Using Elements of Theatre to Transform the Classroom

Our discussion in class today was on ways to utilize the elements of theatre to create a purpose in the classroom which therefore reflects the lesson and then the students. Our professor demonstrated this in our drama class by first playing a specific style of jazz music as we walked in. Because the theatre review we were discussing was about racism and included examples such as Hurricane Katrina, The Civil War, and Gone With the Wind. The Civil War and Gone With the Wind took place in the same era as the jazz music our prof had been playing. Without us even realizing it, our prof had entered us into a setting of the 1860’s-70’s, New Orleans. To further the connection, the music contained subject matter that related to the message portrayed by the theatre review. Through this, she set the stage for what we were going to discuss in class.

To begin our discussion, our professor told us of her teacher friend who did an edited Shakespear play with her students. While rehearsing, she would have her students write their favorite quotes on leaves and hang them up around the room. By the time the students were ready to perform, their room had been transformed into the setting of A Mid Summer’s Night. 

From this example, we began to turn our own classroom into a stage where we sat in a circle with props set up in the middle. We went around the circle and each made up a part of the story, building off each other. As the narrative evolved, our professor moved props around the stage. As the props changed, so did our story. The key elements of the drama altered our storyline.

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