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