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Ce n t e r
Theatre Experience
A teacher’s guide for the
A teacher’s guide for the
Theater experience
Tea c h e r s
Dear Educator,
As you make plans for your students to attend an upcoming presentation of the Wells
Fargo School Matinee Series at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the
Performing Arts at UC Davis, we invite you to prepare your students by using this
curriculum guide to assure that from beginning to end, the experience is an educationally
enriching and memorable one.
The material in this guide is for you. We believe that an understanding of some basic
vocabulary and background information on the performance art form will help to
prepare your students to better understand and enjoy what they are about to see. We
also encourage you to discuss important aspects of the artistic experience, including
audience etiquette.
We hope that your students find their imaginations come alive as lights shine, curtains
open, and applause rings through Mondavi Center. As importantly, we hope that this
curriculum guide helps you to bring the arts alive in your classroom.
Thank you for helping us to make a difference in the lives of our children.
Mondavi Center Arts Education Program
Sierra North Arts Project, UC Davis
What’s Inside:
The Heart of the Art
What’s Important to Know Before You Go
Genres or Kinds of Theater
Styles of Theater You Might Attend
Behind the Scenes: Elements of Production
Stage Areas
Theater Etiquette
Active Viewing of a Performance
Words to Know
Overview of the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards
Acting Essentials
Plot Diagram
10 Theater Learning Experiences
11 Arts Education at UC Davis
12 Credits
Mondavi Center curriculum guides are produced in partnership with:
ArtSmarts is the title for K–12 educational programs at Mondavi Center.
The Heart of the Art
The origins of modern theater can be found
throughout the world in the traditions of ritual,
religion, storytelling, and dance. Theater reflects
the human experience. Through the use of body,
voice, mind, and script, theater allows us to
express and explore history, culture, and ourselves.
Theater is most concerned with the study of
humanity. The process of preparing for a performance requires the ability to step outside oneself
and value the perspective of another human
being. Theater exposes us to new ideas or reinforces time-tested values.
Theater is a creative, collaborative, and cooperative art form. Taking part in theater either as a
performer, audience member, director, designer,
writer, or technician can be an invaluable experience because through theater we have the
opportunity to change our world.
Theater depends on the audience. As the performers endeavor to entertain audiences with
the art and craft of theater, they are also informing them. Each performance is a unique experience created by the performer and the personal
experience of each audience member.
1. Theater refers to a live performance before a live audience. Theater is different from television or film productions because the direct interaction between the audience and performer
creates a mutual energy upon which an actor builds. The minimal essentials for production
are an actor and an audience. Theater can take place in huge halls seating thousands of people or in simplistic “black box” theaters seating fewer than one hundred.
2. There are many styles of theater, which impact how the same script may appear
differently on stage. The director’s interpretation of the script and the time period of the play
will also affect how the play is staged.
3. Theater has multiple purposes, a few of which are: to entertain, to display a particular
culture and to affect social change.
4. Conflict between characters contributes to plot element. The audience should develop
empathy with the characters during a performance, which leads to a catharsis, an emotional
release, at the end of the performance.
what's important to know before you go
Genres of Some
Well-known Plays
All’s Well That Ends Well
by William Shakespeare
The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
“The most basic definition of
theater is someone performing
something for someone else.”
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
by Sophocles
—Oscar Brockett
A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry
Long Day’s Journey into Night
by Eugene O’Neill
Noises Off
by Michael Frayn
Genres or Kinds of Theater
Generally, plays are categorized according to type or genre.
Comedy: A play which presents the subject matter in a comical or humorous manner,
and typically has a happy ending.
Tragedy: A play which deals with a serious theme in a serious manner. Often the protagonist is defeated or dies at the ending.
Drama: A play that deals with a serious theme in a serious manner, but the protagonist is not
defeated at the end. Dramas often offer hope.
What the Butler Saw
by Joe Orton
Performance Art
Swimming to Cambodia
by Spalding Gray
Mambo Mouth
by John Leguizamo
Fires in the Mirror
by Anna Deavere Smith
Farce: A fast-paced comedy with exaggerated characterizations, often containing physical
humor or visual humor, and an improbable plot.
