Question Detail

High School Drama: how to get everyone involved in the class.

Dec 8, 2014 10:37am

Background: I have taught Drama 10-12 in one block for 9 years (av. 22 students). Term 1: two Kids Christmas Shows (extrinsic) - everyone is either acting, directing, or backstage roles. Term 2: a student-motivated project, like an Improv Night or a murder mystery dinner. Term 3: an historic text (intrinsic), like The Rivals, Hamlet, slices from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Mis (the play) or slices of Les Mis the musical.

Problem: Students are not excited about the ideas. If they do not have a main role, there are behaviour issues. I am exhausted trying to cast and recast every year and re-invent the wheel every term.

Questions: Can you recommend short texts in which characters are equally on-stage? (low on sexual references, none on suicide references due to IEP students). Can you recommend a solid play-building unit (the few I have tried have flopped due to student engagement). Do you have ideas on how to engage more students at one time?

  • Arts
  • 10-12
  • Assessment / Collaboration / Engagement / Planning


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    • Dec 13, 2014 2:13pm

      Have you ever read Us and Them by David Campton? It's a one-act and the lines are flexible enough that you can split them between pretty much as many people as you want. The play is also quite lovely in its flexibility in terms of staging, props, costumes. You can be completely simple (we had little money so one side had black t-shirts and one side had white and the wall was made of any box we could scrounge up and spray paint gray) or elaborate depending on your needs and resources. The message is also excellent for high schoolers (well, anybody really).

      • Dec 14, 2014 9:16am

        Two ideas:

        The Diviners by Jim Leonard, Jr. (11 roles: 5 men and 6 women)

        John Patrick Shanley has a series of plays called "Welcome to the Moon"