K-12EducatorsLearnersThe Arts

About Drama

This collection of video clips on the history of theater, the creative process, and theater production is included in the Drama Arts Toolkit.

History of Theater

KET Distance Learning instructor Liz Jewell discusses the history of the theater from ancient Greece to the 20th century. She covers the Greek development of the stage, the Roman contribution of pantomime, the processionals of the Middle Ages, commedia dell’arte, Shakespeare, 17th-century French comedy, and the contributions of Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov to the modernization of theater. This excerpt is from the Theater Basics section of the KET Distance Learning series Humanities Connections. This series for teachers and students in grades 7-12 explores the basics of dance, theater, music, and the visual arts. Each of the sections includes two teacher broadcasts for background and two student broadcasts for use in class. The 16 segments are numbered consecutively, but any of the “Basics” programs may be a starting place.

Suggested Uses:
Use as an overview to begin a theater unit.
Use portions as appropriate in conjunction with the study of specific plays.
Combine the section on commedia dell’arte with the Pinocchio segment to explore/analyze this genre.
Use to compare/contrast various types of theater or periods in theater history.

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Introduction to Greek Drama

KET Distance Learning instructor Liz Jewell explains characteristics of Greek drama, including the parts of the stage, the role of the chorus, costumes and set, and the role of drama in Greek life. The excerpt is from the KET Distance Learning series Humanities Through the Arts, a stand-alone class with 67 broadcasts. The series can be used as a full course with a teacher partner or as a resource. The class begins with African and tribal art and then follows a chronological pattern.

Suggested Uses:
Use as an introduction to Greek history and culture.
Analyze the influences of Greek drama on the development of theater (stage, costumes, masks).
Compare/contrast classical drama with modern theater.
Use with “Little Jack and Big Jack” to compare/contrast costuming, set, and role of chorus.
Use in combination with reading a Greek play.

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The Rehearsal Process: Heartbreak House

Producing Director Jon Jory and Dramaturg Michael Dixon, formerly of Actors Theatre of Louisville, discuss playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and his play Heartbreak House. Then actors in the ATL production of the play read a scene, rehearse it, discuss character development and motivation, and perform the scene in costume and on set. The excerpt is from Program 15, “Drama,” of KET’s GED Connection series. Created to help adult learners prepare for the GED test, this series includes 39 half-hour documentary-style programs in five subject areas: Writing, Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Working professionals as well as adult students and teachers cover basic concepts in each subject area.

Suggested Uses:
as an introduction to George Bernard Shaw/modern theater
to explore the collaborative process of theater
to analyze character development
to explore how elements of production contribute to the effectiveness of a play
for an insight into acting
to explore the influences of time and culture on art

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Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre

Tucked away in a small town in southcentral Kentucky’s cave country is a remarkable regional theater company: Horse Cave Theatre, which has been bringing both stage classics and original dramas to audiences from throughout the region since 1977. This KET video field trip goes behind the scenes to explore what it takes to mount a theatrical production and to meet the people whose professionalism and dedication to both theater and education make Horse Cave a vibrant part of its community. The 2001 KET production was shot during a 25th-anniversary restaging of George Bernard Shaw’s Candida, the play with which Horse Cave Theatre began its first season. The program includes excerpts from rehearsals of that production, as well as a segment from Liz’s Circus Story, a play by Kentuckian Liz Fentress.

Suggested Uses:
Use in sections to introduce elements of production and performance.
Introduce theater careers.
Analyze how theater is a collaborative process.

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