Theater Class - Writing plays about Important Issues
This lesson will take place after students have read the play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry, which is a play that deals with issues of racism. In class, we will discuss how this play attempted to address an important issue of its time. We will talk about the social context of the play. We will also talk about why it is important for plays to address such important issues. We will also watch video clips online of different “issue” plays, besides “A Raisin in the Sun,” so that students will see the wide range of issues that plays can address.  We will also talk about what solutions the play offers to a problem. Then, students will have a chance to write their own short plays about an important issue of their choice.This may be an issue from the present or past. They will then meet in small groups and each present their plays to the group. The group will decide which play it wants to preform. The group may also decide to combine elements of the different plays into one play. The group will then make a video of their play and post it online.

Group Size: 15-30

Learning Objectives:
1) Students will learn to see plays in their social context.
2) Students will create plays that address a world issue and explore different solutions and sides of that issue
3) Students will discover the best ways to deliver an important message through a play.
4) Students will work with a group to stage a play.
5) Students will think about important issues and talk about them with their group.

Guiding Question:

How can we use plays to deliver an important message? What are some different ways (character, setting, etc.) of displaying an issue on stage? How have plays been used over time to tackle important issues?


Paper, pencil, video camera, costumes

1) We will have a whole class discussion about the play, “A Raisin in the Sun.”
2) Students will decide on an issue to write about. They will go and write their short plays. They may have to research a certain time period or issue in order to gain more knowledge about the issue.
3) Students will meet with their group members. They will present their plays to the others.
4) The groups will decide on which play they want to stage, or they may decide to combine several plays into one.
5) Students will begin to work on staging their plays for the video. This may require them to gather costumes, discuss the characters, or research the time period further. They will need to focus on how to make their video visually appealing while still getting their message across.
6) Students will stage their plays and video-tape them
7) Students will upload their videos online so that the whole class can watch and comment on them from home. This will also enable the students to watch the videos again and again. 


Students will be assessed on many different things. First, the teacher will assess their individual plays to see how well they incorporate an issue into the play. They will also be graded how well they address the different sides of that issue and how well they show the social context. They will also be graded on how well developed their characters and plot are. The group plays will also be graded on these things. Additionally, the group videos will be graded on how well they visually present the play. That is, how well do they turn the paper script into a visual experience. Finally, students will be graded on their participation in the group and in the class discussions.

Benchmark or Standards:

TH.912.C.1.1: Devise an original work based on a global issue that explores various solutions to a problem.

TH.912.C.1.2: Create, refine, and sustain complex and believable characters for performance through the integration and application of artistic choices based on research, rehearsal, feedback, and refinement.

TH.912.C.1.4: Research and define the physical/visual elements necessary to create theatrical reality for a specific historical and/or geographical play.  

TH.912.C.1.6: Respond to theatrical works by identifying and interpreting influences of historical, social, or cultural contexts.

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