Performance Art: A nontraditional theatrical genre that incorporates a wide spectrum of
performers and uses a variety of art forms, including music, dance, and multimedia. Often
performed in nontraditional spaces, the emphasis of performance art is not on plot and
characterizations, but on making a statement and self-expression. It is often called “interacts”
or “new theater.”
A Few Plays and
the Styles They
The Love Suicides at Sonezaki
by Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Chushingura by Takedo Izumo
English Restoration Theater:
The Way of the World by William Congreve
All for Love by John Dryden
Elizabethan Theater:
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
by Christopher Marlowe
The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
Epic Theater:
Toller’s Hurrah, We Live! by Erwin Piscator
Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht
with music by Kurt Weill
Italian Renaissance:
La Cassaria by Ludovico Ariosto
Sofonisba by Giangiorgio Trissino
Hispanic-American Theater:
Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez
Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes
Musical Theater:
by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by George L Aiken, based
on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Under the Gaslight by Augustin Daly
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Carmen by Georges Bizet
Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Theater of Cruelty:
Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss
Theater of The Absurd:
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Styles of Theater You Might Attend
In addition to genre, plays may be categorized according to the style in which they were written. In general, a play’s style reflects the prevailing cultural and philosophical viewpoint of the time period in which
it was written.
Beijing Opera: The dominant style of theater in
China, which first appeared in 1790, when performers came from all over China to Beijing to
celebrate the eighteenth birthday of Emperor
Ch’ien-lung. This gathering of performers created
a highly stylized form of theater that emphasized
the performer rather than a text. In the Beijing
Opera, a stage drum sets the rhythm of the performance. Costumes are ornate and use symbolism
to communicate character traits to the audience.
Bunraku: A style of Japanese puppet/doll theater
that can be traced to 780 A.D. and is performed
by wandering entertainers. The puppets are usually three to four feet tall and are operated by
three puppeteers dressed in black.
Commedia dell’arte: A comic theater developed
during the Italian Renaissance. Traveling troupes
of masked actors portray stock characters and use
plot outlines called lazzi to improvise skits. Many
of the characters and plots of commedia dell’arte
serve as a foundation for restoration comedies.
Elizabethan Theater: The popular theater in
England in the late 1500s and early 1600s.
During this period, Queen Elizabeth I banned all
religious plays resulting in the secularization of
theater. Playwrights such as William Shakespeare,
Ben Jonson, and Christopher Marlowe, created
an entirely new style of composition and performance, which presented a range of social classes
and philosophical doctrine.
English Restoration Theater: After the Restoration
of the English monarchy in 1660, theater
that had been banned under the Puritan
Commonwealth again flourished in London.
Especially popular was the restoration comedy
of manners, which dealt with the vices and
follies of the upper class and was often characterized by humorous, lewd dialogue. During this
time, women worked as professional actors and
playwright Aphra Behn became the first English
woman to earn her living as a writer.
Epic Theater (Theater of Alienation): A theatrical
movement of the 1920s and 1930s characterized
by the use of such artificial devices as cartoons,
posters, and film sequences in order to distance
the audience from theatrical illusions and allow
them to focus on the play’s message.
Kabuki: A form of Japanese theater developed in
the early seventeenth century. Most Kabuki plays
are based upon historical events or folktales.
Actors train from childhood in singing, dancing,
acting, and acrobatics. The movement, costumes,
and make up are highly stylized. Male actors, the
onagata, specialize in playing the female roles.
Italian Renaissance: From the late 1300s through
the early 1600s, Italy was the cultural center of
Europe. During this time of great advancement
for theater, Italian playwrights used neoclassical ideals to construct plays that tried to be “real
to life.” All plays had to conform to the unities.
During the Italian Renaissance, the use of perspective in visual art influenced theater and set design.
Melodrama: A form of theater popular in the
United States in the 1800s, which is a mixture
of both comedy and tragedy and includes music.
