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.
The overview provides an introduction to the big ideas of the unit, as well as a detailed lesson-by-lesson timeline and map.
To introduce students to Aristotle and his connection to theatre.
To introduce students to Aristotle’s six elements.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of plot.
To continue applying the Aristotelian element of plot.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of Thought.
To continue applying the Aristotelian element of Thought.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of Character.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of Diction.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of Music.
To introduce the Aristotelian element of Spectacle.
To have students apply what they have learned.
This can be a standalone lesson, or an add-on to the unit. It introduces the concept of the 3 V's: VIEWERS are looking for a VICARIOUS, VULNERABLE, and/or VISCERAL experience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 - Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 - Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2 - Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3 - Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.3 - Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
1.2 - Comprehension and Analysis of the Elements of Theatre - Identify and analyze recurring themes and patterns (e.g., loyalty, bravery, revenge, redemption) in a script to make production choices in design and direction.
4.2 - Critical Assessment of Theatre - Draw conclusions about the effectiveness of informal and formal productions, films/videos, or electronic media on the basis of intent, structure, and quality of the work.
TAHSFT.RE.1 - Engage actively and appropriately as an audience member.
a. Articulate why the relationship between the audience and performers is critical to the success of the production and demonstrate appropriate audience behavior.
b. State and support aesthetic judgments through experience in diverse styles and genres of theatre.
TAHSFT.CN.1 - Explore how theatre connects to life experiences, careers, and other content.
a. Examine how theatre reflects real life.
b. Analyze how theatre employs aspects of other art forms and disciplines to effectively communicate with a live audience.
c. Demonstrate awareness of the discipline, knowledge, skills, and education required for careers in theatre.
d. Explore various careers in the theatre arts (e.g. performance, design, production, administrative, education, promotion).
TAHSTL.CR.1 - Develop original theatre literature.
a. Compare and summarize theatre literature from various historical periods, cultures, and styles.
b. Examine and outline the steps and conventions involved in the creation of a theatre text.
c. Develop original texts using theatre techniques (e.g. improvisation, adapting non-theatre literature, playwriting exercises).
TA6.RE.1 - Engage actively and appropriately as an audience member.
a. Identify the role of the audience in different environments.
b. Analyze the relationship between an audience and a performer.
c. Create guidelines for behaviors appropriate to a theatre experience.
d. Model appropriate audience behaviors.
TA6.CN.2 - Examine the role of theatre in a societal, cultural, and historical context.
a. Describe the origins of theatre.
b. Identify and analyze ways in which theatre influences and reflects the culture of a society.
c. Utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to research, create, and support artistic choices.
d. Examine the relevance of cultural and historical context.
TA7.CR.2 - Develop scripts through theatrical techniques.
a. Create ideas for stories.
b. Analyze the theme and structure of a play.
c. Use the dramatic writing process to generate a script.
d. Utilize dramatic conventions in the scriptwriting process (e.g. stage directions, dialogue, scenes).
TA6.CR.1 - Organize, design, and refine theatrical work.
a. Identify artistic choices, utilize theatre vocabulary, and demonstrate non-verbal communication skills in the rehearsal process.
b. Interpret a character’s motivation by understanding the relationship between their background and their behavior.
c. Identify the variety of relationships between characters.
d. Identify, define, and classify character traits.
e. Recognize and demonstrate the roles, responsibilities, and skills associated with collaborative performance.
f. Use resources to identify and create technical elements of theatre.
TA6.CR.2 - Develop scripts through theatrical techniques.
a. Identify the elements of a story.
b. Identify the theme and structure of a play.
c. Articulate creative ideas in oral and written forms.
d. Use the dramatic writing process to generate a script.
e. Demonstrate the conventions of dialogue and stage directions.
Describe, interpret and evaluate how artists (dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists) use processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, techniques, and environments to create and communicate ideas
C.3.2 - identify and apply the skills and attitudes needed to perform various tasks and responsibilities in producing drama works (e.g., use active listening and cooperative problem-solving skills; practise punctuality; use tact in suggesting changes and improvements; demonstrate willingness to accept criticism and build consensus)
C.3.3 - demonstrate an understanding of theatre and audience etiquette, in both classroom and formal performance contexts (e.g., as a performer: show willingness to take direction and behave appropriately towards other actors; as a viewer: demonstrate respect for performers and other audience members by paying attention, not interrupting or talking, and applauding when appropriate)