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March 27, 2015
by: Colleen Machut

An introduction to Theater from Many Lands & Times

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On Wednesday, March 11th Mosaic students began new seminar classes for Trimester 3. Students have the opportunity to take two different seminars each trimester and can choose between six creative disciplines: Music, Creative Writing, Dance, Visual Art, Engineering, and Drama. Part of this choice includes what we call a "project seminar," or a seminar wherein they will do an in depth interpretation of an academic concept through the art form they are studying in the seminar. An example of this from Trimester 2 is the Animation Sensations seminar and an extension of this at IDEAS Academy is IDEAS Project Block

"Theater from Many Lands and Times" is a Mosaic project seminar for Trimester 3. To introduce students to the art form, drama and social studies teacher, Colleen Machut, asked students to engage in the Thinking Routine: See. Think. Wonder. by looking at an image of an Ancient Greek Theater and answering the questions: What do you see? What does it make you think? and What do your observations and thoughts make you wonder about? This conversation helped students build their own context for understanding the theater and imagining new possibilities. This thinking will be made visible in the classroom and used as a reference point as the group continues to expand their understanding and come up with ideas for their own interpretations.

The next step for this class was to use their observations, generated through the See. Think. Wonder. to construct a representation of a Greek theater in the classroom. You can see in the images below, that students used classroom materials and little masking tape to create a performance space that is informed by their initial conversation. After construction, students worked together to figure out which label went with each part of the theater they built. There was some revision and much imagining of what it would be like to tell a story in this kind of space.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the class is creating and performing Greek Tragedies! How did they get there? First, students acted out an adaptation of the Greek Tragedy "Antigone" which was written by playwrite Sophocles. Students then analyzed the script to understand the structure of Greek tragedy. They used this understanding to create their own Greek tragedies. To stay true to the Greek tradition, they performed their scripts outdoors. 

 

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