Noh, the oldest surviving Japanese dramatic form, combines elements of dance, drama, music, and poetry into a highly stylized, aesthetic retelling of a well-known story from Japanese literature, such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike. This lesson provides an introduction to the elements of Noh plays and to the text of two plays, and provides opportunities for students to compare the conventions of the Noh play with other dramatic forms with which they may already be familiar, such as the ancient Greek dramas of Sophocles. By reading classic examples of Noh plays, such as Atsumori, students will learn to identify the structure, characters, style, and stories typical to this form of drama. Students will expand their grasp of these conventions by using them to write the introduction to a Noh play of their own.
To appreciate some of the extra-literary elements of a play, students pause at various intervals in their study of Thornton Wilder's Our Town to develop their own settings, characters, and conflicts.
The activities in this lesson invite students to focus on the characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, to describe and analyze their conflicts, and then to watch how those conflicts get resolved.