Performance Assignment

For this option, you will be responsible for producing a scene of about 10-15 minutes from any of the plays we read this semester. The “scene” doesn’t need to be a section of the text that your book’s editors have chosen—you can choose whatever section of the play you like.  You should also feel free to rearrange and edit the dialogue in the scene as you like, but all of the language needs to be from Shakespeare. Make sure, too, that you are doing actual interpretations and not just different acting styles (“serious” vs. “slap-stick”; “drunk” vs. “sober”). This should be a full, “off-book” (memorized lines!) production replete with blocking, props, and even sound or visual effects (if you choose).

I will not grade you on your acting ability, but I will be grading you on how thoughtful your interpretations are, how successfully you convey those interpretations to your audience, and on the overall quality of the performance.

Since this is also a writing project, you will also submit an “Actor’s Journal” that will be due on the day of your performance. The journal should contain the following:

  1. A Group Vision Statement. Roughly one page of the journal should be dedicated to explaining how you came up with your interpretation. What about the language of the scene led you to the ideas you had for shaping the performance?
  2. Select at least one performance of the scene to watch and analyze for your research. Write an analysis (as a group) of roughly two pages that addresses the following questions: Did you find this scene to be an inspiration to your own? What do you think is strong about the scene? What did you find lacking? Generally, what did you learn about your scene by watching others perform it?
  3. Individual Actor Statements. Each member of the group should also contribute roughly one to two pages that explain the choices you made in interpreting the role you were cast. How did you arrive at the decision to portray your character in the way that you did? What insights did you gain about this character from your reading of the play? Point to particular lines that you felt gave you a good understanding of the character (even if they are not in the scene that you performed)? How did you carry that understanding into this scene?
  4. Reflection Statement. Finally, your group should include roughly ½ page that explores further possibilities for your interpretation of this scene. If you were to produce an entire version of the play you chose, what would it look like? How would you use the insights of your interpretation to build a complete production of this play?


Requirement Assignment Demonstrates Mastery If:
Interpretations -Group presented a clearly defined interpretation of the scene.

-Interpretation was thoughtful, interesting, and showed real insight into the selected scene.

-Interpretation was complete and conveyed by elements such as props, staging, movement of the actors, positioning of the actors on stage, speech, sets, and other effects.

Presentation -Actors memorized their lines, perhaps with some occasional mistakes.

-Overall, the actors brought a lot of energy, fun, and enthusiasm to the performance.

Actors’ Journal -Vision statement clearly articulates the interpretation and the process of research and investigation that brought you to it.

-Discussion of other scene(s) is complete and thoughtfully engages the questions in the prompt.

-Actors statements reflect a thorough engagement with the text, as well as reflection on the place of the role in the scene.

-Reflection statement provides ideas about further possibilities for the interpretation.

Formatting and Presentation Journal is relatively free of grammatical and typographic errors, and is properly formatted:

Typed and double-spaced

12 pt. Font, Times New Roman

1 inch margins on top, bottom, left, and right

Title (but no title page)

Pages Stapled or clipped together


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