Surfing with the Bard Lesson Plans

As You Like It Introduction to As You Like It
Submitted by:  Amy Ulen
(adapted from a lesson by Holly Singleton and Katie McKnight)
Date:  February 15, 1999

Objective:   To introduce the four central characters from As You Like It. To explore the relationships between these four characters as seen throughout the play. By the end of the class, the students should know the names of the characters and know a few of the lines that each character says. They will also use the changing relationships to predict the plot of the play.

Materials:  Index cards with lines, scarves, hats, etc.


  1. On index cards, write the following lines (place character name on the front of the card):

Group 1
-- "Come, come, elder brother, your are too young in this."
Oliver -- "Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?"
Celia -- "I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry."
Rosalind -- "From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see, what think you of falling in love?"

Group 2
-- "Can I not say, 'I thank you'?"
Oliver (to Charles) -- "Can you tell if Rosalind, the Duke's daughter, be banished with her father?"
Celia -- "Gentle cousin, let us go thank him and encourage him."
Rosalind -- "Gentleman, wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune, that could give more, but that her hand lacks means."

Group 3
-- "I am he that is so love-shaked."
Oliver (to Ganymede) -- "Be of good cheer, youth. You a man? You lack a man's heart."
Celia -- "You have simply misused our sex in your love prate."
Rosalind (as Ganymede) -- "There is a man haunts the forest that abuses our young plants with carving 'Rosalind' on their barks."

Group 4
(to Rosalind) -- "If there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind."
Oliver (to Celia) -- "That will I."
Celia (to Oliver) -- "Good sir, go with us."
Rosalind (to Orlando) -- "To you I give myself, for I am yours."

  1. Choose four groups of five (4 actors and 1 sculptor), and give each actor a card and costume piece (i.e. baseball caps for all the Orlandos, scarves for all the Rosalinds, etc.). Give the sculptors about 10 minutes to create a tableau vivant while the actors read the text on the cards. The sculptors should determine the order in which the cards will be read.

  2. Each group will show their tableau one at a time. After they have finished reading their cards, the rest of the class will record their responses in journals. Complete the activity by having all four tableaux performed at one time (without the text). Ask the remainder of the class what they see. Do the relationships seem to change?

  3. Ask the class to discuss the relationships between the four characters and predict what they think the play is going to be about. Have them record their predictions in their journals.

  4. Use the remainder of the class to begin reading the play (1.2.141-251). After reading the scene once, ask students questions to clarify plot. Who are these people? What are they doing? How well do they know each other? Continue to read the scene using the Tolaydo acting circle method.

  5. By the end of the class, all the students should know the names of four of the major characters from the play. They should also have some predictions about the plot of the play. If every student was able to participate as an actor/sculptor in the tableaux vivants and/or in the reading of 1.2.141-251, then the introduction was a success.

  6. Homework ~ Ask the students to read 1.1 and determine how Oliver fits into the picture.



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