Author: Scott O'Neil teaches at North Harford High School, Pylesville, MD
Editor: Greta Brasgalla, Folger National Teacher Corps and Curriculum Specialist at El Dorado High School, El Paso, TX
Common Core Anchor Standards: R.1, R.3, R.4, SL.1
Texts: Any complex text, Shakespeare or non-Shakespeare.
Students will perform a close reading of a scene from Shakespeare (or another complex text). Students will evaluate the more important elements of a scene including plot, tone, and movement.
Time: One to two 45-minute class periods
- Copies of a particular scene for editing.
- Handout: Cutting a Scene
What To Do
- Have students discuss the main criteria for editing or cutting a scene:
- What does the audience HAVE to know?
- Does the scene still make logical sense after the cuts?
- Is the storyline still clear?
- Are there any key words/phrases that must be retained?
- Divide students into groups of four or five and distribute copies of a scene with which students are familiar.
- Have students read through the scene together aloud and discuss options for where cuts could occur. Give the students a percentage of text to cut: 20 lines, 50%, etc.
- You can also have the students add a certain number of tone words, stage movements, and stage business to the prompt book.
- Students can also add one of the following: a moment of laughter, a moment of crying, a ten second pause, a tableau, a modern prop, a whisper, a line spoken directly to the audience, or a line spoken chorally.
- Students can also add one costume change (a hat, a scarf, etc) and one prop.
- All movements, tone words, extras must be written into the prompt book. Colored pens and highlighters make this easier to read.
- Allow students time to practice after they have made their scene cuts.
- Allow students some time to finalize their rehearsals.
- Have students perform their cut scenes to each other and discuss their editing choices.
- Have students evaluate the other group’s performance. Did you understand the cuts the group made? Was the scene understandable? What was your favorite part?
- Groups will hand in completed prompt book for the teacher to assess.