in our Distance Learning Curriculum because if any group of students would understand how the world turned upside down and then apply it to theatre, it would be the students dealing with a global pandemic.
First, we take two lessons to go over the historical and philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. We start with a visual exercise to bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the absurdist movement into the theatres. Next, we break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. In each lesson that introduces an absurdist element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element.
by Annie Dragoo
In this unit, students will create and perform an abstract theatre scene. Abstract is a genre that does not rely on realism and deliberately breaks the rules of a given form. In the case of theatre, this refers to the commonly presented rules of performance, acting, and the relationship with the audience. Movement is often stylized and symbolic. Ideas and themes are expressed visually and aurally with little dialogue using music, lights, costumes, and props.
by Ruthie Tutterow
In this unit, students will learn about Antonin Artaud and how his ideas influenced avant-garde theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries. They will also learn how Jerzy Grotowski took Artaud’s theories into new directions. This is done through direct instruction. A culminating presentation will ask students to take common stories and reimagine them using some of these ideas. They will present a “pitch” of an avant-garde version of their story. In the second lesson, students learn about some of the ideas of Augusto Boal and try a session of Forum Theatre.
by Claire Broome
The Dilemma Project is based on a situation that requires a decision: push a button and get a great reward, but there’s also a great consequence. Don’t push the button and there’s no reward.
This unit will lead to a group performance including characters, costumes, set, acting theory, acting tools, and a student written script. The final script will be about ten pages in length which means roughly ten minutes of stage time.
by Lindsay Price
A monologue unit is an excellent way for students to demonstrate learned skills: vocal skills, movement skills, memorization skills, and character development. It also touches on soft skills such as communication, confidence, and attitude. That being said, monologues are not easy. A typical monologue is two minutes long. That is a lot of text to memorize, block, and develop into an engaging presentation. How often have you sat through a bad monologue performance with little to no characterization, wandering blocking, and a tenuous grasp of the lines?
Performing a monologue is a learned skill. And the best way to learn a skill is in steps. Instead of starting with the end goal—that two-minute piece—start at the beginning. This four-lesson unit will take students up the ladder toward the goal of a longer monologue.
by Steven Stack
Directing youth theatre can be one of the most thrilling, rewarding, and exhausting jobs there is – because it’s not just about staging a play. It’s about creating an environment that fosters hard work, dedication, trust, and the willingness to take chances, to “play without fear.”
As a writer/teacher/director of youth theatre for over 15 years, I have developed tools and strategies that enable my students and me to focus on the process of creating theatre while fostering an environment that leads to creative freedom and a cohesive groups that doesn't act as individual “stars,” but as a community of one.
In this course, I will share with you these tips and strategies, along with the ways to implement them in your theatre environment.
by Gai Jones
Gai Jones will help you establish an ensemble-based environment from the first day of class or rehearsal.
Learn how to set up your ensemble-based classroom from day one, get students to set classroom norms, and find the balance between creative activity and structure. You’ll learn how to give your students creative freedom through structure and classroom management. The cornerstone of this course are the detailed ensemble experiences from large group to small group and even individual experiences.
This course culminates in a devising model that you can use with your students, and takes you through process, product, performance and an evaluation.
You too can create the ensemble-based classroom.
by Allison Williams
Allison Williams leads the course: 21st Century Skills Through Devising. This course covers what devising is, why to do it, how to do it, and how your students can master the 21st Century Skills of collaborations and cooperation, critical thinking, creative thinking through devising.
High school is a great place to try devising with your students. But it’s not something you want to throw at your students without any preparation. Framework is important and this course takes you through a number of exercises you can take into the classroom tomorrow to help build a place of physical safety, a place where students work at making a lot of choices instead of waiting for the perfect choice, and a place where students feel comfortable making creative choices. The material also reviews the process of putting together a show from the idea/research stage to editing, to giving feedback.
Your students have what it takes to create their own material, collaborate with each other, and have a unique theatrical experience!
by Julie Hartley
The focus of the teacher-director should be not only on the quality of the show, but on the value of the experience offered to student actors. This course takes you on this journey through practical rehearsal strategies that apply an ensemble approach.
This course starts with those all important first rehearsals, explores warm ups, and looks at character development. We examine specific types of plays, like classical texts and comedy, and conclude with strategies to solve common rehearsal problems.
Go beyond the basics!
by Claire Broome
Moral dilemmas are not only faced by characters in gripping plays, but are also faced by our students. The project outlined in this course will help students develop their critical thinking skills through the use of one of the dilemma questions to shape a student written production.
If you had the choice to press a button and earn $25,000,000... but a species (not of your choosing) would become extinct, what would you do? More importantly, what would your character do?
Join drama teacher and playwright Claire Broome through this course which includes role-playing, Stanislavski’s Magic If, character creation, playwriting and staging.
View all Standards for California VAPA Standards (2019) Standards Master List