Quarter 3: Theater 2/3 (Periods 1 and 5) Weeks 1-4

TeacherDarlene Stewart
Subject AreaM/J Theatre 2/3
Grade Level7th and 8th grade
Week #Week 1: January 6-10; Week 2: January 13-17; Week 3; January 21-24; AND Week 4; January 27-31, 2020
Unit of InstructionScript Analysis: The Actor's Perspective AND Beginning to understand the words of Shakespeare
Standard(s) Taught
TH.68.H.1.1 Explore potential differences when performing works set in a variety of historical and cultural contexts.
TH.68.H.1.2 Analyze the impact of ones emotional and social experiences when responding to, or participating in, a play.
TH.68.H.1.5 Describe ones own personal responses to a theatrical work and show respect for the responses of others.
TH.68.H.2.1 Compare western theatre traditions with those of other cultures.
TH.68.H.2.3 Analyze theatre history and dramatic literature in the context of societal and cultural history.
Learning Targets and Learning Criteria

Students will focus on a variety of scripts from various playwrights.

Students will discover how to analyse a script more deeply.

Students will discuss how script analysis assists in acting.

Students will challenge themselves to grow in acting skills.

Classroom Activities

From: Drama Teacher Academy © Karen Loftus 2016
SCRIPT ANALYSIS: THE ACTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
INSTRUCTION: SESSION 1
1. Reflection–Imagine there’s a new student in your class and you don’t know anything about them. Describe what you’d do to get to know them. Keep in mind that you really want to get to know them.
2. Follow-Up Discussion
• Have the students share what they’d do to get to know another student. 
• Remind students that we determine things about a person in multiple ways. Share with them
the 5 ways to learn about a character in a script:
1. What the character says.
2. What the character does.
3. What others say about the character.
4. What the playwright says (in stage directions).
5. How the character treats others.
• Ask the students what they know about that famous person from what they’ve read, seen on video interviews, or heard from others. This can lead into a great conversation about what information you can and can’t trust. But it helps them to understand that they form an opinion about a person by what that person says/does, what others say about him/her, how that person treat others, and things we read or see about that person.
• The same is true in a script. A character may say something about another character but
can we trust them?
3. Project/Exercise: Character Social Media
• Divide students into 2 groups.
• Each group is going to create a character that’s not based on anything or anyone specific. A
person between the ages of 14 and 20.
• Remind the group that their goal is to provide information about the character that lets us
get to know them better.
• Each group is going to create some type of social media for the character that they’ve created.
They can go retro and do a Facebook page or they can create a tumblr page. They can even
have an Instagram feed if they want to. Have them use a sheet of paper to plan out the page,
but the goal is for them to act it out. (NOTE: Instructions and example to follow.)
• They can use status posts, pictures, videos, and wall posts from other people. They can even
use comments. Basically, anything that appears on a social media site that’s appropriate for
school.
• While students are coming up with the content of the page, remind them that their goal is to
let someone know what their character is like. They need to provide character clues. Remind
students how we find out about someone: What they say, what they do, what others say, how
they treat others, etc.
• Once they have designed their page, have them cast who’s going to “be” each item on the
page. Then have them rehearse it.
• Their pages have to be clear so that the teacher (you) can look at the sheet and identify the
different areas (picture post, comments, wall post, video).
Performance Instructions:
• Students stand onstage in a configuration similar to what’s on the paper. Imagine that the
page is lying flat on the stage, the top of the page is all the way upstage and the bottom
of the page is all the way downstage. Or, if you have access to risers, put those who are
acting out the “top of the page” on the highest riser.
• The teacher will have the paper that the group created and will use that as a key to know
what to “click on.”
• When you’re ready to start, have all students in the presenting group sit down on the
ground in the exact spot they were standing.
• The teacher will “click on” a person or group of people as a way to bring that part to life.
When they are “clicked on,” this person/group will stand up.
• Students who are status updates, comments, or wall posts will say the name of the person
who’s posting and then say the post. For example: The character the group has chosen
is named Kate. One of the students is a status update and she says: “Kate says, “Have
a great weekend everyone!”” Or another student who is a wall post from a friend says:
“Mike says “Can’t wait to see you Saturday night!”” Another student who’s a comment
on the first status says: “Lori says, “Wish you could come camping with us.”” And so on.
• Students who are the posted pictures on the page will stand in their picture pose and say
a caption. For example, a picture of Kate and her friend Lori eating ice cream would have
two actors posing as if they were eating ice cream and one of them would say as the caption.
“Kate and Lori, pigging out on ice cream!”
• Students who are a video post can act out a short scene.
• Have one group go first while the other group watches and takes notes.
• At the end of their presentation, ask the performing group to stay where they are and not
say anything (this will be hard for them, believe me).
• Ask the watching group to answer the following questions (substituting the name given by
the group):
• What do we know about Kate from what she said?
• What do we know about her from what others said?
• What do we know about her from how she treated others?
• Do we know anything about her from what she’s done?
• What else did we learn about Kate?
• What things about Kate do you think would be helpful if you were to portray her in a
scene?
• What else do you want to know about Kate?
• Repeat the process with the 2nd group.
4. Follow-Up Discussion
• What was easy and what was hard about this project?
• What would you do differently if you could do it again?
• Were there any things that the other group interpreted differently than you intended? Why
do you think that happened?
5. Exit Slip
• Students complete their exit slip and hand it in as they leave class.
• What are the five ways we learn about a character?
• Are there any other ways we learn about a character that weren’t mentioned?

