Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Elizabethan Research Due! Brainstorming Ideas for the Play Project!

This morning complete the graphic organizer (to be turned in at the end of period 1 as participation credit & for your notes for our final exam) please use your time in the lab to take notes on the following topics:
  1. Elizabethan actors & acting troupes
  2. Elizabethan writers/playwrights
  3. Elizabethan stage craft & theaters
  4. Elizabethan audiences
  5. Elizabethan sports & leisure activities (apart from the theater)
  6. Elizabethan clothing & costumes
  7. One other area that you found interesting about the time period/setting (see last link below for some ideas...)
Some information has been given to you already in the text or the film links above.
and here...
and here...
and here...

Use your time wisely as you research. Review the instructions for the play project. You may use the rest of period 1 to brainstorm, outline, freewrite an idea for a play.

All plays start with a character in a place (setting: remember that setting is not only location but time period, time of day, season, and weather!) wanting to accomplish something, a goal. This goal could be internal and abstract like finding 'love' or exacting 'revenge' but it could also be a physical object or award/recognition: a sack of money, a wedding ring, winning a beauty contest, getting a promotion at work, straightening up your house for your mother before you kill yourself, making your boyfriend/girlfriend tell you that they love you and really mean it...etc. Then you add a few "buts", or "whoops", or "uh ohs" that complicate the situation so that the goal is delayed and difficult to achieve. 

You may find it helpful to look back at your list of premises or characters and previous scene work to see if there's anything in those exercises that spark your imagination now. If not, start fresh.
  • Who will your play be about? Who is the protagonist?
  • What does this character want to achieve or what is this character's goal?
  • What stops this character right now from getting what he/she wants?
  • Where will the action of the story take place? If you can, connect your setting to your theme or your character's goals. 'Night Mother, for example, takes place the evening Jessie is planning to kill herself. She wants to use her father's gun to do it, tell her mother, and keep the house tidy so mama doesn't have to worry after she's gone. The living room and kitchen is a good location for the setting because its ironic: living rooms are for living...not for committing suicide, for example. In Agamemnon, Clytemnestra needs to wait until her husband comes home before she can kill him. The action takes place just outside their palace (exterior) so that the chorus of old men makes sense in this case--representing the public, the chorus wouldn't be invited INSIDE--that's interior, as opposed to a social crime--like a war or taking law into your own hands. Outside or exterior settings are good when you want to talk about societal issues. Inside or interior settings are good when you want to talk about personal or character-specific issues. What kind of play would you want to write?
Create a few premises and sketch out or outline your ideas a bit before you start writing. You'll have to figure this stuff out anyway, better to do it now than start writing with a half-cracked idea that you will have to change when you realize it isn't an interesting story. But then, rest assured anything can be interesting if you have an interesting, well-created character.

If you have these basic ideas in mind, (again before writing) take some time to get to know your character. Do a "character interview" today by writing down the answers to these 15 questions from the POV of your new created character:
  1. What is your character's full name?
  2. What is your character's nick-name or childhood name? Why was this character given this name?
  3. What matters most to your character?
  4. What is the most important physical event that happened in your character's life so far?
  5. What is the most important internal or private event that happened in your character's life so far?
  6. Who is your character's best friend or friends?
  7. Why does your character like these people or this person?
  8. Who or what does your character not like or find difficult to spend time around? (this can also be an activity or a place/setting)
  9. Why does your character not like this person or place?
  10. What does your character say to the world that he or she wants?
  11. What does your character REALLY want?
  12. What is at stake for you character if he/she does not get what he/she wants?
  13. Who is your character's family or what is this family like?
  14. What personality trait does your character possess that others criticize?
  15. Describe the physical space or setting your character spends the most time in.


For other ideas connected to what we're studying, consider: if I were to write a play in the Elizabethan period (or using an Elizabethan setting) what kind of story would I tell from what I learned last class and today!

Shakespearean Diversions (see homework):
Watch any of the following scenes from some of Shakespeare's work. Notice how theme and character is developed in the language:
HOMEWORK: Please read Titus Andronicus (see handout). Help reading can be gained by checking here or here or online. Begin writing plays.

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