Aspects of Drama

Aspects of Drama Part 4: Drama Across the Curriculum

These performance and rehearsal excerpts include examples of historical drama and dramatic interpretation of literature, a segment on developing a theatrical work for television, and a complete 60-minute electronic field trip.

Drama Based on History: Jemima Boone

In writing Jemima Boone: Daughter of Kentucky, Moses Goldberg was interested in portraying history through female eyes. His story about early Kentucky settlers’ quest for independence and their delicate relationship with the Indians in the state is told in flashback. This scene opens with an older Jemima recalling an incident from 1773, then transports the audience to that day. Daniel Boone and his son James are setting a trap for food when Jemima arrives to tell Daniel that he is needed back at camp. After he leaves, the two youngsters encounter an Indian who speaks French, and a misunderstanding causes James and the Indian to fight to a tragic end.

Suggested Uses:
Use as part of a unit on Kentucky history.
Use to initiate a discussion and activities relating to communication barriers and cultural prejudices.
Have students try to communicate information to one another without speaking. Is the meaning clear?
Have students choose historical figures or events and write dramatic scenes about them.
Have students look for other historical accounts written from women’s perspectives.

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Staging Historical Drama: As It Is in Heaven

This segment takes viewers behind the scenes to see the University of Kentucky Theatre Department prepare for a production of As It Is in Heaven, a play by Arlene Hutton about Shaker women at Kentucky’s Pleasant Hill community in the 1830s. Actors practice songs and scenes from the play, and director Rhoda Gail Pollock and others discuss the challenges of portraying history onstage, how they work with others in the production, and how theater connects an audience with the past.

Suggested Uses:
Show to introduce a discussion of historical drama. For example, why is the use of singing and dancing appropriate for this particular play?
Have students choose a historical event and plan appropriate components and necessary research in order to write or direct a play about it.
Have students list the various theater jobs mentioned in the segment and the activities of each position.
Have students research and write dramatic scenes based on historical characters or events. They should direct and perform one another’s scenes and discuss the roles of the playwright and director.
Show this segment along with the Ryan Interview segment in which Arthur Miller discusses drama as a way to connect to the past.

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Electronic Field Trip to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

This documentary takes students on a tour of Kentucky’s largest performing arts space to meet some of the artists and technicians who create professional theater and musical events. The Kentucky Center, located on the riverfront in Louisville, houses several different theaters and is the home base of several professional arts organizations. During the field trip, students follow one production—a touring Broadway show—from initial planning to the excitement of opening night. KET’s cameras go behind the curtains to talk with actors, dancers, and musicians as they prepare to go on stage; learn about the many and varied career possibilities in the performing arts; watch as the stage is readied for a large-scale theater production; and learn about innovative ways to make performances accessible to the visually and aurally impaired.

Suggested Uses:
Show as part of a vocational studies exploration of careers in the arts.
Show before or after a field trip to a professional performance.

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K-12The Arts