Missing Scenes Found on Film

Lesson by Allison Casper

Shakespeare’s plays are (un)filled with action and events implied or described in the dialogue. These missing scenes can take place between acts or scenes, before a play begins, or after it ends. Sometimes, a pivotal scene occurs offstage.

In this lesson, English teacher Allison Casper challenges her grade ten students to bring their twenty-first century imaginations to the pivotal moment in Macbeth when Macbeth exits to kill his king. Students reread Macbeth’s first and second soliloquys, comparing and contrasting each for the complex reasoning and conflicting emotions Macbeth expresses before committing this crime. They analyze Macbeth’s language for evidence of his self-image and his state of mind, his attitude toward King Duncan, and the distinctions he makes between assassination and murder. Then students compose the missing scene of Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan in the form of a film script and work in production teams to perform, film, edit, and produce the scene.

Click here for Casper’s lesson and handout, Missing Scenes Found on Film, the link to an excerpt from a professional film script excerpted from Craig Pearce’s and Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a sample student film script, and the project rubric.

“I loved this film project for many reasons, but especially because students began to understand how the techniques of film such as camera shots, angles and movement and lighting and editing create meaning in a film.  This helped them to see how the same concept applies to literature.  Additionally, their energy and creativity blossomed as they worked in groups, drafted their own film scripts, filmed the scenes, and edited their final products.  They were given the freedom to make choices and own their work, which is an entirely unique experience for some!” – Allison Casper

Click Play to view one of Casper’s student productions of a missing scene from Macbeth found on film!

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