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Six Characters in Search of a Play

Teachers' Rating:
  1 rating

Children's Shakespeare Festival

September 2011

Harvey Sadis is a retired K-5 drama teacher from

Seattle, WA and the recipient of the Washington State Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence


Plays/Scenes Covered
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1.2
What's On for Today and Why

Students will associate voice and movement with character traits and develop an understanding of the character traits and motivations of the ‘rude mechanicals” as they develop a play for the Duke and Duchess on their wedding day. 


  This lesson should take one 90 minute class period.

What You Need

Folger edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

3x5 index cards

Copies of A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 1, Scene 2

  • Teacher Resource- Mechanicals Occupation Guide

Mechanicals Name Connection Guide
Rude Mechanicals Playlet


What To Do
  • To get students ready to associate names with professions, introduce the following Alliterative Name Game first.
  • Have students stand in a circle. Leader should ask students to think of an adjective that starts with the same sound as their name (alliteration). Be sure your students understand the word alliteration. Review before starting. 
  •  Ask the students to create a gesture that goes with their alliterative adjective. For example: Harvey could be "Happy Harvey" with arms wide open and an exaggerated grin.
  •  Leader starts and says/does their alliterative adjective name and gesture and then the rest of the class repeat it simultaneously. Go to the next student in turn.
  •  Next, pass out 3x5 index cards and ask students to create a name, which corresponds to the kind of work they like to do or dream that they would like to do. i.e. William Landform, a geographer; Christopher Posthole, a fence builder; Eliza Shortstitch, a dressmaker.
  •  Have students get into groups of six (counting off) to write their names and professions. Within each group, students will announce their name and their group members will try to guess their professions.
  • Ask each student to develop a movement or quick series of movements which will indicate literally or metaphorically the kind of profession chosen.
  • Each student announces his/her name, profession, and demonstrate the movement while standing in the circle. The remaining students will then mimic the name, profession, and movement for each student, progressing around the circle.
  • Summarize briefly the scenes involving the "Rude Mechanicals'" and the tragi-comedy they are preparing to perform for the Duke and Duchess on their wedding day.
  •  Introduce the characters by name and indicate how their names are related to their professions. (See Teacher Resource Guide)Tell what the laborers are planning to do and why. 
  •  Before passing out "Rude Mechanicals" scripts, "perform" the first four lines of 1.2 for the class. Ask for student volunteers to assume Peter Quince's part, and Bottom's part. What did the class notice?
  • Engage the class in a discussion about the intent of the scene's first two lines. 
    1.  How should the characters enter?
     2. Does Bottom enter with the other workmen or does he stand apart?
     3. What is the status of both men within the group?
    4.  What movements or gestures would fit each character

How Did It Go?
  • Were students able to match a name to a line of work, striking a striking a pose or creating a movement that conveys a character trait?
  • Were students able to differentiate and name the motivations of the competing workmen, Peter Quince and Nick Bottom, just on the strength of seeing hearing and observing the first two lines of the scene?


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.

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