Melodrama is characterized by strongly moralistic
and cliff-hanging plots. The stereotyped characters
often consist of a villain, a victim, and a hero.
Mime: A very old and stylized movement often
with a visual “click” or “pop,” which is used to
tell a story without spoken words. The moonwalk
is an example of a mime walk. Mime uses conventionalized gestures to express ideas rather than
to represent actions. Mime is found in a wide
variety of highly stylized forms including commedia dell’arte, French classic mime, Kabuki, and
silent movies. Mime usually requires more intense
training than pantomime.
Other Styles of
Theater You May
Wish to Research:
Musical Theater: Theater historians believe that
musical theater developed from vaudeville and
burlesque. In 1866, New York producers added
dancers and music to a play titled “The Black
Crook.” American musical theater progressed
from simple plots with music to complex plots
in which the music is an integral part of the
Sanskrit: An Indian theatrical tradition, which
dates from approximately 100 A.D. These
plays are based upon the Mahabharata or the
Ramayana, which are derived from myth, history,
and legend. All these dramas end happily. The
central goal of Sanskrit is the creation of a mood
or a rasa. The actors use stylized gestures to
communicate meaning.
Noh: A highly stylized and graceful form of
Japanese theater. Noh contains elements of pantomime, dance, and opera and was developed in
the early 1400s. Noh actors always wear masks
and use stylized poses and gestures. Most Noh
plays are spiritual in nature and have a ghost or
Theater of Cruelty: A form of theater employing
non-verbal communication, developed by the
French avant-garde playwright, actor and director Antonin Artaud in the 1920s and 1930s.
Opera: A style of musical drama, developed during the Italian Renaissance in which the story
is told through music and acting and is usually
accompanied by an orchestra.
Pantomime: Many theater historians believe
pantomime dates to primitive humans who
used movements and gestures to tell stories.
Pantomime is performed without the use of spoken words and often tells a simple story using
imaginary props, gestures, and facial expressions.
Theater of the Absurd: A style of experimental or
unconventional theater developed after World
War II as a reaction to senseless waste. A common theme is that life cannot be explained or
Puppet Theater: A puppet can be almost anything
that is brought to life by human hands to create a performance. Puppets come in many sizes,
shapes, and varieties and are often defined by
how they are manipulated: hand, marionette
(strings), rod, or remote.
African-American Theater
Ancient Greek Theater
Ancient Roman Theater
Asian-American Theater
Feminist Theater
French Restoration
German Romantic Drama
Hispanic-American Theater
Improvisation Jacobean Theater
Medieval Drama
Moscow Art Theater
Spanish Golden Age
Theater of the Oppressed
Peking Opera: A tradition of theater established
by acting companies in the Chinese capital in
the 1800s, characterized by an emphasis on the
actors’ performance, minimal sets and props,
elaborate costumes, and stylized movements and
Reader’s Theater: A style of theater in which actors
read directly from the script. Other terms for
reader’s theater include, staged reading, chamber
theater, interpreter’s theater and choral reading.
The chanting chorus of ancient Greek theater
is considered by some to be a type of reader’s
Realism: A style of theater developed in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in which
the characters spoke, dressed, and behaved just
as real people in daily life. Prior to this time, stage
settings and costumes also became more realistic. Playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, August
Strindberg, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Miller, and
Lorraine Hansberry often represent realism.
“Know you how much the
people may be moved by
that which he will utter.”
—William Shakespeare
Acting essentials
At a performance, observe the following skills an actor must use to create a character:
Vocal Characteristics
Projection: conveying the words outward to the audience.
Articulation: pronouncing words clearly and precisely.
Inflection: changing the pitch, tempo, and phrasing to add meaning to the lines.
“An actor can only hope
to be a mirror of humanity, a mirror to be looked
into by audiences.” Shirley
Physical Characteristics
Facial Expression: moving parts of the face to express emotion.
Gestures: moving body parts to add meaning to lines and express emotion.
