Pre-Reading A Midsummer Night s Dream: Elizabethan Theater

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1 Name: Drama Date: Class: Pre-Reading A Midsummer Night s Dream: Elizabethan Theater Today, most entertainment relies on visual storytelling (lights, sets, costumes, choreography, etc.) and we value performances that seem realistic. While watching the video clips and reading the article, consider how Elizabethan theater was the same or different. 1. At what time of day were the plays staged during the 1590s? 2. Were plays attended by people from different social classes? 3. In which ways was Elizabethan theater different than modern theater? (more than one correct answer) a. Female characters were played by male actors. b. The audience did not receive a program, but had to figure out setting & characters from the dialogue. c. There were no sets, backdrops, or special lighting. d. Costumes were very plain. 4. McDonald states that audience members had to activate and exercise their curiosity and intelligence at this type of theater. Why did they have to do so? 5. Predict: Given the simple, bare staging, how would a playwright use language to get the audience engaged in the story? 6. Read the first lines of a scene from Act 3 of A Midsummer Night s Dream. Given that the actors are on a bare stage, consider how the dialogue establishes the WHO, WHAT, WHERE. BOTTOM: Are we all met? QUINCE: Pat, pat. And here s a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorne brake* our tiring-house*, and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke. WHERE are the characters: WHO (what is their job): WHAT are they doing: * a type of bush *a dressing room, where actors change into costumes

2 Exploring A Midsummer Night s Dream During January, we will read the text of William Shakespeare s 1590s comedy, A Midsummer Night s Dream. We will read silently and aloud and use theater games to investigate the different characters and their circumstances. This unit will develop your close reading and literary analysis skills of challenging text. Understanding the text is the first crucial step in creating scenes. I hope this project will also help you appreciate why Shakespeare is considered the greatest English writer of all time, as well as the world s best dramatist. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: How is Shakespeare s use of language distinctive and significant? What do we learn about Elizabethan life from this play? What are the features of a Shakespearean comedy? OUTCOMES CCS.ELA.12.RIT.1 - Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. Arts02: I can analyze composition and how art elements relate to one another to form meaning/message. I can create artwork that is thoughtfully considered, personally meaningful, and related to themes and concepts. I can participate in all parts of the creative process. I can use theater-related vocabulary in written and spoken English. I can speak English with appropriate fluency, volume, stress, and intonation. ASSESSMENT Participation as a reader, in discussion, and in group activities. Reading Comprehension completing the comprehension question packet Close Reading Writing Analysis of Shakespearean language

3 Pre-Reading: Huh? Deciphering Elizabethan English While Shakespeare wrote in English, the language has changed in a few crucial ways in the past 400 years. Use the documents to note these differences. PRONOUNS Thee/Thou Thy/Thine Meaning/What we say today Example/Home Language Ye Verbs/Abbreviations The dreamer waketh You art Meaning/What we say today Example/Home Language Ope thine eyes! Disturb d Tis the hour of lunch Put the following examples into today s English: FAIRY: Are you not he? ROBIN: Thou speak st aright. I am that merry wanderer of the night. FAIRY: ROBIN:

4 Use the What Did Shakespeare Call You Handout and generate an insult for your name. Initial of Your First Name: Initial of Your Middle Name: Initial of Your Last Name: Write an insult: For example, Thou hast the face of a saucy, clay-brained measle! Use the What Did Shakespeare Call You Handout and generate an insult for your name. Initial of Your First Name: Initial of Your Middle Name: Initial of Your Last Name: Write an insult: For example, Thou hast the face of a saucy, clay-brained measle! Use the What Did Shakespeare Call You Handout and generate an insult for your name. Initial of Your First Name: Initial of Your Middle Name: Initial of Your Last Name: Write an insult: For example, Thou hast the face of a saucy, clay-brained measle! Thou art a

5 Who s Who: The Characters of A Midsummer Night s Dream There are FOUR main groups of characters in A Midsummer Night s Dream. Use the Dramatis Personae portion of the script (pg. vii-x) and the Photos to fill in the chart below. The Nobles Rude Mechanicals Lovers The Fairies Characters Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, Philostrate Bottom, Quince, Starveling, Snug, Flute Hermia Lysander Helena Demetrius Robin Goodfellow (Puck) Oberon Titania Mustardseed Cobweb Social Class Personality Prediction, based on the photos and Character Descriptions (What emotions or themes would you expect?) Now, create a Bippity Bippity Bop 3 person pose for your group which reflects the social class and personality. MIDDLE POSE: SIDE POSES:

6 Pre-Reading: Themes from A Midsummer Night s Dream Do Now: The following are provocative statements; they are designed to start discussion. For the purposes of the exercise, you must pick Agree (A) or Disagree (D) (even if you really think it depends J ) Statement Agree/ Disagree Reason Why 1. People in love act like idiots. 2. Teenagers should listen to their parents when it comes to relationships. 3. A couple that can t get along makes everyone s life hell. 4. Sexual attraction (lust) is not a good basis for a marriage. 5. It s healthy to occasionally lose your inhibitions and act crazy (be sexual, take drugs, be wild, roll & rock, etc.) 6. Love comes after marriage. 7. For a peaceful relationship, wives should let husbands win arguments. AFTER our discussion, choose ONE of the statements and write a journal entry about this theme. Why do you agree or disagree? Also, how do you think this theme will appear in the play?

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