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Exercises & Activities
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- Write a play review of Macbeth. There are reasons why the play has remained popular for so many years. What do you think those reasons are? Think about the play—both the written and film versions—what made an impact on you as the audience member? Write a paragraph or two about the impact the play had on you and what parts effected you more than others. Then, fill in the following chart (you could redo this chart to make it larger and type in your answers). Be sure to give details that explain how Shakespeare achieves the total effect.
- What impact does Macbeth have on you?
- Character profiles--(1 page) The major characters of Macbeth are Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Duncan, Banquo, Macduff, Malcolm, the Weird Sisters, and, if he’s important in your production, Seyton. Write a paragraph on each of them explaining their attributes and especially their motivations. For the more dynamic characters, motivation will change over the course of the play, so be sure to specify their key scenes and how their attributes and motivations shift.
- Setting—(1/2 page) Write a description of the time and place in which you want to set the play. Provide some justification for your choice, either in terms of its thematic potential, its dramatic potential, or its historical appropriateness. You could choose a modern setting like the updated version of Macbeth called Scotland, PA, set in a Pennsylvania steel town or a California version of Macbeth in a ritzy restaurant where Macbeth is an ambitious chef.
- Cast—(1/2 page) Who should play the main characters? You have an unlimited budget and can hire any actor alive. Include a few sentences explaining each choice.
- Set Design—(1/2 page) Draw a design for one of the sets your production will use. The set should conform to your unified artistic vision for the play and should in fact help support it. Have fun and be creative.
- Et Cetera (optional) If you have any great ideas for incidental music, costumes (draw or paste in pictures downloaded from the web), special effects, etc., please include them. Just remember that they should all contribute to your unified artistic vision of the play.
- You may work in groups of no more than THREE (3) on this project, or you may work alone. This project will need to be presented along with the written portion turned in to me for a grade.
- Artistic Vision—( 1⁄2 to 1 page of general statements) a statement of your vision for the play. Your statement should include some or all of the following:
- controlling image or metaphor Think of a single image that will help unify the entire play. This image can be realized in set design, lighting, costumes, and props (think about the crawling “pets” of the witches in the version we watched). You could even stipulate that the image appear as a logo on the playbill. Think battle axe, or candle, or witches’ cauldron.
- themes What is the play about? What thematic aspects are more important and require emphasis? Consider the following questions: Is Macbeth a good man who grows into a villain? Is he a dormant villain who responds to opportunity? Is he a plaything of fate? Of the witches? Of his wife? Are the witches real or an aspect of his subconscious?
About this Document
A selection of thought-provoking activities to illustrate what students have learned during the reading of Macbeth.