Posture and Body Centering: moving to create the emotions and attitudes of the character.
Ensemble Characteristics
• Listening to and responding to what is said and performed by others on stage.
• How an actor portrays a character on stage when his/her character is not the focus of the scene.
Intellectual Characteristics
Objective: a character’s goal or intention.
Motivation: a character’s reason for doing or saying things.
In Poetics, an essay on writing tragedy from 330 B.C., Aristotle wrote that all stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. In
more modern times, a variety of plot diagrams have emerged. The following diagram is a common example which will help you
better understand the plot or sequence of events for the production you are viewing. The order of events is fairly consistent from
play to play but the proportion of each event for each play varies. Most plays are written with greater emphasis on the events
leading up to the climax.
3. Climax
2. Rising Action/Complication
1. Initial Incident/Exposition
4. Falling Action/Resolution
5. Denouement/Conclusion
1. Initial incident/Exposition: the action or force which precipitates the conflict
creating a goal or objective for the main character, protagonist.
2. Rising action/Complication: obstacles, conflicts, characters, and the resultant
situations which impede the protagonist from accomplishing his or her goal.
3. Climax: the highest point of emotional activity, where the action determines
what the outcome of the conflict will be.
4. Falling Action/Resolution: events which help wrap up unresolved issues
in the rising action.
5. Denouement/Conclusion: solution or explanation of outcome.
“A plot is: The king died and
the queen died. A story is: The
king died, and then the queen
died of a broken heart.”
—E. M. Forster
Behind the Scenes: Elements of Production
Creating theater requires many theatrical artists working behind
the scenes.
Choreographer: An artist who designs (choreographs) dances for
the stage.
Composer: A musician who writes the music for performance.
Designers (set, costumes, lights, make up, sound, props and graphics):
The people who create and plan the designs for a production. The
designer must convey the director’s artistic vision to the audience.
Director: The person who is responsible for all the artistic elements of a production. A director must develop and communicate
an artistic vision.
“The theater demands of its craftsmen that they
know their jobs. The theater is a school. We shall
never be done with studying and learning.”
Musical director: The person who works with the director and is
responsible for rehearsal and performance of all music in the play.
—Robert Edmond Jones
Playwright: The person who creates (writes) the script for a play
or stage production.
Technicians: Skilled theater artists, working prior to the production
to create the sets, costumes, props, special effects, lights, sound, and
make up for a production.
Producer: The person who is responsible for funding and hiring
artistic talent to create a stage production.
Stage manager: The person in charge of supervising the backstage
and cueing all actors and stage crew members.
Public relations/business director: The people who advertise
and publicize the production and have oversight for royalties,
press releases, photos, public service announcements, ticket sales,
box office management, house management and even ushering.
Stage Crew: Skilled theater technicians who work during the performance to ensure that all elements of the production (lights, sound,
costumes, make up, props, and special effects) appear on stage as
planned by the director and designers.
stage Areas or Acting Areas
UR = Up Right
UC = Up Center
UL = Up Left
R = Stage Right
C = Center Stage
L = Stage Left
DR = Down Right
DC = Down Center
DL = Down Left
The terms that are used to describe the areas on stage in which the actor performs
are derived from raked stages which are slanted towards the audience.
Up stage is the area towards the back of the stage and down stage is the area
nearest the audience. It is important to remember that these terms are from the
actor’s point of view looking towards the audience, thus stage left will be on the
audience’s right hand side.
Types of Stages
Proscenium Stage
A Proscenium stage (from the
Greek proskenion or “in front of the
scene”) is the most typical stage formaBackstage
tion and can be found from high school
auditoriums to Broadway stages. The
Stage/Performance Area
audience sits on one side of the stage
and views the action through the proscenium which serves as a picture frame or
Orchestra Pit
fourth wall.
Arena/Black Box Stage
In an Arena, the audience generally
sits on all sides of the acting area.
The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Audience
as well as the Colosseum in Rome, are
Stage/Performance Area
well known examples of arena theaters.
