Monday, December 12, 2011

Creating Believable Characters: For Semester Exam


DIRECTIONS:  Use this character analysis sheet to create believable characteristics for the character in your monologue.  You will have to create the information based on what you do know about the character.  Be specific!  Please write in full sentences as much as possible.

1.  Name

2.  Birthdate

3.  Birthplace

4.  Age

5.  Family status

6.  Education

7.  Economic status: growing up and now

8.  Where do they live:  city, apartment/house, etc.

9.  Occupation

10.  Physical Appearance:  how different from your own (actor)

1.  5 adjectives to describe personality

2.  Hobbies

3.  3 goals in life

4.  Strengths/Weaknesses

5.  Major influences in their life: past and present

6.  Clothing Style

7.  Major relationships in life

8.  What is the relationship to the “other person”/Silent Partner in the monologue?

 9. How do you feel about this person (past and present)?

1.  Usual positive/negative emotions

2.  How does character normally react to tense, happy, sad, etc. situations?

3.  States of emotion in monologue: beginning, middle, end

4.  Mental state of mind

1.  Habitual gestures/facial expressions

2.  Posture (how do they stand) and movement (how do they walk)

3.  Vocal characteristics (talk fast/slow, high/low, nasally?, etc.)

4.  Health

5.  How will you physicalize your emotions as this character?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Week in Theater II: 11/28 - 12/2

Monday, 11/28: Last day to complete OPENING STATEMENTS and WITNESS STATEMENTS.  Must be turned in at the end of class.

Tuesday, 11/29: Witnesses and attorneys in our mock trial will begin rehearsal work and preparation for the trial (attorneys will complete direct examination forms).

Wednesday, 11/30: Rehearsal and preparation for trial.

Thursday, 12/1: Possible first day of trial.

Friday, 12/2: Possible second day of trial.  (Come see CSI: Ellison Improv perform Friday, 12/2 at 7pm in the auditorium!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Children's Hour: Mock Trial Assignment

Here's the list of witnesses and attorneys for each Theater II class's mock trial covering "The Children's Hour."  The PLAINTIFFS are Karen and Martha (KM) and the DEFENDANT is Mrs. Tilford (T).  The letters KM and T denote witnesses and attorneys for each side. 

Please re-read Act I and II to find the truth according to your character/witness or client(s)!  We will begin trial preparations on Monday 11/21 and continue after Thanksgiving break (11/28).  The trial date has not yet been set.  You may begin work on Witness Statements and Opening/Closing Statements.

Period 1:
Thomas – Rosalie KM
Naomi – Helen KM
Joseph – Agatha
Jacob – Joe KM
Destiny – Mrs. Wells KM
Alexis – Evelyn KM
Tera – Karen KM
Cassidy – Martha KM
Ayanna – Peggy T
Macy – Mrs. Tilford T
Brittani – Mrs. Munn T
Raije – Mrs. Burton T
Alea – Mary T
Willie – Mrs. Mortar T

James KM
David KM
Derek KM
Akilah KM
Taylor KM
LaurenV T
Meghan T
LaurenP T
Yari T
Nykasya T
Tre’sean T


Period 3
Rosalie KM Ashley
Helen KM Brittany
Mrs. Wells KM Maryah
Joe Cardin KM Kyle
Martha KM Analicia
Evelyn KM Mark
Karen KM Jayda

Mrs. Mortar T Nelson
Peggy T Michelle
Mrs. Tilford T Richard G
Mrs. Munn T Jessica
Mary T Shanee
Mr. Burton T Orlando
Agatha T Fallon

Garrett T
Richard B T
Whitney T
Shaylee T
Tony KM
Adam KM
Rene KM

Monday, November 14, 2011

This Week in Theater II: 11/14 - 11/18

Monday 11/14: Read "The Children's Hour."  Discussion and questions.

Tuesday 11/15: Read "The Children's Hour." Discussion and questions.

Wednesday 11/16: Read "The Children's Hour."  Discussion and questions. Plot and character review.

Thursday 11/17: Read "The Children's Hour."  Discussion and questions.  Plot and character review.

