Tag Archives: drama

Term of Art: Atmosphere

“Atmosphere: The mood and feeling, the intangible quality which appeals to extra-sensory as well as sensory perception, evoked by a work of art. For instance, the opening scene in Hamlet where the watch is tense and apprehensive, even “jumpy.” By contrast, the beginning of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist indicates clearly that the play is going to be comic to the point of knockabout. An excellent example in the novel is Hardy’s depiction of Egdon Heath in The Return of the Native.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Scarface

Scarface: A gangster film (1932) directed by Howard Hawks, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht and others. The 1983 remake was directed by Brian de Palma and had a screenplay by Oliver Stone. The name of the eponymous anti-hero is Tony Camonte (played by Paul Muni) in the 1932 version; in the 1983 version he is called Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino). The character is based on the real-life gangster Al Capone (1899-1947), who acquired the name Scarface from the scar on his left cheek caused by a razor slash in a Brooklyn gang fight in his younger days.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Algonquin Wits: George S. Kaufman

“As a young theater critic and aspiring playwright, Kaufman was assigned to cover a new Broadway comedy. In his review he wrote: ‘There was laughter in the back of the theater, leading to the belief that somebody was telling jokes back there.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors: A cult horror movie (1960) directed by Roger Corman (b. 1926) about a carnivorous talking plant that quickly outgrows the flower shop of its dimwitted owner and becomes a voracious man-eating monster. The success of Corman’s original inspired stage musical with the same title in the 1980s and an inferior film remake in 1986.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Book of Answers: Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prizes

“How many Pulitzer Prizes did Eugene O’Neill win? Four, for Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928), and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1957).”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Rotten Reviews: How It Is, by Samuel Beckett

“…he breeds nothing but confusion. His plays and novels present a vision of life that is shockingly unchristian. They make the life and death of our Lord just one more of the legends man has used to delude himself…Beckett is postulating this as our inescapable condition of life. It may be for him. Not for this reader.”

R.H. Glauber, Christian Century

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

Isadora Duncan

For a student with certain interests, broadly, arts and culture, but narrowly, dance, bohemianism, and women’s history, this reading on Isadora Duncan and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet have turned out to be high-interest materials.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Buried Gold”

It was 52 degrees at 5:00 this morning here in southwestern Vermont, which sure felt like an harbinger of fall. It’s warming up slowly. I feel like, as I did in my late teens and early twenties, that I should be preparing to begin a six-week apple harvest. I can’t imagine, at my age, what picking 120 bushels of apples a day would do to my body and mind.

Ok, that said, here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Buried Gold.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” This is often attributed to Shakespeare; in fact, it comes from the pen of the Restoration dramatist William Congreve from his play The Mourning BrideI actually posted this short exercise with a parts of speech lesson elsewhere on this blog, so be on the lookout.

Here is the scan with the illustration, reading, and questions that you’ll need to conduct your investigation and therefore teach this lesson. And here, at last, is the typescript of the answer key so you can solve your case and bring the offender to the bar of justice–so to speak.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Aristotle on Drama

“According to Aristotle, what elements are necessary to a play? There are six: plot, thought, character, diction, music, and spectacle.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Term of Art: Deus Ex Machina

“Deus Ex Machina: (Lat, “god from the machine) A theatrical device used in Greek tragedy. In several plays of Euripides, a god appears at the last moment to provide the solution to the tangled problems of the main characters. The god is let down from the sky on a sort of crane. The phrase has come to refer to a playwright’s use of external means to solve the problems of his characters—a practice generally frowned upon.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.