Theater Etiquette
Since theater is a live performance, everything you do as an audience member also becomes part of
the performance. For that reason there is a specific etiquette for watching a theatrical performance.
• Be on time. If you arrive after the curtain rises, you may not be seated.
• Use the restroom before the performance.
• Stay seated during the performance.
• Refrain from talking during the performance.
• The use of cameras or recording devices is not allowed.
• Refrain from wearing perfume.
• Turn off cell phones and pagers.
• Show your appreciation for the performance by applauding when the production is over.
Active Viewing of
a Performance
While viewing a performance,
analyze the integration of the
following elements:
• THEME What do you think is the playwright’s intent for
writing this play? How was the author effective
in achieving this desired goal?
How did the set enhance the theme of the play?
How did the lighting, sound effects, make up,
and costuming convey the appropriate time
period and feeling of the play?
How did the actors draw the audience into the
performance? How did the actors make you
suspend your disbelief and feel that what you
were seeing was real? How did the actors
move you emotionally by the end of the play
or resolution of the conflict?
How did the director arrange the settings, costumes, lighting, and style to convey the message of the play? How did the pace and timing
of the play affect the audience? How were the
scenes arranged to convey the focus of interest?
Did the director communicate the playwright’s
intent? Do you think the director accomplished
his or her vision?
Words To Know
Throughout this curriculum guide you have seen certain words in bold print.
Below are the definitions of these words.
Actor: A person, male or female, who performs a role
in a play, video, film, or stage entertainment.
Motivation: A character’s reason for doing or saying
things in a play.
Antagonist: A person, a situation, or the protagonist’s
own inner conflict in opposition to his or her goals.
Objective: A character’s goal or intention.
Blocking: Planning movements and stage business of
actors on stage.
Conventions of Theater: The established techniques,
practices, and devices unique to theatrical productions (i.e. tableau, proscenium curtain, dialogue,
lights out, etc.).
Cast: The group of actors who take the roles in a play
(noun). To be chosen to play a specific role in a play
Costume: Any clothing an actor wears on stage for a
performance. Costumes may convey important information about the character, locale, and historical time
period as well as ethnic and cultural information to
the audience.
Cue: A signal, either verbal or physical, that indicates
something else, such as a line of dialogue or an
entrance, is to happen.
Dialogue: The conversation between actors on stage.
Ensemble: A group of theatrical artists working together, cooperatively, to create a theatrical production.
Improvisation: A spontaneous style of theater in which
scenes are created without advance rehearsing or
House: The area of the theater containing seating for
the audience.
Lights: Any illumination of the set and actors during a
Make up: Cosmetics and hairstyles that an actor uses
to emphasize facial features or to add age or other
special qualities called for by a character.
Playwright: A person who writes plays.
Props (properties): Items carried onstage by an actor;
small items on the set used by actors.
Role: A part in a play.
Protagonist: The main character of a play, and the
character with whom the audience identifies most
Proscenium: The opening through which the audience
views the action on stage as if through a picture frame.
Rake: The slope of the stage floor upward from the
audience. “Raking” the stage was developed during the Italian Renaissance to create perspective and
improve sight lines.
Royalty: A fee required to produce a play, musical, or
Script: The written text of a play.
Set: The onstage physical space and its structures in
which the actors perform.
Set pieces: Large, portable piece of the set, such as a
throne or tree.
Sound: The audio portion of a theatrical production,
including music, sound effects, and the amplification
of the performer’s voice.
Stock character: Established characters, such as young
lovers, neighborhood busybodies, sneaky villains, and
overprotective fathers, that are immediately recognizable by an audience.
Unities: The Neoclassical idea that the action of a play
should take place in a twenty-four hour period, in
one locale, and have only one plotline. The concept
of the unities was derived from Renaissance interpreMonologue: A long speech delivered by a single charac- tations of Aristotle’s Poetics.
ter on stage.
Wings: Offstage spaces to the sides of the acting area.
