ACTIVITY: Historical Research
Groups will learn about the playwright and the various productions of Othello that have been staged over the years. Students will uncover universal themes in the play and learn how Shakespeare is still relevant today.
Duration: 120+ minutes
Assessments: Student writing, Research
Following are the tasks and instruction to complete this section.
Your group must research and compile the following historical information about Elizabethan Theatre and the production of Othello. You must cite your sources (NO WIKIPEDIA!) and you must have at least 2 textual sources and 1 visual source per category. There is a question to get you started for each category, but this is just a prompt (meaning that your research should not only be limited to answering this question). Your research must be thorough and detailed. Answers should be noted in bulleted format and include images.
I. The History of Shakespeare
a. Playwright - Who was Shakespeare? Include a short biography.
b. Company – What is the history of Shakespeare’s acting company?
c. Playhouse – Where did Shakespeare produce most of his plays?
d. Audience – Who went to see Shakespeare’s plays?
e. Reaction/Reviews – What did the critics say about Shakespeare’s work?
II. The History of the Production of Othello
a. Theater Productions and Companies – What are some of the more famous productions of Othello?
b. Actors - Who are some of the most famous actors who acted in a production of Othello?
c. Inspired Works – What are some of the other artworks that have been adapted from or inspired by Othello?
SEE RESOURCES FOR A MODEL.
(e.g. rubrics, examplars, websites, etc.)
REFLECTIONS & COMMENTS
There was a large range in the work produced for this section. Some students simply answered the questions in a couple of sentences and other groups synthesized the information and were able to make connections between ideas and information. Much of it had to do with student interest.
Also, it should be noted that the seniors I taught at the time had never been exposed to Shakespeare before in high school. I wanted to give those students who were interested the opportunity to learn more about the playwright and time period.