1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises
2. TITLE: "As You Like It 1.2.231-260.: Playing the
3. GOALS: To help students explore various possibilities of action, character
motivation and dramatic effect.
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: At least 10.
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Copy of scene section, or paperback editions,
for actors to use.
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: One hour.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Ask for two volunteers from the class who would
like to experiment with directing a short scene. Then let the directors
cast students as Orlando, Celia and Rosalind. Give them 15 minutes in private
to read through the scene, discuss characters' actions and motivations,
and try out some blocking, led by the director. Then have each group perform
for the rest of the class, with the remainder of the students jotting down
any particularly notable moments, or questions that the performances raise.
Allow some time for the "audience's" responses to the scene, and
then ask for the directors', and actors', comments.
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION AND DISCUSSION: Ask actors and directors to think
about the following questions (or others): How can an audience "tell"
that Rosalind and Orlando fall in love? What is Celia's response, and how
does she complicate the scene? Why does Rosalind say, "He calls us
back?" How do you want the audience to respond to this moment? How
can you achieve that response?
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: N.A.
10. ADDITIONAL READING: Select sections from Penny Gay's Shakespeare's
Unruly Women or Carol Rutter's Clamorous Voices,
for example, and ask students to try performing the scene in a way which
would lead logically to the actions and characterizations of certain historical
11. VARIATIONS: Reverse the order of the initial process, by asking for
volunteers from the class to play the characters; then ask them to select
a director to work with. Or you can ask the actors to direct themselves.
Or you can select directors and actors, based on your own knowledge of your
students, and what they might need. Or ask the class as a whole to direct
initially, OR to re-direct the scene after the actors have performed their