C.2.C analyze and interpret characters from various genres and styles, describing physical, intellectual, emotional, and social dimensions.
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 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).
by Matt Webster
In this unit, students are introduced to a series of lesson plans that explore non-traditional approaches to performing the works of William Shakespeare. By the end of the unit students will be exposed to a unique set of tools they can utilize as the foundations for analyzing, staging and performing a scene from Shakespeare’s canon. Students will then rehearse and perform a two-person Shakespearean scene.
by Anna Porter
Students are introduced to scene work performance through a simple, contentless scene unit. In this unit, performers will use exercises like “Show and Tell” to learn how to fill in the gaps of a story by creating scenarios and detailed characters with backgrounds.
Students will further fill in the gaps by exploring environmental and physical conflict as well as stage business. The lesson “Thou Shalts of Staging” will guide students through basic staging and performance technique.
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 Lindsay Price
In Part 2 of Scene Work, students take everything they learned in Part 1 and apply it to the staging of a scene.
Students work independently to block, build character, experiment and rehearse a scene. You can continue the scene work process from Part 1, or if your students have a grounding with scene work basics, perhaps they just do Part 2 of this 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.
by Lindsay Price
Students are introduced to scene work performance through a contentless scene unit. Students prepare and perform a contentless scene to demonstrate their understanding of characterization, staging technique, and working with conflict and stage business in a performance context.
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.
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.
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 Colin Oliver
Colin Oliver leads this introduction to teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom.
In this course, you will learn how to build musical theatre into your dramatic courses of study. “Why might you want to do that? Singing is scary! You want me to teach my students how to do it? I don’t even know how to do it.” This course approaches musical theatre preparation performance much as we would approach preparing a monologue in drama. If you use script analysis in monologue preparation in your class, you can teach musical theatre.
By the end of this course, you’ll have a great, full-body physical warm-up, a student-driven research assignment, character development exercises, a little bit of musical theory, and a performance assignment complete with assessment.
So, join us for teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom. It’s as easy as Do-Re-Mi!
by James Van Leishout
In this course, James Van Leishout explores why students should direct, and covers the first two tools in the director’s toolbox: self and the script. What background should every director have? Why should they learn to love research? What should happen in the first four reads of a script?
With every step along the way, there will be exercises and activities your student directors can take on before they step into the rehearsal process.
by Lindsay Price
Adaptation is a fabulous classroom project: it requires students to analyze, adapt, modify, plan synthesize, devise. All the higher order thinking skills.
But you can’t just throw a narrator into a script and call it a day. You have to have a preparation process leading up to the writing process.
In this course you will learn practical exercises and a path to prepare your students to take on their own adaptation project. We’ll look at the guidelines to adaptation, things to think about when choosing a text, how to analyze the source material and writing that first draft.
So join me, Lindsay Price, in the Play Adaptation Project.
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.