Friday 11/18: "The Cask of Amontillado" presentation in auditorium by Theater III/IV.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Letter to Parents: "The Children's Hour"

November 7, 2011

Re: Theater Arts II Upcoming Events and Projects
To the Parents/Guardians of Theater II Students:
In our Theater Arts II class, we are about to begin reading the classic drama “The Children’s Hour” by Lillian Hellman.  This play opened on Broadway in 1934 to much critical acclaim.  It has been adapted into various films over the years, and has recently been revived in London’s West End, starring Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss.
Ms. Hellman’s work depicts the experiences of two headmistresses of an all-girls’ boarding school as they battle a hateful rumor spread by their pupils.  The play discusses the all too familiar themes of slander, lies, and gossip, and the ways that these spiteful and malicious things can ruin lives.
In reading this play, our class is also going to embark on a mock trial project, which will give these students practical ways in which to use their theater skills in a related profession. 
Should you have any further questions or require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience. 
Meredith Yanchak
Ellison High School                        

This Week in Theater II: 11/7-11/10

11/7: Complete "hotseat" from Imaginary Friend assignment.

11/8: Complete "hotseat" from Imaginary Friend assignment.  Begin reading "The Children's Hour" by Lillian Hellman.

11/9: Continue "The Children's Hour."

11/10: Continue "The Children's Hour."

11/11: No school!  Thank a veteran for their service!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Week in Theater II: 10/31-11/4

10/31: Finish work on character Polaroid/

11/1: Polaroids due.  Partner pantomime assignment using "imaginary friends."

11/2: Present/perform pantomime.  (Say that three times fast!)

11/3: Bring your imaginary friend to school day.  (Make sure to wear your polaroid and introduce your friend to your teachers.)  Hotseat characters in class.

11/4: Complete hotseat characters in class.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Characterization Project: Imaginary Friends

Step 1 began TODAY. 

Using your 5 observations, combine your choice of external and internal character traits to make ONE AMAZING ORIGINAL CHARACTER. 
Write a one-page scene of dialogue that introduces your character.  This should be YOU talking with your imaginary friend.  Don't forget to give them a name.  This is your chance to let them have a VOICE.

Step 2 begins tomorrow!

Characterization Assignment

The 5 Observations assignment is at the end of the following PPT.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tragedy Project: 10/3 - 10/7

10/5: Typed scripts due in correct format.

10/5 - 10/7: Rehearsals and mask work.

10/10: Touch-up rehearsal!

10/10 - 10/11: Performances of Greek Tragedy project.  (Lines do not have to be memorized!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SUMMATIVE Project: Make Your Own Greek Tragedy Theater II

Students will use elements of the Greek Theater (esp. tragedy) to write, rehearse, and perform an adapted work. Students will understand the theatrical format, practices, and traditions associated with this historical period.

Project Description:
• Each group will write, rehearse, and perform a play according to the traditional Greek tragedy format. Groups must choose a familiar story from history or from fiction to dramatize.
(Although of course real tragedy always ends unhappily, it is not so easy to find familiar stories in this day and age that don't have happy endings, so you are not required to give your play a "tragic" ending.)

• Everyone in the group will be an actor. You may have as many characters as you want, as long as you never have more of them onstage at one time than you have members in your group.

• The "audience" will serve as chorus. You must make time to type up JUST the cues and chorus parts on ONE or TWO pages. We will use the document camera to project the lines for the audience to read, so please make the font large (14-20pt) and dark (bold).
(You must be sure that the lines for the chorus are presented clearly so that the "audience" will be able to "perform" them without rehearsal.)

• Your group will make all necessary masks for your characters. We won't worry about masks for the chorus, but be sure the text tells us who the chorus is supposed to represent (elders, citizens, members of the court, etc.)
(Masks can be made of all sorts of materials: paper plates, cardstock, construction paper… The sky’s the limit. I’ll have SOME materials for you to use, but be thinking about what you can reuse or recycle to make a good mask.)

• Scripts must be in proper format. (See Script Format below.)

• You will not be required to memorize your lines, but you ARE expected to know them without staring at the script.

• You are not required to use props or scenery, but if you want to do so, you will need to make or find what is necessary.

• At the completion of the project you will hand in your script, and your grade will be based both on the script and the performance.

Name ____________________________________________________ Class Period __________

Please fill in the due dates accordingly in the chart below.


