1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Parallel Scenarios"
3. GOALS: To explore a short scene through different readings on stage; to learn to extrapolate from the interpretation of a key scene consequences for the understanding of the whole play.
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 10 to 25
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: scripts
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 35 to 60 minutes
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:
A. Leader prepares four different readings, summarized in writing, of one short scene or section of scene. Each reading is an interpretation of how the scene should be played; these may be called "scenarios."
B. Students divide into four groups.
C. Each group receives copies of one scenario and scripts for the scene.
D. Each group casts itself, discusses the scenario and rehearses the scene according to that scenario for 20 minutes.
E. Each group performs the scene for the other participants.
F. After each group's performance, the other participants note down impressions for two minutes.
G. Everyone joins into a discussion afterwards.
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
A. Which scenarios set up choices that must result in consequences later on in a full-length production of the play?
B. Which scenarios solve problems posed by the playtext?
C. Do any of them pose new problems for interpreters? If so, what are they?
D. What new thing did anyone notice about the scene in one of its versions?
E. Did the audience "pick up" the intended interpretation? Could the onlookers reconstruct what each scenario must have been?
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Lois Potter
10. ADDITIONAL READING: For sample scenarios, see Robert Hapgood, Shakespeare, the Theatre-Poet.
11. VARIATIONS: Have students devise their own scenarios in advance.