Overview of the Visual and Performing Arts
Content Standards for California Public Schools
The Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools have five component strands
that cover dance, music, theater, and visual arts. The component strands for theater are:
Artistic Perception: Processing, Analyzing, and Responding to Sensory
Information Through the Language and Skills Unique to Theater
Aesthetic Valuing: Responding to, Analyzing, and Critiquing
Theatrical Experiences
Students observe their environment and respond, using the elements of theater. They also observe formal and informal works of
theater, film/video, and electronic media and respond, using the
vocabulary of theater.
Students critique and derive meaning from works of theater, film/
video, electronic media, and theatrical artists on the basis of aesthetic qualities.
Development of the Vocabulary of Theater
1.1 Use the vocabulary of theater, such as plot, conflict, climax,
resolution, tone, objectives, motivation, and stock characters, to
describe theatrical experiences. (Gr. 4)
1.1 Use the vocabulary of theater, such as sense, memory, script,
cue, monologue, dialogue, protagonist and antagonist, to describe
theatrical experiences. (Gr. 5)
1.1 Use the vocabulary of theater, such as action/reaction, vocal
projection, subtext, theme, mood, design, production values, and
stage crew, to describe theatrical experiences. (Gr. 6)
Comprehension and Analysis of the Elements of Theater
1.3 Demonstrate how voice (diction, pace, and volume) may be
used to explore multiple possibilities for a live reading. Examples:
“I want you to go.” “I want you to go.” “I want you to go.” (Gr. 4)
1.2 Identify the structural elements of plot (exposition, complication, crisis, climax, and resolution) in a script or theatrical experience. (Gr. 5)
Creative Expression: Creating, Performing, and Participating in
Students apply processes and skills in acting, directing, designing,
and scriptwriting to create formal and informal theater, film/videos,
and electronic media productions and to perform in them.
Development of Theatrical Skills
2.1 Demonstrate the emotional traits of a character through gesture
and action. (Gr. 4)
2.2 Demonstrate use of blocking (stage areas, levels, and actor’s position, such as full front, quarter, profile, and full back) in dramatizations. (Gr. 5)
Critical Assessment of Theater
4.1 Develop and apply appropriate criteria or rubrics for critiquing
performances as to characterization, diction, pacing, gesture, and
movement. (Gr. 4)
4.1 Develop and apply appropriate criteria for critiquing the work
of actors, directors, writers, and technical artists in theater, film,
and video. (Gr. 5)
4.1 Develop and apply appropriate criteria for evaluating sets, lighting, costumes, makeup, and props. (Gr. 6)
Derivation of Meaning from Works of Theater
4.2 Describe students’ responses to a work of theater and explain
what the scriptwriter did to elicit those responses. (Gr. 4)
Connections, Relationships, Applications: Connecting and Applying
What Is Learned in Theater, Film/Video, and Electronic Media to
Other Art Forms and Subject Areas and to Careers
Students apply what they learn in theater, film/video, and electronic
media across subject areas. They develop competencies and creative
skills in problem solving, communication, and time management
that contribute to lifelong learning and career skills. They also learn
about careers in and related to theater.
Connections and Applications
5.1 Use theatrical skills to dramatize events and concepts from
other curriculum areas, such as reenacting the signing of the
Declaration of Independence in history-social science. (Gr. 5)
Careers and Career-Related Skills
5.2 Exhibit team identity and commitment to purpose when participating in theatrical experience. (Gr. 4)
Creation/Invention in Theater
2.3 Use effective vocal expression, gesture, facial expression, and
timing to create character. (Gr. 6)
Historical and Cultural Context: Understanding the Historical
Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of Theater
Students analyze the role and development of theater, film/video,
and electronic media in past and present cultures throughout the
world, noting diversity as it relates to theater.
History of Theater
3.4 Identify types of early American theater, such as melodrama
and musical theater. (Gr. 5)
“You need three things
in the theater: the
play, the actors, and
the audience, and each
must give something.”
—Kenneth Kaigh
Theater Learning Experiences
These activities are designed to enhance the learning experience. Numerical notations refer to the
California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards.
