Restoration Comedy (ages 13-14)
This scheme of work introduces students to the once banned 17th century genre of Restoration Comedy. These comedies of manners are typified by foppish and bawdy humour, fast-moving plots and the first professional actresses. An introductory lesson covers the genre, its themes, characters and plot ideas. The remaining lessons are based on well known texts, leading to the module assessment. The students develop and role-play modern day scenarios taken directly from the plots of these plays. Through this they will develop characters and comedic skills, before performing extracts from the plays themselves.
This scheme of work contains 6 drama lesson plans.
- Lesson 1: An Introduction to Restoration Comedy. This lesson introduces students to Restoration Comedy. They examine the use of character names and what hints these provide to the audience about the characters traits. Using role-play the students modernise a typical plot device from Restoration Comedy to help them to focus on the characters and the comedy rather than the language.
- Lesson 2: Bartholomew Fair. The whole class creates a prepared improvisation of an old fashioned fairground. They then develop an extract from the play and use music to create the atmosphere and tone.
- Lesson 3: Man of Mode. The students develop a scene from the play in their own words before bringing the actual text to life, concentrating more on the language. They introduce a theatrical comic device and learn how to develop the humour in the scene.
- Lesson 4: The Way of the World. Students write a monologue about a relationship they are in and about the act of breaking up with someone. This idea is then explored with a scene from the text. Students learn how to use dramatic pause to not only create tension but also to create comedy.
- Lesson 5: The Country Wife. A scene consisting of a group of boastful friends in a pub is improvised. The students then develop the script itself using a dramatic pause and asides to help develop the delivery of the lines.
- Lesson 6: Assessment- The Beaux Strategem. Lesson 6 is an assessment of a prepared and rehearsed extract from ‘The Beaux Strategem’. The students are filmed for self-evaluation purposes.
Supporting materials include
- Extract from ‘Bartholomew Fair’ by Ben Johnson
- Extract from ‘Man of Mode’ by George Etheredge
- Extract from ‘Way of the World’ by William Congreve
- Extract from ‘The Country Wife’ by William Wytcherley
- Extract from ‘The Beaux Strategem’ by George Farquar
- 1 piece of fairground music
- Introduction to Restoration Comedy PowerPoint Slide
Additional resources are included in the appendices
- End Of Unit Self-Assessment Form
The scheme of work is supplied as a downloadable zip file containing a PDF file, readable on most computers, 1 MP3 music file and 1 PowerPoint file.
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