California VAPA Standards (2019) Adv.TH:Re7
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California VAPA Standards (2019)
Adv.TH:Re7 Perceive and analyze artistic work.

View all Standards for California VAPA Standards (2019)

Adv.TH:Re7 Use historical and cultural context to structure and justify personal responses to a drama/theatre work.

Ancient Greek Theatre

by Lindsay Price

In studying Ancient Greece, we’re looking at the foundations of theatre as we know it today. Without the Ancient Greek Era, we do not get actors, theatres, plays, and the definitions of tragedy and comedy.

The issue with studying theatre history, or anything historical is that it can become an exercise in memorizing dates and reciting facts. When the truth of the matter is no one in the 21st century benefits from learning by rote. This is especially true when studying history in the framework of a drama classroom. We need exercises that bring history to life, instead of having students plot dates on a timeline.

To that end, this unit does not focus on dates and data. The essential question for the unit is how can we connect the past to the present and this question is explored through the theatricalization of information. Students will access all four 21st century skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication as they explore this amazing world.

Reflections, exit slips, and rubrics are included throughout the unit as well as a mid assignment evaluation for the culminating project.

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Ancient Greek Theatre

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.

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Agatha Rex and Ancient Greek Theatre

by Angel Borths

Help…It’s all Greek to me! Join Angel Borths in this unit that uses a modern adaptation of the Ancient Greek play Antigone to introduce Middle School students to Ancient Greek Theatre.

Have your students read Percy Jackson and want to find out more about Ancient Greece? Then, this unit is for you. This unit is designed for middle and high school students and will take you through the basics of classical Greek theatre and pairs it with a modern adaptation of the story of Antigone called Agatha Rex by Lindsay Price. Students will learn vocabulary, design, and basic theory surrounding classical Greek theatre. Students will also enjoy the mask building component of this unit, as they learn to disappear into the character of a mask, like the first actors did on a Greek stage thousands of years ago.

The unit culminates in a scene performance with masks.

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Shakespeare Performance

by Anna Porter

In this unit by Anna Porter, students are introduced to the works of Shakespeare and explore how to bring a character to life in a monologue performance. Students are also introduced to the tools to help them unlock meaning in Shakespeare’s text. Through this eleven lesson series, students will participate in class discussions, activities and performance. Assessment tools include informal assessment, submission of textual analysis work and a final performance.

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Unlocking Shakespeare's Text

by Anna Porter

Shakespeare’s text holds valuable tools that students can use to unlock and understand meaning. In this unit by Anna Porter, students explore how to use the tools of research, context, textual analysis, imagery and punctuation to help them unlock meaning in Shakespeare’s text. This unit is created for an Intermediate to Advanced drama class with a basic background in plot structure and acting technique.

Through this five lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions, activities and performance to explore the tools used to unlock a text. Assessment tools include informal assessment as well as a final group presentation and performance.

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East Meets West: Theatre Traditions

by Marsha Walner

We spend a lot of time in the classroom exploring, applying, and creating in a western theatrical tradition. But there are many more styles that students can explore, particularly to the east: Kabuki, Noh, Chinese Opera, and Sanskrit Theatre, for example. In this unit, students will be introduced to an element from each of these eastern styles, they will apply that element and build towards a culminating project. Throughout, students will develop a stronger understanding of both the theatre from their own culture and that of Eastern cultures.

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Musical Theatre History Museum Project

by Annie Dragoo

Musical Theatre is a uniquely American art form, explored through this unique unit by instructor Annie Dragoo.

It is divided into two parts: first, students view a documentary called Broadway the American Musical - available on YouTube. Students will reflect after each episode and there is an available viewing quiz.

After viewing, discussing and reflecting on each episode of the PBS Documentary, Broadway: The American Musical, students will research a specific topic in order to create and design a musical theatre museum exhibit. It’s a great three-dimensional demonstration of knowledge, and there is a rubric provided for the completed exhibit.

This is not your traditional textbook history learning!

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The Role of the Theatre Critic

by Lindsay Price

In the 21st century, we are living in a time of great change for criticism and the role of the critic. Previously, one negative review from the New York Times could close a Broadway show. Now the audience as critic is a topic of much debate. Are professional critics and informed opinions necessary? What is the power of the audience critic? What is the role of the critic and the role of criticism in today’s theatre?

This unit will take students through a brief history of the theatre critic from the 500 reviews that came out of Ibsen’s one-night performance of Ghosts in 1891, to the tumultuous landscape of social media criticism. Students will then apply what they’ve learned by writing on or theatricalizing the role of the critic in a culminating assignment.