Curriculum Strand 1: Artistic Perception
Before viewing the performance:
• Research background information such as the playwright’s biography, time period and culture
of the play.
• Based on this information predict the theme and style of the play. (1.2)
After viewing the performance:
• Using the plot diagram (p. 6), write a summary of the story line for the production you have just viewed. (1.1)
• Describe any metaphoric or symbolic elements used in the play. (1.3)
• Analyze the style of the production using the Styles of Theater list (pps. 4-5). (1.2)
Curriculum Strand 2: Creative Expression
Before viewing the performance:
• Create a poster to advertise the play including the title, author, location, dates, time, and ticket prices. Be sure to include one strong visual image which communicates the mood and theme you have
predicted. (2.1)
After viewing the performance:
• Choose a character from the play and write a monologue to perform for your class revealing this character’s thoughts five years after the end of the play. (2.2)
• Research the costuming for a particular time period and design costumes appropriate for males and females. (2.3)
• Choose a scene from the play you just viewed. Memorize the scene and perform this for your class with appropriate blocking and costuming. (2.1)
Brockett, Oscar G.
The Essential Theatre
Holt Rinehart & Winston,
1966 ISBN 0-15-501598-2
Abel, Lisa, ed.
Theatre: Art in Action
National Textbook Company,
1999 ISBN 0-8442-5307-3
Web Site:
Web Site:
Curriculum Strand 3: Historical and cultural Context
Before viewing the performance:
• Research the art, music, or dance from the time period of the play you are about to see.
Bring in a sample to share with the class. (3.3)
After viewing the performance:
• Research events from the time period of the production that lead to the events shown on stage.
Give an oral report to the class on this background information. (3.3)
• Research theater of another culture such as Kabuki (Japanese) or water puppets (Vietnamese).
Explain how the culture influenced the type of theater performed. (3.1)
Curriculum Strand 4: Aesthetic Valuing
Before viewing the performance:
• Research either the genre or style of the play you are about to see. Give an oral report to the class
discussing where, when and why this genre or style became popular. (4.5)
What effect do you think a play of this genre or style will have on a modern audience? (4.1)
After viewing the performance:
• Write an evaluation of one actor’s performance using the Acting Essentials (p. 6). (4.3)
• Using the Active Viewing Guide (p. 8) write an evaluation of the production that might appear
in your local newspaper. (4.1)
Curriculum Strand 5: connections, Relationships, and Applications
Before viewing the performance:
• Using the script of the play, develop a six-week rehearsal schedule which effectively uses the actor’s
and the director’s time. (5.2)
10 Theater
After viewing the performance:
• Based on your observations of the performance, choose one of the careers from the Elements of Production List (p. 7) that you find interesting and research it. Report your findings to the class. (5.2)
• Call a local theater company and ask to do a job shadow of one of the theater artists. (5.2)
• Watch a film version of a play you have seen. Compare and contrast the technical elements involved in the production of each. (5.1)
Arts Education at UC Davis
Robert and Margrit Mondavi
Center for the Performing Arts
The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center
for the Performing Arts at UC Davis serves
as a resource for the campus and the region,
reinforcing the university’s status as a
comprehensive university of the first order
by raising the profile of its arts and
humanities programs to that of its top-ranked
science programs. Opened in October 2002,
Mondavi Center features the state-of-the-art,
1,800-seat Barbara K. and W. Turrentine
Jackson Hall, and the 250-seat Studio Theatre
for more intimate productions. Mondavi
Center is the largest presenter of the
performing arts in the Sacramento region,
bringing more than 70 of the world’s
greatest artists and lecturers each season.
Department of Theatre
and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance at
UC Davis offers undergraduate and graduate
degrees in conjunction with an aggressive
and artistically adventurous production
season. Courses and productions provide
students with consistent opportunities to
creatively engage with professional directors, designers, and choreographers. The
department, in collaboration with the
Granada Television network, is host of
the Granada Artists-in-Residence program,
which brings distinguished theater artists
from the United Kingdom to UC Davis.