SCRIPT ANALYSIS: THE ACTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
INSTRUCTION: SESSION 2
1. Read a Scene
• Hand out a two-character scene. Have students read the scene to get familiar with it and to
understand the story.
2. Review
• Before you get into the exercise for this session, take the time to review the way we learn
about a character in a play:
1. What the character says
2. What the character does
3. What others say about that character
4. What the playwright says (in stage directions)
5. How that character treats others
• Let the students know that now is the time to figure out how to read the script in order to find
this information.
3. Exercise: Facts & Inferences
(Adapted from facts/assumptions exercise by Lindsay Price)
• Have students take out a sheet of paper and fold it in half “hot dog style” (or long ways) to
create 2 tall columns. Then have them fold the paper in half creating 4 blocks total. Have
them label the paper the following way:
Fact Proof
• Divide students into groups. Have them read aloud the scene. Start with the
a character in the scene and do the following:
• Read through the scene and find FACTS about the character – things that are actually said or
done that are in the script. Remind students that opinions or feelings are NOT facts.
• Have students place their facts in the “Facts” column in the top upper left. In the column
across from it, the “Proof” column, have them place the line of dialogue or the stage direction
that supports that proof. Remind them to be exact – it has to appear in the script in order
to be a fact.

• Have students turn the page over and do the same for the second character. Find facts, and
write in the proof.
• Next have them label the bottom boxes of the form with INFERENCE and PROOF.
• Now have the students read the scene again and have them make inferences about the
character. An inference is a conclusion drawn from evidence and reasoning. You can make a
strong guess about a character based on the things they say/do.
• Just like in the facts section, have students write down the inference and then write down
their proof.
• I like to remind my students that the purpose of this exercise is to really look at the text you’re
being given by the playwright. During the “Facts” pass, they need to be more literal. They
can look at exactly what is said, what punctuation is used, and how that affects what is said.
During the “inference” pass, they’re still looking at the language but they can put information
together to try to figure out things about the character.
4. Follow-Up Discussion
• Discuss as a group what facts/inferences students found in the script.
• What can we do with the information we learn about a character? How do we use what we
learn and share it as actors? Answers can include: Allow it to affect our behavior (for example:
show that Shelley is frustrated with Ben in the scene through her body language and facial
expression).
5. Exercise: Here Comes Charley
• This improv exercise applies the concept of putting learned information into a scene.
• Two students sit on a bench and talk about this person named Charley. It can be a classmate,
coworker, etc.
• Both actors on stage give clear, actable clues about a Charley.
• For example:
A: Wow, that new kid Charley is really interesting.
B: Yeah, he never stops moving.
A: Seriously. And he talks really loud.
B: His magic tricks are pretty cool though.
A: I just wish he wouldn’t throw the cards when he messes up.
• While this scene is happening, another actor is waiting offstage and listening.
• The teacher will finally say, “Come in, Charley.”
• When Charley enters, he or she has to remember and use everything they just heard. For
example, the Charley in the example above may enter and move around a lot, talk loud, and
show the other actors a magic trick that goes wrong which causes him to throw the imaginary
cards.
• The teacher should stop the scene once the Charley actor has incorporated everything that
was said about him or her.
6. Exit Slip
• Students complete their exit slip and hand it in as they leave class.
• What kinds of things can we learn about characters that would be helpful as an actor? Why
are they helpful? Use examples.