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Aristotle's Elements

by Lea Marshall

Aristotle was a huge fan of the theatre. He philosophically believed in it and argued with other great thinkers at the time about the necessity and good results of theatrical pursuits. This makes him a great topic for a drama classroom unit.

Aristotle identified six elements that needed to be in a play for it to be worthy: plot, thought, character, diction, spectacle, and sound. This unit by Lea Marshall focuses on and offers exercises for each of Aristotle’s elements - from using fairy tales to examine plot, to re-imagining movie trailers to explore music.

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Indigenous Storytelling Unit

by Allison Green

This Indigenous Storytelling unit is brought to you in a different format than a traditional lesson plan. It uses a learning circle format. It was developed by Allison Green, a member of the Algonquin Band of Mattawa Ontario, who is also the author and instructor of the DTA course Approaching Drama Class with an Indigenous Perspective.

Students will discuss origin stories, research the background and land connection of a variety of Indigenous creation stories, create a plot graph of their story, share with the class what they have learned, and then retell the story in their own words. Once students have practiced this process, they will repeat the steps with an Abenaki creation story: Research | Recreate | Understand.

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Anti-Realism

by Wendy-Marie Martin

This unit gives students an overview of the anti-realism movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century and introduces them to some key theorists, playwrights, and theatre makers involved in this movement. Students will be introduced to the “isms” of symbolism, Dadaism, surrealism, expressionism, and absurdism along with various manifestos and theories as we track the characteristics of each “ism.”

In a culminating project, students will design an “ISMS’’ Theme Park, which they will share with the class at the end of the unit. Their project will feature each of the five “isms” in the form of rides, themed concessions areas, entertainment options, and in-park characters.

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Perspective Taking

by Lindsay Price

Perspective taking is the ability to understand a situation from another person’s perspective or point of view: What are they thinking? What are they feeling? How does their background influence their perspective? Perspective taking allows students to develop self-awareness, to recognize differences, to understand an opposing point of view, to assess nonverbal language, and more.
In this unit, students will practice perspective taking as they:
• Assess their own perspective.
• Demonstrate understanding of the perspective of others in specific situations.
• Analyze characters in a text.

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Unit 1: Before and Beyond Ancient Greek Theatre

by Drama Teacher Academy

In the study of theatre history, when we discuss the origins of theatre, most start with the Ancient Greeks. Unit 1 of this curriculum will look at the theatre of Ancient Egypt, Sanskrit drama, and Indigenous storytelling.

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Unit 2: Greek & Roman Origins

by Drama Teacher Academy

For Ancient Greece, we will examine the ritual origins of tragedy and the Festival of Dionysus. We will explore the theatre conventions of the day including the amphitheatre, the use of masks, costumes, and other theatrical devices. Finally, we will introduce the main playwrights and their key plays. Then we will take a short look at Roman theatre with their wholesale appropriation of Greek culture.

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Unit 3: Medieval Theatre

by Drama Teacher Academy

We journey from the Dark Ages to the emergence of Medieval drama. The liturgical or religious drama appeared in the churches as a means of religious instruction. Along the way, production moved from being written in Latin to the local vernacular and then outgrew the churches. The guilds then took over the production responsibilities. The plays came in four types: mystery, miracle, morality, and mummers plays. These can be remembered as the four Ms of Medieval drama.

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Unit 3: Medieval Theatre

by Drama Teacher Academy

We journey from the Dark Ages to the emergence of Medieval drama. The liturgical or religious drama appeared in the churches as a means of religious instruction. Along the way, production moved from being written in Latin to the local vernacular and then outgrew the churches. The guilds then took over the production responsibilities. The plays came in four types: mystery, miracle, morality, and mummers plays. These can be remembered as the four Ms of Medieval drama.

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Unit 4: Commedia Dell'Arte

by Drama Teacher Academy

We take a side trip to Italy to discover a secular comedic form: Commedia Dell’arte.
Students will be introduced to the form, explore the characters and themes, and put their knowledge to practical application by creating a commedia character.

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Unit 5: Asian Theatre

by Drama Teacher Academy

It’s important to step outside of Western Eurocentric Theatre. In this unit, we are going to focus on the Asian theatre forms that developed in China and Japan. Note: We acknowledge that a unit on Asian theatre that only covers the theatre origins of two countries does not represent Asia. To go beyond what is offered here please see the Diversity
Document.

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Unit 6: Theatre of the Renaissance

by Drama Teacher Academy

In this unit, we return to Western theatre and to Italy, where we will witness the birth of the Renaissance and the discovery of linear perspective. Then we travel on to the Golden Age of Spanish theatre. We will pass by the Elizabethan Golden age (we’ll cover it in the next unit) and end the Renaissance journey by discovering French neoclassicism and the Rules of Drama.

