PRE-SHOW ACTIVITIES HOW DOES A PLAYWRIGHT WRITE A SCENE TO EXPLORE SIBLING RIVALRY? (Common Core Code: CCSS.ELA.W11-12.3.B) Before seeing Sam Shepard’s play, students explore playwriting, inspired by the play’s central conflict. PREPARE BRAINSTORM WRITE
Read “Fraternal Rivalry and Responsibility” on page 7. Discuss the archetypes of sibling rivalry in the examples, or other stories students may know.
Ask students to think about their own relationships with siblings, if they have them. Make a list of traits that describe how they see themselves as siblings and how they would describe their siblings (e.g. protective, competitive, etc.). They will select from these traits to create two sibling characters.
Students may work in pairs or independently. Using the script template provided HERE, have students sketch their characters, identify a conflict, and choose a setting. A suggested opening line is provided, or they may choose their own. Provide a minimum of how many lines their scene should be (8-10 speeches per character is a good start, but you may extend or shorten).
Have students read or act out their scenes.
What traits did they choose to give their sibling characters? What types of conflicts are explored in the scenes? How are these conflicts similar to, or different from, the examples they read about in the article?
HOW DOES A PLAYWRIGHT TURN THEIR REACTIONS TO A LOCATION INTO A STORY THEY CAN SELL? (Common Core Code: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.D)
Before seeing True West, students immerse themselves in the unique imagery of the American West and explore one part of the filmmaking process.
Distribute or project photos of American Western deserts. You may choose to utilize the images of the American West provided HERE. Encourage students to envision themselves in the photos. What does the landscape feel like? What can you hear? How far away is the closest person? What is exciting about being in the desert? Are there any potential threats around you?
Share an example of a film treatment provided HERE with students. Highlight defining aspects of a treatment such as the use of present tense to describe action, precise and detailed descriptions of the visuals of the scene, and references to the envisioned style of production.
Ask students to individually write treatments for a short film that takes place in the American West. Remind them that successful treatments are filled with enough detail for the reader to clearly envision the world and feel as if they are a part of it.
Allow students who are willing to share their treatment to pitch it to the rest of the class. Encourage students to go beyond reading their treatment and elaborate on how they envision it looking on a screen. The students who chose not to share their treatment take on the role of the producers who get to select which treatment they would like to turn into a movie.
20 ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
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