Explore the History of Theater!



STEP 1: Research All Three Historic Periods 

             Print the Theater History I-chart to use for recording your research on theater history. (See 
             Resource #1 below)

              Click on the links below to research the following historical eras of theater: Greek Theater, 
              Renaissance Theater, and Asian/Kabuki Theater.  How did each era impact society and 
              contribute to the development of theater?  What are the distinguishing characteristics of each  
              time period?  It will be important to note these distinctions in your presentation!

               Checkpoint! Show your teacher your completed I-chart.

STEP 2: Research Your Chosen Time Period
               Now is the time to dig deeper into your own time period.  Each group member should download   
               the Collaborative Listening-Viewing Guide (see Resource #2 below).  Click on the 
               YouTube video(s) for your time period.  As you watch the video, take notes in the left column 
               of important ideas, characteristics, and vocabulary.  In the right column, combine and 
               elaborate your notes with the help of your group.  At the bottom of the guide, organize and 
               synthesize your notes in an idea web.
               Greek Theater

               Renaissance Theater
               Kabuki Theater

Checkpoint! Show your teacher your Collaborative Listening-Viewing Guide.

STEP 3:  Research Performance Spaces For Your Era
                  1.)  Download and print the "Theater History Graphic Organizer" to record your findings as 
                   you research the performance spaces of your era.  (See Resource #3 below)

                  2.)  Watch the You-tube Videos below of performances and performance spaces for your time 
                   Greek Theater
                   Renaissance Theater
                  Kabuki Theater
                  3.) Click on the links below to explore pictures and diagrams of your performance space. 
                        You may want to print these for references while making your puppet box.

                   Pictures of Greek Theater
                   Greek Amphitheater
                   Greek Amphitheater 2
                   Greek Theater Diagram

                   Pictures of Renaissance Theater
                  The Globe Theater
                   Inside the Globe Theater
                   Outside the Globe Theater
                   Globe Stage
                   Globe Diagram with Vocabulary

                  Pictures of Kabuki Theater
                  First Kabuki Theater
                  Inside Kabuki
                  Audience and Performers
                  Kabuki Theater

                  4.)  Click on the following websites to learn more about your performance spaces.
                  Greek Theater

                  Renaissance Theater
                  Asian Theater
 Checkpoint! Show your teacher your "Theater History Graphic Organizer" 

STEP 4:  Construct Your Puppet Box
You may want to start constructing your puppet box now or save this step for later and research costumes and make up first.  Your puppet box must do three things: provide a stage for your puppets, show how the audience would be arranged during a performance, and include several details that are authentic to your time period.  You may want to use the resources below to get you started on building, or simply be creative!

STEP 5: Research Costumes, Make-Up, and Masks
              Research typical costumes, make-up, and masks from your time period.  You will be making a
              a sketchbook of the five main characters and how you will costume them.  You may use print-
              outs for this part of the assignments, but your performance costumes must be created on your
              own.  Please include at least 3 new vocabulary words as labels in your costume sketchbook.

              Jack and the Beanstalk main characters: Jack, Mother, Stranger, Cow, Giant/Ogre
              Possible Supporting characters (could also be props): Hen, Golden Harp

               Greek Theater
                 (Do not watch the entire video above.  Skim through it to see Greek costumes and masks)
                 Image of Greek masks
                 Image of Greek masks 2

               Renaissance Theater

               Kabuki Theater
                Kabuki Costume Image
                Kabuki Costume Image 2

Checkpoint! Show your teacher your costume sketchbook!

STEP 6: Construct Puppets and Costumes
You may begin constructing your puppets and costumes.  Remember, you are creating puppets that reflect how the actors in your time period would have interpreted these characters.  Do not simply draw a cow and put it on a stick.  Instead, create a human puppet decorated with a cow costume.  Would the actor wear a mask? A full costume? Realistic or symbolic make-up?  You decide!

STEP 7:  Write Your Play!
              1.) Watch a few performances below to get a sense of the actors' style.
              2.)  Watch the 9 minute video of Jack and the Beanstalk to become familiar with the plot.
              3.)  Write a Reader's Theater script for your play.  Make sure there is a clear beginning, middle, 
                     and end to your piece.
              4.)  Determine what props and set pieces you need to add to your stage and construct these. 
              Again, think about how people from your time period would have realistically added these
              elements to their show. 

Checkpoint! Show your script to your teacher!

STEP 8: Rehearse & Perform
Your presentation will consist of two parts: 
              1.) A presentation about the characteristics of your time period
              2.) Your presentation of Jack and the Beanstalk

Include in your presentation:
               *Distinguishing characteristics of theater in your time period
                *Important contributions your time period made to theater history as a whole
                 *A detailed description of your performance space and seating arrangements, including
                 precise vocabulary for the labeling of spaces and functions.
                 *A detailed description with precise terminology of your costumes and make up or masks,     
                 and how they enhance the performance.


  • File
    Description: Step 2: Collaborative Listening-Viewing Guide

  • File
    Description: Step 1: Theater History I-chart

  • File
    Description: Step 3: Performance Space Graphic Organizer

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