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Unit 7: The Elizabethan Golden Age

by Drama Teacher Academy

We continue our look at the Renaissance era with the Elizabethan Golden Age. This golden age of theatre started when James Burbage built the first permanent playhouse in England, called The Theatre. Of the more than 80 playwrights in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, the three most significant were Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. This age came to an abrupt end when the Puritans executed King Charles I, abolished the crown, and closed all the theatres.

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Unit 8: Restoration Comedy & 18th Century Theatre

by Drama Teacher Academy

We will travel through two time periods in this unit. First, we will explore Restoration Comedy in late 17th century England. When the Puritan-led Commonwealth failed and King Charles II was restored to the throne, theatre was also restored. The Comedy of Manners mocked the behaviour and loose morals of the upper class. The lack of theatrical works in the 18th century comes down to three things: playwrights tended to write for opera rather than theatre, censorship and control of theatrical content, and, more than anything, society of the day valued conformity over originality. In France and England, fearing attacks and mockery, the crown and the government passed laws that strictly censored theatre.

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Unit 9: Romanticism

by Drama Teacher Academy

Romanticism broke away from the strictures of the neoclassical era preferring instead the Medieval/Gothic periods. The Romantic notion of finding beauty and humanity in the ugly is epitomized by Quasimodo in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The movement rejected Enlightenment, scientific rationalism, and the Industrial Revolution; rather, it embraced intuition and emotion over reason. On one hand, the tail end of neoclassicism led to the well-made play. On the other hand, the emphasis on emotion led to melodrama and an artificial declamatory acting style.

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Culminating Project

by Drama Teacher Academy

The goal of this culminating assignment is to give students the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of a variety of theatre history eras; connect, compare, and contrast between the eras; and, lastly, to connect, compare, and contrast what has happened in the past to what is happening in the present.

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Character Development with an Indigenous Perspective

by Allison Green

Students will develop characters based on the character traits of the Seven Grandfather Teachings. The unit begins with a focus on the traits (Love, Wisdom, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth) and the story of elders passing on teachings to the youth. Students will use tableau, viewpoints, and movement and explore how to develop a character with a clear backstory and identity. The unit uses open, neutral scenes as a partnered task that students can use to apply their learning followed by reflection and class discussion.

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Theatre Radically Reimagined: Exploring Artaud, Grotowski, and Boal

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.

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Indigenous Symbolism in the Drama Classroom

by Allison Green

The objective of this unit is for students to be able to engage with Indigenous symbolism in art, and then interpret it in a theatrical context. It begins with an introduction of symbolism through a retelling of an Indigenous story with wolves representing human traits. Students develop a scene that focuses on how to “show and tell” an Indigenous story, clearly showing the symbolic meaning from the oral story. Students will then explore symbols by looking at the characteristics of Canadian Indigenous Art, delving into the symbols and story. Students then share their interpretation of the art by creating and presenting a piece of theatre, followed by reflection and class discussion.

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Close Reading in the Drama Classroom

by Lindsay Price

Close reading is an activity that puts curriculum standards into practice and it can be easily applied to the drama classroom.

Close reading asks a lot of your students. They have to read and think at the same time.

This course teaches drama teachers how the close reading process works, and gives them exercises and tools to apply it in the classroom.

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21st Century Skills Through Devising

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!

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Approaching Drama Class with an Indigenous Perspective

by Allison Green

This course is led by Allison Green, a member of the Algonquin Band of Mattawa, and a drama and social sciences teacher in Northern Ontario, Canada. She believes that drama teachers should look at their teaching through an Indigenous lens for a few reasons:

- It is time in North America to take a conscientious look at Indigenous people’s approach to learning and teaching.
- For our Indigenous students, it’s important to see themselves in materials, activities, and classroom routines.
- It is also valuable for our non-Indigenous students to see and better understand the diverse nature of the creative process and ways of seeing our world through this lens.

This course aims to help teachers see their drama class through an Indigenous lens - by exploring the learning circle, culturally responsive approaches, and Indigenous pedagogy.

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Hands-On Theatre History: Anti-Realism

by Wendy-Marie Martin

This course is a mix of individual and group activities requiring students to use both their analytical and creative mind. It gives students an overview on the Anti-Realism movement of the late-19th and early-20th century, and introduces them to some key theorists, playwrights, and theater makers involved in this movement.

Together we will guide students through the wild world of the “isms,” more specifically Symbolism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Expressionism and Absurdism. We will introduce students to various manifestos and theories as we track the characteristics of each of our five “isms.” As we combine analysis and creative exercises, students bring their entire self to process and prepare to design an ISM Theme Park project, which they will share with the class at the end of the course.

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