Open Forum

1.  Drama as Literature

Posted 11 days ago
Hi Folks,
A new teacher is asking about appropriate dramatic literature for 8th grade. As I understand, they are simply teaching this a literature and not for staging. Any suggestions for sources would be appreciated.

Dana Taylor
MSD of Mt. Vernon
Evansville IN

2.  RE: Drama as Literature

Posted 11 days ago
I'm an 8th Grade ESL and Theatre Teacher. I am also the Literacy Coach for my school. Some of the plays I've used as literature have been:

A Raisin in the Sun
Of Mice and Men
The Miracle Worker
The Crucible
(rather unsuccessfully)
Twelve Angry Men/Women

Hugh Fletcher
Performing Arts Coordinator
IS 229 Dr. Roland Patterson Middle School
Roosevelt NY

3.  RE: Drama as Literature

Posted 10 days ago
I teach eighth grade. The Tempest is a fabulous choice if you break it down a lot. I do a lot of Shakespeare and Company exercises in my English class at the beginning. I also get them thinking about choices a director might make. There are tons of resources to teach this book as "literature" but stay true to its theatre roots. There is a great Christopher Plummer stage version on DVD that is how in pieces after we read and discuss each scene. I also have had great success with The Crucible. Same theatrical techniques. (Looking at subtext in the first scene between Elizabeth and John.

Sent from my iPad

4.  RE: Drama as Literature

Posted 10 days ago

One public domain play that I read with my primarily 9th grade Theatre I classes is Trifles by Susan Glaspell.  I use it as an example of Realism, but it would be a terrific lead-in to discussions of the criminal justice system, especially as pertains to our history of juries that were distinctly not representative of the population as a whole.  In fact, Glaspell also wrote this in short story form, "A Jury of Her Peers", also public domain, and reading the two together could be a great way to explore the difference between stories and plays.

I agree with Hugh that The Crucible is a hard read.  I love directing it with high school students, but it takes them a while to make that language feel like everyday speech.

C. J. Breland
Asheville High School
Asheville NC