Othello Act IV Line Performance Preparations

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SWBAT analyze the development of theme in Act IV of Othello by preparing to perform what they believe to be the most significant line of the act.

Big Idea

Text...and subtext: Reading between the lines and thinking like an actor.


10 minutes

We will start class with our 10 minutes of reading time. I will read with the students today.

Overview of Line Performance Requirements

5 minutes

Now that the students have finished reading Act IV, we will spend a bit of time diving deep into the text and practicing our analysis skills.

I argue all the time with my common course teammates about whether or not it is valuable to take time to perform large chunks of Shakespeare. While I think this is a fun activity for students, I don't know that it has the value necessary for me to take time to do it well.

In diving into the Common Core Standards, I feel even more strongly that it is more important to hone our critical thinking skills so that we are looking at how Shakespeare uses language to create tone and meaning (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4) and then applying that understanding to a larger discussion of theme (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2). I want to make sure that what limited time I have can be spent improving those skills, which I can assess through authentic/real world speaking opportunities (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1) rather than staged performances.

That said, there is room for One Line Performances of the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6) and analysis of professional performances. We have already spent time doing some of this with our Act III listening activity and our viewing of bits of Act I. Today we will attempt to synthesize our skills by preparing single line performances.

I will hand out the Act 4 Line Performances to students and walk them through the steps to prepare for this assessment. I anticipate that they will struggle with picking a single passage to perform and will try to over-explain the importance of a sound justification vs. finding the "perfect" line. To help them with the back of the sheet, I will ask them to recall our discussion of Seinfeld's "Pretzels" clip and direct them to provide as much information as they can about the how and why of their performance.

Line Performance Preparation

15 minutes

Once we've gone over the assignment, I will set them free to work on their preparation sheet and to bounce ideas off of their peers/me. This is obviously not enough time (the pain of a shortened schedule), but I am hoping that they will at least choose their line and begin to think through their ideas for performance.

I will remind them towards the end of class that they need to be ready to perform at the beginning of class tomorrow.