This activity looks at Prince Escalus’s opening speech. By working practically on the text, by physically embedding the language, much like the ‘Prologue’ exercise in Lesson, students will start to understand what the character wants to achieve and how they are feeling. You will need the Opening Scene Resource.
- Arrange the students into a standing circle and ask them to read the speech through once, changing reader at every punctuation mark. Sometimes this means students will only read one or two words but it allows everyone to read.
- What do they notice about the punctuation? Where is there a lot of punctuation and why?
- Ask the students how is Prince Escalus feeling? What is the Prince trying to achieve?
- Allocate each student a line or phrase
- Read around the circle again, with each student saying just their line, or phrase but ask students to turn around and face out, so that they have to listen for their ‘cue’. How does doing it in this way change the speech?
- Ask the students to really notice the vowel and consonant sounds in their line and then to find a strong action to go with their individual line
- As a group, students read round the speech again, this time using the actions and making the most of the sounds asking them to remember who they follow and who comes after them.
- The students move around the space, delivering just the speech (not the actions), ensuring it is spoken in order.
- Repeat and pick up the pace.
- Agree as a group where Prince Escalus should stand in the room.
- The student with the first section comes to the spot, delivers their line and action, and holds their position.
- Each student considers how they join the spot in the room and where they will come from, how they will join the choral group, and which action they will hold.
- Walk through once and then repeat, at full pace and intensity.
- Once all students are in place and holding their positions either take a photograph and share with students in order to prompt a discussion or build the choral character in two separate groups so that half the group can observe and reflect on the image created before swapping over.
Reflection: what is learned about Prince Escalus through doing this exercise? Why might it be useful to do an activity like this with a ‘minor’ character?