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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Lesson Plan

Grades:

6-8

Lesson Plan:

Performance Spaces and the Production Process

Students learn how a performing arts center operates and the process of creating a performance.
  • Length: 50-90 minutes

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Student will identify and analyze the uses of different performance spaces/stages.
  • Student will explain the technical elements and collaborative process of theater.

Resource Used:

Electronic Field Trip to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
Found On: Aspects of Drama Part 4: Drama Across the Curriculum
Video Length: 00:56:32

Vocabulary

arena stage, technical elements, musical, proscenium stage, thrust stage
Materials

TV/VCR or DVD player, overhead projector

Handouts:

Instructional Strategies and Activities

Lesson note: This lesson uses the first 20 minutes of the Electronic Field Trip to the Kentucky Center, from the beginning of the program through the end of Act I. Throughout the activities in this lesson plan, you will find suggestions of places to stop the tape and discuss the concepts that have been introduced. However, depending on your students, you may choose to watch the entire segment and then discuss questions/concepts in the “Guide to the Kentucky Center” handout.


Before viewing the tape

Ask students whether they know what a “performing arts center” is. Accept reasonable responses. Explain that they are going to take a video tour of the Kentucky Center in Louisville and learn more about what goes on at a performing arts center.

Tell the students that they will learn about different types of stages, the different performance spaces in the center, ways of staging, the elements of drama, and the variety of performing arts disciplines. Give each student a copy of the “Guide to the Kentucky Center” handout to make it easier for them to understand what they need to look for as they watch the video.


Show the video excerpt

Start the video and run it until “Act I” flashes on the screen after the instrumental introduction. Stop and have students identify what they saw and make notes on their handouts. You may want to write responses on an overhead to help ECE students know what they need to write down.

Responses should include the following:

  • tickets being torn
  • theater patrons in lobby before performance
  • lights being adjusted
  • box office
  • blueprints for a set
  • a costume being made

Resume watching the video at the “Act 1” title. You may choose to point things out as students watch. Stop after the interview with the president of the Kentucky Center and have students respond to what they saw and heard and make notes on the handout. Write on the overhead as you go. (Choose key points or key words ahead of time to help direct students’ responses.)

Resume watching the video. Stop after the interview with the Walden Theatre representative. Discuss the things she talked about in terms of the technical elements; have students write responses on their handouts as you write them on the overhead.

Continue watching the video. Stop the tape after the section on Cheryl Skinner in the Todd/Clark Rehearsal Hall. Discuss this section, and have students write their responses on their handouts as you write them on the overhead.

Resume watching the video. Stop after the Louisville Ballet rehearsal is completed. Have students share what they learned, and have them write their responses on their handouts as you continue writing on the overhead.

Resume watching the video. The discussion will be about Whitney Hall and the other performance spaces. Stop the video after the discussion on the MEX. The tour guides will be talking about theater transporting audiences to faraway places. Discuss the different types of spaces in the center. Ask students to give examples of types of works they might want to see or be a part of in each of the spaces.

Resume watching the video; stop at the “Important Points” section. Discuss the rest of the handout with the students, and continue writing the answers on the handouts and the overhead.

Watch the last part of the video segment. After each point, have students complete the last section of the handout as the narrators are talking. You may need to pause the tape to give students time to write down the information.


After viewing the video excerpt

When you have completed the last section, review with students the technical elements, use of spaces, types of stages, and collaborative process. Allow them to ask questions about anything they didn’t understand. Have students answer the Essential Questions as homework.

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Extensions for Diverse Learners

  • Give ECE students the handout with the information already filled in and have them highlight the most important points as you are discussing them.
  • Allow students to work in pairs.
  • Gifted and talented students: Have students complete the entire process of producing a play. Have them choose a script and a space, build the set, etc., and perform it for an audience.
  • Research how IMAX theaters got started.
  • Research other arts centers and compare them to the Kentucky Center.
  • Take a class field trip to the Kentucky Center or another performing arts facility.

