Students will explore the structural elements of a play: character, objective, obstacles, tactics, resolution, and raising the stakes. They will also learn how to write character-driven dialogue and stage directions.

The unit culminates in a group written original play which is performed in front of the class. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

Unit Overview

Students will explore the structural elements of a play: character, objective, obstacles, tactics, resolution, and raising the stakes. They will also learn how to write character-driven dialogue and stage directions. The unit culminates in a group written original play which is performed in front of the class.

Additional Attachments
1: Structure

Students are introduced to the structural elements of a script.

2: Dialogue

Students are introduced to the concept of stakes as an additional element of a script, and participate in a group playwriting activity that allows performers to test out lines of dialogue in performance.

3: Stage Directions

Students learn the three types of stage directions, and apply what they’ve learned to their own scenes as well as open scenes (sample included).

4: Character Dialogue and Development

Students learn the importance of dialogue and creating it for their characters.

5: The Unities

Students are introduced to Aristotle’s 3 Unities and participate in an improv exercise to apply these guidelines for playwriting.

6: Writing: Part 1

Students apply what they have learned so far in the unit and participate in a group playwriting activity - the writing pass technique.

7: Writing: Part 2

Students continue to work on their group playwriting activity and finalize their script with stage directions, as well as complete staged readings.


Attachments
8: Unit Project

Students complete their script, format it properly, then hand it in. Next, they will perform their scene and complete a final reflection. A rubric is included.

Standards Addressed

Common Core


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts


MS 117.211 LI - Creative Expression: performance

C.2.F - create environments, characters, and actions.

MS 117.211 LI - Critical evaluation and response

C.5.A - identify and apply audience etiquette at all performances.

HS 117.316 LII - Critical evaluation and response

C.5.C - offer and receive constructive criticism of peer performances.

Alberta, Canada


Theatre Studies Drama 30 (Early or Middle or Late drama)

4 - recognize dramatic structure of a play

Improvisation/Acting Level III - Advanced

26 - pick up cues effectively

Theatre Studies Level III - Advanced (The script)

11 - demonstrate understanding of plot structure

9 - read a script aloud

British Columbia (2018)


GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Reasoning and reflecting

Receive, offer, and apply constructive feedback

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Communicating and documenting

Compose, interpret, and expand ideas using symbolism, imagery, and elements

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect

Apply feedback to develop and refine ideas

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and audience

Ontario, Canada