The Use of Acting Technique to Describe Character
— A Demonstration Using Film Clips from Stage Beauty
Subject: Drama/Shakespeare; Characterization
Ages: 14+; High School Level
Length: Film Clip: Two clips of approximately 18 minutes total; Lesson: One and one half 45 to 55 minute class periods.
Excerpts from the Complete Snippet Lesson Plan
Note to Teachers: This snippet will be helpful for students in English or Drama classes who are going to read, watch, or perform any play, particularly Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, or Hamlet.
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will experience the importance of actors' body language, facial expressions, inflection, tone and volume to communicate ideas and feelings in the description of character in staged presentations.
Rationale: By sensitizing students to the presentation of character in dramatic presentations, this snippet will prepare them for reading, watching or performing any play that relies on a close study of character.
Description of the Film Clips: The clips consist of scenes showing two different performances of Desdemona's death scene from Shakespeare's Othello.
USING THE FILM CLIPS IN THE CLASSROOM
1. Review the Snippet and to make sure it is suitable for the class. Review the Lesson Plan and decide how to present it to students, making any necessary modifications. Decide whether to supplement or edit the introduction suggested below.
2. Practice finding each of the film clips on the DVD. Cue the DVD to the beginning of the first film clip and make sure that all necessary materials are available.
Step by Step
1. Deliver an introduction including the following information. Delete or add information, depending upon the sophistication and needs of the class.
This lesson will provide an example of two different acting styles and demonstrate how acting can bring out the potential of the words in a script. The scenes shown in the these two clips come from Shakespeare's play Othello. The play takes place during the Middle Ages in the Italian city state of Venice. At that time Venice was a Christian naval and military power. Its wealth came from its strategic location on trade routes leading to Western Europe from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Spices and other goods were transported on Venetian ships to Europe. [Show the location of Venice on a map.]
Othello is a Moor, a Muslim of dark complexion from North Africa or the Middle East, who rose to prominence as a general in the Venetian military. In the course of the play he falls in love with Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of an aristocratic Venetian family. . . .
The Snippet Lesson plan then provides teachers with the rest of the introduction, discussion questions and class activities
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The two film clips from Stage Beauty recommended in this Snippet Lesson Plan contrast traditional and modern acting styles.
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