We had clear parameters as a provocation in the rehearsal room by setting it in 2022. The play feels like it’s about our fantasies versus our reality which is very relevant to the internet and the way we present ourselves on instagram versus how we are in life.
Júlia Lavai, Assistant Director, All’s Well That Ends Well. 2022.
This is a practical writing activity to help students recognise and explore the narrative of plot in All’s Well That Ends Well and to explore different writing styles to express feelings and give information.
You will need ‘All’s Well That Ends Well in 10 Plot Points’ from the Resources section at the end of this page and some pens and paper. In the extension activity below, students can also use mobile phones or tablets with internet access if suitable.
Organise your students into 10 groups and give each group ONE of the 10 scenes from the resource and pens and paper. (With smaller numbers, you can give groups more than one scene.)
Ask each group to plan how they would turn their plot point into a social media article or post. This can be in the form of a news bulletin (with or without adverts), TikTok video, Twitter thread, podcast episode, even a series of Instagram photos. Explain that they will have 15 minutes for this.
Encourage them to think about the following: What is the most important piece of information in the Plot Point? Who is the most important person/people in their Plot Point? What would an audience be most interested in hearing about?
Ask each group to design this online content. They can draw storyboards, make a list of photos to take, write their own headlines and soundbites. What will each post or page look like? What effect do they want it to have on their audience?
Invite the groups to read their Plot Point to the rest of the group and then to share their ideas and explain why they chose their particular app or medium to get their information to the public.
If appropriate, let your groups prepare their content on their computers or mobile devices. Explain that they will not actually be posting or uploading any of this but can draft posts, create videos for content and snapshot or record the results to share with the group as examples of telling their Plot Point online.
Invite each group to share their results. If possible, the content could be projected onto a whiteboard or shared computer screen.
Discuss the impact of this online content: did it bring any particular plot points to life? What effect might these posts or videos have on the characters if they were real and alive today?
Discuss with the group the impact of having intimate details of your private life shared on social media. How different would these events be for public figures in Shakespeare’s time, compared with today’s modern world? Is there any difference between how the male and female characters are perceived.
NOTES FROM THE REHEARSAL ROOM
Helena has a fantasy of a perfect marriage with her perfect man and has to face the reality of this not working out to be a fairytale. In our production, we visually see this onstage in various ways:
- Helena is first seen in a school uniform to emphasise her youth. Very quickly she appears in a bridal dress and veil - a very different image that Bertram is seen running away from a lot.
- During Helena’s soliloquy about Bertram, idealised images of him surrounded by pink hearts are projected onto a screen behind her.