SCRIPT ANALYSIS: THE ACTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
INSTRUCTION: SESSION 3
1. Reflection/Think About it
•  As an actor, why is script analysis important?
2. Follow-Up Discussion
• Ask the students what they they think is necessary information for an actor to get from a
script. Answers may include the who, what, and where information of a scene.
• After discussing the basics, we can look at a scene and determine: who’s in it, where it takes
place, and the basics of “what’s going on” or given circumstances. Introduce the students to
the ideas of objective, obstacle, stakes, and tactics.
3. Stanislavski Introduction
• It’s time to introduce them to Constantin Stanislavski. The method students will use to gather
information stems from Stanislavski.
• There is a lot of information out there about Stanislavski, so pick and choose what you
share with them. Here are the highlights:
• Born in 1863 in Moscow.
• Was an actor and director.
• Founded the Moscow Art Theatre in response to what he thought was artificial acting
of the time period.
• He is the founder of a naturalistic approach to acting known as the Stanislavski method.
• He inspired many theatre teachers like Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, and
others who were members of The Group Theatre. These teachers interpreted, transformed,
and incorporated Stanislavski’s approach into their own.
• For this unit, we’re going to focus on four elements that originated in the Stanislavski
approach. There is also a handout to use, if you wish.
• objective – a character want, need, or goal
• obstacle – what gets in the way of the objective and causes conflict
• stakes – why the person wants what he or she does, what motivates them, what
they will gain or lose if they don’t get what they want
• tactics – what things characters do to get what they want, what strategies they use
• To explain all of these terms, I usually say the following to my students:
• Imagine that you want to go to the movies and you go to your mom, dad, or whomever
you live with and ask ‘Can I go to the movies?’ They say no. I’m sure all of you
say in response “That’s a great parenting choice. I’ll be in my room studying.”
• After the laughs and groans die down, remind them that wanting to go to the movies is
an objective and being told they can’t go is an obstacle. Review with them what tactics
they’d use to get what they want. Some answers could include: beg, bargain, pout.
Then talk to them about stakes:
• Imagine that instead of this just being any movie, it’s the movie you’ve been waiting
for for over a year. ALL of your friends will be there. You have reserved seats and all
the free popcorn you can eat. Will this change how you try to get your parents to
allow you to go to the movies? What types of tactics would you use then?
• The “I’d sneak out of the house” idea often comes up at this point.
• Remind them that those stakes just affected their behavior. It made them work harder to
get their objective and overcome their obstacle. That’s human behavior.
4. Exercise: Silent Ninjas
• Have the students sit in a large circle. Make sure there’s room around the outside of the circle.
• Select one student to sit in the center of the circle and blindfold them.
• Place 4 objects on 4 sides of the person in the center.
• Explain to the students that when you say “go,” one of them (a Ninja) is allowed to stand up
and move around the outside of the circle. Their objective is to walk around the circle, enter
back through their spot, pick up one of the 4 items, and then sit back down in their spot.
• While they’re doing this, the blindfolded person in the center is listening. They have 3 different
chances to point at the Ninja. If they successfully point to the Ninja, then the person
moving has to take the spot of the person in the center.
• As you introduce the game, have students identify the objective, the obstacle, and possible
tactics.
• First round should be just 1 person as a Ninja/Mover. In the second round, you can allow 2
people to be Ninjas/Movers. The first person to walk around the outside of the circle, take an
object, and sit back down in their seats wins (the round is over at this point).
• VARIATION: As a way to demonstrate “raising the stakes,” use coins as the objects. Start
with pennies and work up to quarters. Tell the kids that if they win they can keep the coins.
You can also use candy, if your school allows. Watch how much harder students try and how
much more they focus when the prize is something they can keep.
• The other thing this game does is encourage the idea of “taking turns.” Students have to
decide silently as a group who’s going to be the first Ninja. More dominant personalities will
probably go first. With each new round, make sure new students are trying the exercise.
5. Follow-Up Discussion
• Ask the students to define the objective of the ninja, their obstacle, their tactics, and what’s
at stake.
• Ask the students if raising the stakes affected the behavior of the ninjas. Why?
6. Exit Slip
• Students complete their exit slip and hand it in as they leave class.
• What are the four elements discussed in today’s class? Why are these important elements for
script analysis?