Greek Theater notes and history (In journal)
Script outline approved.
Script rough draft approved.
Submit script final draft for approval.
Masks due.
Final rehearsal.

Script format:
Attached is an example of acceptable script format. Scripts must be TYPED in 10-12 font.
No more than 1” margins, please. Please remember to give your script a title!

I will grade the group as a whole and you will also receive an individual grade for participation (10 points per day) based on my observations. The group performance rubric is below. Please hand this sheet in BEFORE your performance!


Script Format
Script is not formatted properly.  Script is not titled.
Script is titled, but not formatted properly.
Script was missing two elements of format (title, font, margins, or correct layout).
Script was missing one element of format.
Script format was correct.

Structure of Greek Theater

Script is missing four or more elements of structure or sequence.
Script is missing three elements of structure or sequence.
Script is missing two elements of structure or sequence.
Script is missing one element of structure or sequence.
Script includes all elements of structure or sequence.


Students did not rehearse.
Group rehearsals were always unproductive or argumentative.
Group rehearsals were often unproductive or argumentative.
Group rehearsals were mostly on task, and students collaborated.
Group rehearsals were always on task and students collaborated.

Students did not perform their script.
Performance was poorly staged, did not include masks, and the audience had difficulty hearing.
Performance was staged poorly, did not include masks, OR the audience had difficulty hearing.
Performance was staged well, masks were adequate, and the audience could hear almost always.
Performance was staged well, masks neat and given thought, and the audience could always hear.

Total points earned: ________ x 5 = ________/100

Greek Tragedy Play Structure:
A Refresher in Different Terms

Hint: Split your story into AT LEAST 3 parts (beginning, middle, and end).

Characters speak, perhaps directly to the audience. Tell us what the play is going to be about, and what you think we will learn from it.

Chorus, in unison, tells us what has happened before the beginning of the action of the play. They should also tell us who they are. (In a real Greek play, the chorus would "enter" here, but since the "audience" is serving as chorus, we'll just assume that part. But if you want, you can have them say something about "entering.") If you want, you can have the chorus speak in verse. It is often unnatural at first to write in verse, but it could become wonderfully creative.

Episode 1
Characters, in masks, of course, act out the beginning of the action of the play. Remember that characters in Greek Tragedy tend to talk a lot about decision making and moral choices what should I do? Am I doing the right thing? etc. Remember that anything violent should take place off-stage, with a character or "messenger" entering to tell us what happened.

Choral Ode 1
Chorus speaks about something connected with the theme of the story, but not necessarily about the story itself. Or, if you prefer, you may use a popular song or poem here, that you think expresses the mood or theme at this point in the play. If you use a poem, the "audience" will read it in unison. If you use a popular song, you may simply play it on the stereo at this point. (In a real Greek Tragedy the chorus would probably also "dance" at this point. You can't expect the audience to do this, since they won't have rehearsed, but if you want, you can have the members of your group perform the movements of the chorus while the "audience" reads or the song plays. This is NOT, however, required.).

Episode 2
Characters act out the next part of the story.

Choral Ode 2
(See Choral Ode 1)
(If necessary, you may add more Episodes and Odes here.)

Final Episode
Characters act out the end of the story.

As or after the characters leave, the chorus tells us what we have lea

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Audience Etiquette and Tableau Rehearsal

In notes on 8/30/11:

We reviewed WHO, WHAT, and WHERE as key elements of theater.  8/31/11 will be a performance date for these basic scenes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Three

In your notes:

The Big Three* (Elements of Theater)

1. WHO = characters
2. WHAT = conflict
3. WHERE = setting

*There are really four.  You can't really do theater without an audience.  The audience is who you're speaking to & communicating with.  I always aim for the audience to have a "take-away" -- something that they discover, feel, understand, question, or think about when they leave the performance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome to Ellison Theater Arts 2011-2012!

Welcome to Ellison Theater Arts!

Theater at Ellison in 2011-2012 is going to be pretty exciting. I'm glad you're along for the ride. Students/parents, this is the place to find updates on notes, class assignments, projects, performances... You name it; if it has to do with your Theater Arts class, it's here.