A stellar faculty, state-of-the-art facilities,
and talented students make UC Davis a
leader in arts education.
In addition to the artists and speakers
presented as part of its annual Season of
Performing Arts, Mondavi Center also
hosts productions by the UC Davis Music
and Theatre and Dance departments and
other campus academic programs, as well as
those of regional arts organizations such
as the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra.
Department of Music
The Department of Music at UC Davis
features a distinguished faculty and
accomplished visiting artists, and provides
outstanding instruction to students majoring
in music as well as more than 1,200 nonmajors each academic year. The program
includes opportunities to study and perform
music of all styles and periods, with students
majoring in music focusing on a special
interest area such as composition, analysis,
history, performance, or secondary school
teaching. All students may participate in
a wide array of performance activities,
including the University Symphony, the
University Chorus and Chamber Choir,
University Concert Band, the Early Music
Ensemble, and chamber music ensembles.
Sierra North Arts Project
The Sierra North Arts Project (SNAP)
fosters the professional development of
kindergarten through post-secondary teachers
by employing the model of teachers teaching
teachers. SNAP addresses the priorities of
The California Arts Project (TCAP) involving direct engagement with the artistic process, direct applications to classroom teaching, and the development of teacher leaders in arts education. The Sierra North Arts
Project is one of six California Arts Project
regional sites throughout the state, and it
serves a twelve-county area extending from
the Central Valley to the Lake Tahoe basin.
The goals set forth by SNAP cover four key
objectives: (1) to deepen and strengthen
teachers’ subject matter knowledge; (2) to
provide opportunities for teachers to connect with their personal creativity and to
develop connections within the arts learning community; (3) to enhance and expand
SNAP within the region and create a wide
variety of leadership opportunities for SNAP
members; and (4) to develop strategies and
techniques for translating research experiences into classroom practice.
UC Davis ArtsBridge
In response to educational funding cutbacks
and the erosion of formal arts training in the
public schools, the University of California
and the state of California have joined
forces to expand ArtsBridge, an innovative
arts outreach program that began at the
Irvine campus in 1996. ArtsBridge provides scholarships for undergraduate and
graduate arts students to work with K-12
teachers in developing arts activities that
supplement the core curriculum. The success of the program prompted lawmakers
to include a $1.5 million line item in the
1999 state budget to facilitate the expansion of ArtsBridge to all of the UC campuses. Presently UC Davis students from
the departments of Art, Theatre and Dance,
Music, and Design are active in classrooms
at several area schools, including school
districts in Woodland, Winters, and Dixon.
Mondavi Center Arts Education
Many of the artists appearing during
Mondavi Center’s season also participate
in a range of educational outreach activities
coordinated by the center’s Arts Education
Program. These activities include school
matinees, master classes, lecture demonstrations, open rehearsals, curriculum
development, and teacher training. These
outreach activities, which benefit more than
25,000 area school children, college students, educators, and community residents
every season, constitute a major commitment to arts education in the region and
underscore UC Davis’ commitment to the
artists and audiences of the future.
­ obert and Margrit Mondavi Center ­
for the Performing Arts
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8543
Mondavi Center expresses gratitude to
its partners at the California Arts Council
and Sierra North Arts Project, Region III
of the California Arts Project at UC Davis,
for bringing together a team of educators
to design and develop curriculum guides
for Mondavi Center’s Wells Fargo School
Matinee Series. The following individuals
participated in the development of materials for the guides:
UC Davis Coordinators
Sarah Anderberg
Director, Sierra North Arts Project
CRESS Center, School of Education
UC Davis
Linda Buettner
Coordinator, Sierra North Arts Project
CRESS Center, School of Education
UC Davis
Joanne Bookmyer, Ph.D.
Research Analyst
CRESS Center, School of Education
UC Davis
Carolyn I. Elder
Theater Arts Teacher
Samuel Jackman Middle School
Elk Grove Unified School District
Linda L. Swanson
Theater Director/Teacher
Laguna Creek High School
Elk Grove Unified School District