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Writing To Communicate

  • Personal expressive: Write a memoir about an important space in your life. What made it important? What were the attributes of the space?
  • Transactive: Attend a performance and critique how well the space was used. Discuss how the technical elements created the environment and/or set a mood.

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Applications Across the Curriculum

Language Arts

  • Read a variety of plays and discuss/compare the performance space needs for each.

Science

  • Analyze the acoustical properties of a performance space.

Mathematics

  • Create props for use in a theatrical performance.

Social Studies

  • Study the history and evolution of performance stages.

Practical Living

  • Produce a play supporting healthy lifestyles.

Vocational Studies

  • Apply the elements of performance to a job interview/interview questions.
  • Discuss the different jobs at the arts center. What qualifications would you need if you were interested in a specific job?
  • Volunteer for a community theater production and keep a journal of the job you perform. Make observations about other jobs as well.

Open Response Assessment

Prompt: Several theaters in the Kentucky Center provide spaces for artistic presentations.

Directions:

  1. Identify two of the four spaces.
  2. Compare and contrast the uses of the two spaces.

Open Response Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Student correctly identifies two of the four performance spaces and demonstrates extensive understanding of the spaces in comparing and contrasting their uses. Student communicates answer using many supporting examples and/or details. Student correctly identifies two of the four performance spaces and demonstrates broad understanding of the spaces in comparing and contrasting their uses. Student communicates answer somewhat effectively, using some supporting examples and/or details. Student correctly identifies two of the four performance spaces and demonstrates basic understanding of the spaces in comparing and contrasting their uses. Student communicates answer acceptably, using a few examples and/or details. Student correctly identifies two of the four performance spaces and demonstrates minimal understanding of the spaces in comparing and contrasting their uses. Student uses minimal or no supporting examples and/or details. Blank or irrelevant answer.

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Performance Assessment

Performance Event: You are an artist looking for a space appropriate for a performance. You may be a musician, a visual artist, a theater director with a large or small cast, a poet, or a lecturer. You are considering the Kentucky Center as the performance space. Before the center will consider renting a space to you, you must develop a presentation to outline your needs and convince the managers that your production is appropriate for the organization.

Directions:

  1. Identify your arts discipline, the presentation you wish to produce, and the Kentucky Center space you want to use.
  2. Explain why your performance fits into the space you have chosen.
  3. Discuss any visual aids or demonstrations you might include in your presentation.

Performance Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Student exhibits extensive understanding of the performance space and performance needs, demonstrating extensive critical thinking skills and creativity. Student completes all aspects of the task in an insightful and thorough manner. Student exhibits broad understanding of the performance space and performance needs, demonstrating broad critical thinking skills and creativity. Student is somewhat insightful in completing all aspects of the assignment in an effective manner. Student exhibits basic understanding of the performance space and performance needs, demonstrating some critical thinking skills and creativity. Student attempts to complete all aspects of the assignment but may be unsuccessful in addressing some parts of the task. Student works on assignment, but answer demonstrates minimal understanding of the spaces and space needs. Student demonstrates use of few critical thinking skills and minimally completes the assignment. No answer or irrelevant answer.

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Academic Content


Academic Expectations:

  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances.
  • 2.24: Students appreciate creativity and the value of the arts and humanities.

Program of Studies:

  • Explain the functions and interrelated nature of scenery, props, lighting, sound, costumes, and makeup in creating an environment appropriate for drama.
  • Discuss types of staging and stage directions appropriate for dramatic works.
  • Suggest staging for a short script or study that considers character movements and interactions and the needs of the audience.

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.1: Students will (identify or describe) (analyze) compare or evaluate the use of elements of drama in a dramatic work (literary, technical, performance).
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.2: Students will describe how the technical elements (staging, scenery, props, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound) communicate setting and mood.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.4: Students will identify and describe the types of stages (arena, thrust, proscenium).

Author:

Sherry Tucker

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