Jaime Wong teaches English at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Sudbury, MA
Macbeth but could be adapted for any play.
What's On for Today and Why
One dynamic and exciting way for students to experience Shakespeare is by working collaboratively to perform scenes. In this activity, students prepare for this type of group project by viewing a short video entitled, Directing Macbeth, (part of the series of special features on the Folger/Two River Theatre Production of Macbeth) in which directors and actors reflect on the process and value of collaboration and performance.
This lesson will take 1 x 50 minute class period.
What You Need
Folger edition of Macbeth
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
DVD of Macbeth, produced by Folger Shakespeare Library/TwoRiver Theatre Company
Getting the Company Ready
What To Do
1. Organize your students into groups and assign them a scene to prepare for either a class performance or a Shakespeare festival.(For more information on festivals, please visit www.folger.edu/festivals)
2. Introduce the video by explaining that it is a short documentary on the making of a 2008 Folger theatre/Two River Theatre company production of Macbeth.
3. Ask students to consider the questions on the student handout.
4. After watching the video, lead students in a discussion of their responses.
Question 4 concerning making Shakespeare accessible to a modern audience may generate the most interesting talking points.
Question 5 concerning goals could be postponed until the end of the project so that students can reflect on their experience.
How Did It Go?
Did the student performances reflect an appreciation and understanding of the issues raised by the video documentary? Were students able to identify ways to make Shakespeare more accessible to a modern audience? Did the students understand the value of working collaboratively and did they practice this in their group activity?
Students could follow up this activity with more detailed assignments on editing text.The issues explored in the DVD can be applied to any play while preparing for a performance.
If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.