Surfing with the Bard Lesson Plans

King Richard II An Introduction to Status
Submitted by:  Amy Ulen
Date:  February 15, 1999

Objective:   Using a scene from King Richard II, students will be introduced to the concepts of status. They will play two status games, and then use what they have learned about status in a scene from the play.

MaterialsOpen space and III.iv


  1. Push all the desks and chairs against the walls, and place a single chair in the center of the room.

  2. Begin class with a vocal and physical warm-up.

  3. Have the students begin milling & seething. Remind them to avoid making a circle and that they can't touch the chair in the middle of the room.

  4. As they mill about the room, begin the introduction to the six physical types of status by asking the students to make their bodies as wide as possible. Ask them how it feels to be wide. What kind of people are wide? Where is their center of gravity when they are wide?  Stop.  Have students shake off that physical type and continue milling & seething.

  5. Ask the students to make themselves as narrow as possible. Continue the line of questioning from above. Do this for all six status types: wide, narrow, high, low, forward, and back. Make sure that you ask the students where their center of gravity is for each position.

  6. Ask the students to choose a status type, and walk around the room greeting other members of the class. Ask them how their attitude changes by the way they carry their bodies. Are they happy? Sad? Angry? Shy? Have the students explore two or three status types in this way before moving to the next activity.

  7. When the students are comfortable with each status type, have them choose a number from a hat. Make sure that they don't show their number to anyone else.

  8. Have them sit in a circle on the floor. Explain that the chair in the middle of the room is a sacred chair and each of them desperately wants to sit in that chair. Ask two volunteers to approach the chair. Remind them that the number on their card determines their status (10 = high, 1 = low). Ask the class to guess the status of each person who tries to sit in the chair. What do they notice about the physical qualities of each person? After several groups have an opportunity to possess the chair, move on to the next activity.

  9. Have the class pair off, and hand out the following photocopies of III.iv:

  • lines 1-28 -- Queen and Lady

  • lines 29-71 -- Gardener and Man

  • lines 72-107 -- Queen and Gardener

  1.   Allow the pairs 15 minutes to rehearse their scenes. They should each determine their status number, and then choose a status body type for each character. Allow the students to perform their scenes.

  2.   If time permits, discuss how status was used in each of the scenes. How did the gardeners status change between his two scenes?

The students should all be aware of the six status types now and be able to use those types in a given scene. The lesson was a success if each student was aware of the role status played in the scene.

Continue to look at the role status plays in other scenes of the play. Pay particular attention to the Richard/Bolingbroke scenes.



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