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Elementary School
Questions and Activities

 

How Big?

Have students make a list of the main fairies and then of the rustics. Ask them to determine which of the fairies are larger when they're by themselves and smaller when they're with the rustics. How can Bottom lie in Titania's lap if she's so much smaller.

Role Playing

Have students discuss or role-play one of the situations that follow:

• A good friend tells you a secret. You want to be friends with another student (same or opposite gender). Would you tell him/her the secret your good friend told you? What would happen to the first friendship?
• Pick four students to be the lovers. Have the boys who play Lysander and Demetrius both tell Helena how wonderful she is (they can be as extravagant as they like). Ask Hermia how she feels; ask the rest of the class what they would tell Hermia to do to get the boys to like her more. Ask Helena how she can help the situation.

Me First . . .

Tell students that they have been hired to perform Pyramus and Thisbe before the principal. Decide who should play Pyramus, and who Thisbe. Who would be good as the Wall, Moonshine, or the Lion? Why? Can they arrange the play so everyone has a part? How would they rewrite it?

Do As I Say

Have a group of students be Egeus, and the second group be Hermia. Egeus wants to go on vacation to Disneyland; Hermia wants to stay home and watch television. Have each group prepare arguments, and the rest of the class vote on which arguments are the best. Ask why Egeus is likely to win—best argument, best choice, or because he's the parent?

Do You Believe in Fairies?

Discuss who is the best-behaved fairy—Oberon, Titania, or Puck? Who do they sympathize with? Ask them to think of contemporary equivalents for fairies: Angels? Grandparents? Their own consciences? Do they think the fairies helped the lovers? Or do they think the lovers helped themselves?

Everyone's a Playwright

Have the students discuss what's bad about Pyramus and Thisbe—how do you write a play that's really bad. Encourage them to write a bad play about the lovers or the fairies.

Mirrors

This exercise trains sharing, focus, and physical listening

Description
Divide the students into pairs. Have one of the players in each pair begin to gradually move. The other player mirrors the movements of the first player. Initially one player leads the other, and then they switch. Eventually there is no way to tell which player is leading the exercise. The focus is being shared rather than taken by one player or the other. The object is not to confuse or lose the other player, but to make the reality of the mirror the priority.

Variation One
Have three or more players all mirroring actions in a circle, like a kaleidoscope.

Variation Two
After practice with mirrors, have students move with no one leading or following. Then examine individual pairs and eliminate groups in which one partner is leading or the moves are not mirrors.

Variation Three
Form the class into a large circle. Send one student out of the space, and then assign a group leader. With the leader leading the circle, start a mirror activity. Call the excluded student back to stand in the center of the circle and try to identify the leader.

Relationship to Text
Helping Puck distinguish between the pairs of lovers.

Machines

This exercise is designed to help players work together and develop physical cooperation.

Description
A machine that does not exist is called for and the players create the machine by each adding an essential part. There is no discussion amongst the players before starting. The first player starts with a repetitive activity and an associated noise. The next players add to the machine with some activity that fits into the previous player's activity. This continues until the machine is created. The machine is sped up and slowed down. Certain players can be asked to malfunction, and the whole machine must respond. There is no leader in the creation of the machine. It is important that all the players reflect the change in each part of the machine.

Relationship to Text
The performance of Pyramus and Thisbe

Do You Like Your Neighbors?

Description
Students form a large circle with their chairs. One student stands within the circle, facing a seated student on the opposite side of the circle. The center student asks a seated student, "Do you like your neighbors?" If the seated student replies "Yes." The students seated on either side change seats. If the seated student says "No," two replacements must be named. Then the new neighbors exchange seats with the old ones. During either circumstance, the student in the center of the circle attempts to get a seat. Whoever is left without a seat becomes the new center person.

Relationship to Text
The switching of affections among the four lovers.

Garden of Statues

Description
Students spread out around the room. Choose one or two students to stand outside the large group of students. The large group of students will create various different creative poses, as if they were statues. The two students who were chosen will be "seekers" who will wander among the statues.

As the "seekers" roam between the statues, the frozen students will attempt to create new poses without being caught by the "seekers." If a student is caught the seeker will state their name and say, "I saw you move." When a student is caught they will sit outside of the group of statues. "Seekers" may not touch the other students, but they may talk to them in order to get them to laugh or move. When most of the student statues have been caught moving, choose two new students to become your "seekers."

Relationship to Text
The hidden nature and trickery of the fairies.

 



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