|As You Like It
||As You Like It Word Plays
Submitted by: Amy Ulen
(adapted from a lesson by Viki Oliver)
Date: February 15, 1999
The students will explore Jaques' "Seven Ages of
Man" speech by creating word plays. The goal is to get
the students to think about the sounds and shapes of individual words in a monologue and
to put actions with those words. It is also an introduction to the monologue that each
student will memorize for a choral performance at the end of the unit.
Materials: II.vii.138-165, individual words in order
the2 world's3 a4 stage5 and6
all7 the8 men9 and10
women11 merely12 players13 they14
have15 their16 exits17 and18
their19 entrances20 and21 one22
man23 in24 his25 time26
plays27 many28 parts29 his30
acts31 being32 seven33 ages34
at35 first36 the37 infant38
mewling39 and40 puking41 in42
the43 nurse's44 arms45 and46
then47 the48 whining49 school-boy50
with51 his52 satchel53 and54
shining55 morning56 face57 creeping58
like59 snail60 unwillingly61 to62
school63 and64 then65 the66
lover67 sighing68 like69 furnace70
with71 a72 woeful73 ballad74
made75 to76 his77 mistress'78
eyebrow79 then80 a81 soldier82 full83
of84 strange85 oaths86 and87
bearded88 like89 the90 pard91
jealous92 in93 honour94 sudden95
and96 quick97 in98 quarrel99
seeking100 the101 bubble102 reputation103 even104 in105 the106 cannon's107 mouth108 and109 then110 the111 justice112 in113 fair114 round115 belly116 with117 good118 capon119 lined120 with121 eyes122 severe123 and124 beard125 of126 formal127 cut128 full129 of130 wise131 saws132 and133 modern134 instances135 and136 so137 he138 plays139 his140 part141 the142 sixth143 age144 shifts145 into146 the147 lean148 and149 slipper'd150 pantaloon151 with152 spectacles153 on154 nose155 and156 pouch157 on158 side159 his160 youthful161 hose162 well163 saved164 a165 world166 too167 wide168 for169 his170 shrunk171 shank172 and173 his174 big175 manly176 voice177 turning178 again179 toward180 childish181 treble182 pipes183 and184 whistles185 in186 his187 sound188 last189 scene190 of191 all192 that193 ends194 this195 strange196 eventful197 history198 is199 second200 childishness201 and202 mere203 oblivion204 sans205 teeth206 sans207 eyes208 sans209 taste210 sans211 everything212
Before class, make a photocopy of
the attached sheet, and cut out each word (be sure to keep them in order).
Push aside all desks and chairs, and have the
students form a circle. Let the students know that they will have to form the exact
same circle the next day.
Run them through a physical and vocal warm-up. You
may also want to ask a student or two to lead the warm-up for you.
After the warm-up, begin handing out the individual
words (in order!).
Give each student one word, and ask them to whisper
the word. Encourage them to let the sound of the word take over. How does the sound of the
word make you feel? Where does that word sit when you whisper it? On sound, say the word.
What action fits that word? Allow your body to move and create that action. Beginning with
the first person, have each student say the word and perform the action. The rest of the
class will echo the word and action. Continue this sequence until all of the words are
When the students have all of their words (7 or 8),
give them the remainder of the class period (if any) to place the words in any order they
choose. Encourage them to ignore the word numbering for now.
When they have an order they like, allow them to once
again put action with the various words.
After they have practiced this several times, ask
them to paperclip their words together, write their names on the back of one of the words,
and turn them in to you.
Hand back the words, and ask the students to get back
into the circle in the same order as yesterday.
Lead them through a vocal and physical warm-up.
Give them a few minutes to rehearse their word plays.
Each student will perform his or her word play, which
will then be echoed by the rest of the class.
After the word plays, ask the students to place their
individual words back in numerical order.
Starting with number 1, have the students read the
words in order. After the first time through, ask them to do it again, but this time don't
pause between words. Try to read it as one voice. Continue this until the students begin
noticing that the words fit together. Ask them to figure out where one sentence ends and
the next begins. Once they have a fairly good sense of what the monologue is saying, give
them a copy of the speech.
Use the remainder of the class period to discuss the
monologue and to assign it for memorization.
Were the students able to vocalize their words,
and make some sort of physical connection to the words? Did they recognize that the
individual words formed a longer speech? Did they pick up on the rhythm of the words as
they formed sentences? Did they begin to memorize the speech without thinking about it?
This is an activity that will pay off in the long run.
As students begin to memorize this speech, they will remember the individual words and the
movements that went with those words.