SCRIPT ANALYSIS: THE ACTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
INSTRUCTION: SESSION 4
1. Reflection/Think About It
•Think about your day so far and determine an objective for the day, an obstacle, and what tactics you have used to get your objective.
2. Follow-Up Discussion
• Have the students share what they wrote and review the concepts of objectives, obstacles,
stakes, and tactics.
• Ask them to think about raising the stakes in their situation and how that might affect their
behavior.
• EXAMPLE:
• They came to school hungry and wanted to get a snack from the vending machine but
didn’t have any money.
• They had a nice dinner last night and they weren’t too hungry, so they looked through
their backpack to see if they had any change. They didn’t, so they didn’t bother to get
a snack.
• Raise the stakes by telling them that they skipped dinner last night and didn’t eat breakfast
this morning. They look through their backpack and can’t find any change. How do
they get money?
3. Warmup: What?
• Have the students circle up.
• Go around the circle and have each student step forward and say “what.” They should try to
say it with a different intention each time. For example: angry, confused, embarrassed. Have
them think about the kind of situation they are in when they say “what.” Once they say it,
they step back into the circle.
• Keep going around the circle quickly as many times as you feel is productive.
4. Follow-Up Discussion
• What emotions do you remember standing out from this exercise? Why did they stand out?
Answers may include: angry because they used an angry loud tone and stood with their
hands on their hips.
• Ask them if they could imagine any characters from any of the “what”s that they saw and
heard. Example: Sue said “what” really loud and looked down a little bit. She seemed sort of
older so maybe she was a mom angry with a little kid.”
• Remind students that the audience only knows what we tell them and what we show them.
They aren’t in our heads and they don’t have a copy of the script. Actors have to apply their
script analysis to their performance. They have to “show” what they’ve learned.
5. Exercise: Open Scenes (Brief revisit)
• This exercise helps students apply or show objective, obstacles, tactics, and stakes within a
scene.
• Open scenes are also known as generic scenes or blank scenes. They have generic dialogue
that is “open” to interpretation.
• Group students in either pairs or groups of three and give them an open scene. You can have
multiple groups do the same scene. Open scene examples are included.
• The students will work to create meaning for the scene. Remind them that they’re working
backwards. Instead of trying to find the who, what, where, objective, obstacle, stakes, and
tactics in the dialogue, they’re actually adding these elements to the scene.
• Remind the students that they have to perform the scenes exactly the way they are. They can’t
change words, make contractions, or add/subtract punctuation. Remind them that that’s true
of any script – a playwright puts thought into each word, so it’s wrong to change it.
• They can do as much pantomime as they’d like or they can use actual props. Remind them
that the dialogue doesn’t have to start right away, if silent action helps establish the who,
what, and where.
EXAMPLE:
A: What’s that?
B: I don’t know.
A: Where’d you find it?
B: Over there.
A: No.
B: It’s your problem now.
Here’s what the students could create:
(A enters and sees B miming playing with a phone or iPad)
A: What’s that?
(trying to hide it from A)
B: I don’t know.
A: Where’d you find it?
B: Over there.
(A and B look at each other and start to fight over the object)
A: (yells) No!
(the object falls to the ground and breaks. B looks around to see if anyone saw)
B: It’s your problem now.
(B runs off)
• Give the students time to notate their open scene scripts and rehearse before they perform
them for the class.
• After a scene is performed, have the performing students stay onstage and remain quiet. Ask
the students in the audience to identify the following:
• Who were they?
• Where were they?
• What was there action/what were they doing?
• What was their objective?
• What was the obstacle?
• What tactics did they use?
• What were the stakes?
• Ask the audience how they could raise the stakes and what effect that would have on the
scene. Answers could include: it’s a really expensive iPad, the two characters hate each other
or are jealous of each other, etc.
6. Exit Slip
• Students complete their exit slip and hand it in as they leave class.
• How does an actor apply their script analysis to their performance? Use examples from class.

Assignments Due

ASSESSMENT Session 1
• Reflection: How do students respond to the prompt?
• Discussions & Observation of Exercises: Who is participating? What is their effort? 
• Students hand in their Exit Slip.

ASSESSMENT Session 2
• Discussions & Observation of Exercises: Who is participating? What is their effort? See the
Participation Rubric at the end of the unit.
• Students hand in their Exit Slip.

ASSESSMENT Session 3
• Reflection: How do students respond to the prompt?
• Discussions & Observation of Exercises: Who is participating? What is their effort? See the
Participation Rubric at the end of the unit.
• Students hand in their Exit Slip.

ASSESSMENT Session 4
• reflection: How do students respond to the prompt?
• Discussions & Observation of Exercises: Who is participating? What is their effort? See the
Participation Rubric at the end of the unit.
• Open Scene Rubric
• Students hand in their Exit Slip.

Additional Resources