|In this lesson, students will investigate selected Canadian plays for messages and themes related to the diversity of voices in Canadian theatre. Having read plays independently in small groups, students will form initial responses to their chosen plays, chart the messages, issues and themes that are emerging in their scripts, and begin forming ideas for their "pitch production" summative assignment.||
How do plays reflect aspects of Canadian society and culture?
What are the social and/or political issues raised in Canadian plays?
How does drama reflect the identities and experiences of those who create it and view it?
How can drama be an effective tool for the expression of Canadian identity?
How does Canadian theatre reflect the diversity of the Canadian experience?
Why is it important for Canadians to see and support Canadian theatre?
B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ drama works
B1.2 analyze a variety of contemporary and historical drama works to explain and evaluate how they communicate themes and dramatize issues
B2. Drama and Society: demonstrate an understanding of how societies present and past use or have used drama, and of how creating and viewing drama can benefit individuals
B2.1 demonstrate an understanding of how drama questions social and cultural conditions
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
Students will be familiar with the basics of scripted plays, including given circumstances, obstacles and objectives.
Prior to this lesson, students will have formed groups and selected from a variety of Canadian plays representing different voices in Canada (see Appendix #1 for a list of suggested Canadian plays). Students will have read their chosen play independently or in-class in a small group. Alternately, students could read one chosen play as a class and/or viewed a play as part of a field trip.
Students will have also read or researched the biography of the playwright of their selected script.
Copies of selected Canadian scripts or a class set of one script
|Approximately 20 minutes
Pause and Ponder
Small Group > Initial Responses to Script
Have students meet in their small groups based on their selected scripts. One by one, students share an initial response to their script, using the following prompts, written on an anchor chart, as a guide.
My first reaction to this script while reading was. . .
Small Group > Sculpting Images
Invite each group member to act as a sculptor to produce a tableau using the other group members. The tableau should express their own personal initial reaction to the play (this can be a concrete image or abstract image dealing with their feelings about the play). Each of the groups will then join up with another group and share their tableau reactions, with each creator making a statement about what they were trying to communicate through their image. Each of these larger groups will then select one image to share with the whole class.
Whole Class > Debrief Discussion
Invite students to present two or three of the selected images to the class. Facilitate discussion about these images, encouraging students to give feedback to each other on the images they did not view in the previous activity while the sculptor remains silent.
Key Questions for Discussion:
What is your first impression of the image presented?
After the students have responded to the image, invite the sculptor to make a statement about the concept they wanted to communicate to their audience.
Assessment for Learning (AfL)
Circulate as students retell the plots of their plays to gauge their level of understanding, and add additional information or scaffolding as necessary.
Give feedback to groups on their summaries, concept maps and 5W Planning Sheets to assist them in the development of their pitches.
Assessment as Learning (AaL)
Have peers provide feedback to each other on their initial response tableaux.
Assessment of Learning (AoL)
Co-create success criteria of an effective Pitch Presentation with students. Use this criteria as the basis for a rubric and/or checklist for evaluation of Pitch Presentations.
Some students may use drawing or sketching to produce graphic representations of their reactions, or they may sketch the other groups presenting their tableaux.
Students may benefit from seeing a live or filmed version of their play script.
Link and Layer
Connect students' discussion of their plays to earlier lessons that focused on the complex nature of Canadian identity.
Allowing students to select the plays that interest them will lead to greater engagement with the text.
Depending on students' interest and ability, consider having the class study one selected play script together and present different pitches on the same play.
After presenting their final pitches, have an anonymous vote to determine the pitch that will be "produced."
Hyperlinks in the Lesson
Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia
|Approximately 30 minutes
Small Group > Play Retell
Have students reform their script groups and sit in a circle. Inform them that they will have a limited amount of time (5 minutes) to retell the plot of the play they have read. They may begin with a volunteer, or take turns, with each person retelling part of the plot of the play.
Distribute chart paper and markers to groups. Ask them to consider their retell and to make a list or timeline of the major events of the play. Then, have students use these details to craft a one-paragraph summary of their play that does not give away the ending. Consider using models of summaries from recent local plays performed in the community or from the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia (see Hyperlinks).
Whole Class > Discovering the Issues Concept Mapping
Ask groups to consider the issues raised in their respective plays. These issues may relate to Canadian identity, important social or political issues, or major themes in the play.
Introduce the idea of concept mapping using BLM #1 Discovering the Issues Concept Map Model. Project the model concept map on an overhead or data projector and brainstorm major issues together, using an example play from the class.
Pairs > Think Pair Share
Pair students so that they are working with someone who has read the same play as they have. Have them fill out copies of BLM #2 Blank Concept Map together, circulating and side coaching as needed. Prompts: How might your describe the setting of the play briefly in the top box? Who is the protagonist of the story? What are the major themes and issues in the play, and how to they relate to our ongoing discussions about Canadian identity? What point of view is being expressed by playwright on this issue?
Whole Class > Discussion
When students have completed their templates, ask them to consider the "voice" represented in their play. Use the following questions to facilitate a whole class discussion and/or assign questions as journal responses.
Key Questions for Discussion:
What specific regional location, cultural or social group is given voice in your chosen play?
Use student responses to frame the introduction of the summative assignment outlined in the Consolidation portion of the lesson.
|Approximately 30 minutes
Small Group > Production Pitch Summative Assignment
Distribute copies of the summative assignment BLM #3 Canadian Voices Production Pitch and BLM #4 5W Pitch Planning Sheet and review the expectations of the assignment with the class. In this assignment, they will be pitching their own original production of their play to a group of producers interested in promoting Canadian voices in theatre. They will be responsible for creating an inventive pitch that includes information about where, when and why they would stage their play for a specific Canadian audience.
To begin brainstorming for their Production Pitch, groups should complete their Pitch Planning Sheet, using the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, why) as their guide. Collect planning sheets and offer formative feedback on their choices.
This lesson would be followed by in-class rehearsal and computer lab time for students to create and rehearse their pitch presentations. Finally, students would perform their pitches to the class and be evaluated on their presentations.