Here are just a couple of reminders to start the year off right:

Collaboration is key!!!
Students who have chosen to attend this class should be advised that this class requires energy, participation, and a positive attitude. This is a collaborative, performance-based class – and my classes will hear me state that again and again – and will be graded as such. In order to pass, students must be willing to try new things and will be expected to work in collaboration with their classmates on a daily basis.

Participation is important!!!
Just showing up for class and taking your seat is not enough. This class will require “active participation.” “Active participation” means:

- Proper audience etiquette each day*
- Volunteering for scene work and activities.
- Group work and collaboration on class projects.
- Being prepared for class with all materials and assignments.
- Above all, giving everything a TRY and reflecting on each experience.

*Be warned! Proper audience etiquette will be taught and EMPHASIZED at all times. Becoming a good audience member is a crucial part of theater studies. You are a member of an audience EACH DAY that you attend class. Participation/audience etiquette grades are tallied at the end of the week to be entered into the gradebook. (10 points per day = 50 points possible per week)

Class Expectations
1. Bring all required materials and supplies to class everyday. Often scripts/scenework for class must be memorized – in this class, your MEMORY and BRAIN count as materials.
2. Be in your seat and ready to work as soon as the tardy bell rings.
3. Follow all instructions THE FIRST TIME they are given.
4. Respect all human beings and their property.
5. Observe all rules listed in the EHS Student Handbook and KISD Code of Conduct.

Students who choose not to follow the rules will be subject to discipline as follows:
First offense: Verbal warning/Sign D-Log
Second/Third offense: D-Hall (8:15-8:35am OR 4:15-4:35pm).
Fourth offense: Parent contact/conference
Fifth offense: Office referral

Student behavior that endangers the safety of any human being or which disrupts teaching and learning will result in immediate referral to the principal’s office.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Film Making 101 Notes

žFilm Making 101
žCamera Angles, Movement,
ž and Other Awesome Stuff
žYou Never Knew You Knew

Make sure to take all of this information into consideration when formatting your screenplay!
žCertain camera angles and “shots” make acting for the camera DIFFERENT from acting on stage.
Be sure to think about how each angle/shot would affect you as an actor.
Camera “Shots”
What’s in it, and how far?
ž Long Shot: Full body in frame, few details.
Medium Shot: Waist up, used for dialogue & character interaction.
žClose Up: Just the face… we should already know where we are.
Extreme Close Up: Magnifies beyond what the human eye naturally sees.  (Used for dramatic effect.)
žCamera Angles
Where’s the camera?
žBird’s Eye View: From way, way up above looking down.
High Angle: Not so way up, but still above.  Subject is surrounded by location.
žEye Level: Basic.  Camera is at straight on angle to subject.
Low Angle: Camera is lower than subject (useful for short actors!).  Gives feeling of dominance/power.
Camera Movement
Where’s the camera going?
žPan: Scanning horizontally.
Tilt: Moving up and down.
Dolly: Moving on wheels to or away from your subject. (Can be used to follow.)
Hand-held: Sometimes bumpy, but adds realism (“fly on the wall” effect”).


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Period 3: Screenwriting/Movie Project

Here are the links to help you format your screenplay properly:

Online Film School Sample
Shows you the difference between a "spec script" and a "shooting script."
(You're writing a "spec script" first.)

Example of a Spec Script

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Lottery: Performance

Performance moved to Friday, April 22

Script will become available here soon.

Design tasks (period 3) will be due by April 1.

Period 5: Memorize lines!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Masque of the Red Death: Period 3

Feb 22: Off Book
Feb 23-24: Rehearsals in Auditorium
Feb 25: PERFORMANCES during periods 1 through 7!

Please bring in costume pieces ASAP!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Masque of the Red Death

3rd period: Students have been assigned a role in the class production of "Masque of the Red Death."  The show is scheduled ALL DAY on February 25.  Please make your teachers aware of this date as you are responsible for all work missed. 
Please work on memorizing lines!

5th period: Students have been assigned to a design group (sound, lights, costumes, makeup, set, props) and are working to create the world of the play with found materials.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Intro to Production Work

* Discussed the "hierarchy" of production from directors to actors to management to technicians.

* Period 3: Began work on adapting Poe's "Masque of the Red Death"

* Period 5: Began work on "thinking like designers" for "Masque."