Package 1. Magic and tangled relationships. Exploring the relationships in the play and the elements of magic which affect them.

1. A discussion about magic and what the children’s experiences of magic are e.g. children’s parties etc. Also, a discussion about the forest as a setting for the magical scenes.
2. A warm up activity, using physical theatre called ‘Building a Scene’. The children are given the scene of the forest to work with. One at a time, they come into the acting space and form themselves into an object within the setting declaring what the object is. For example, ‘I am a tree’. This continues until half of the children are in the scene. A discussion follows and then the activity is repeated to make sure all of the children get a chance to be part of the magical scene.
3. Mask workshop. Practise walking in different attitudes always keeping face forward so the audience can always see you. Try different ways of walking e.g. creeping as if you are hiding something etc. Show in groups to the class. In groups of five, choose a mask each then pick one which fits Puck’s character. Prepare to give reasons for your choice to the class. Five volunteers to wear the chosen masks and walk across the stage in a style fitting the mask. Class to choose the mask they think best suits the character of Puck.
4. As a class, read Puck’s speech. Choose 2 people to play Puck and the rest to divide up the speech between them. Practise the speech with Puck moving around the stage, in mask, (two of the same masks to be used) appearing and disappearing etc to give the illusion of magic. Perform these for the class and choose the best group for final performance. Some of the class members can volunteer to play trees in the magical forest.
5. In groups, read the sections of script and modern version opposite on the card. Share the lines between group members and choose members of the groups to play the characters in mask. Show these in order and discuss the effectiveness of using masks in this way.
6. Soap Opera scenes in pairs. Read the prompt card and prepare a typical soap opera scene to show the arguments between the characters.
7. The previous activities to form the basis of a performance.

Ideas for follow up activities.

1. A closer look at Act 3 Scene 2 where the lovers are led astray by Puck and fall asleep. Ten volunteers become enchanted trees in the forest. They cannot move their feet but can move their arms as branches and bend their trunks etc. Four volunteers take it in turns to enter the forest. They become tangled in the branches and confused. Eventually, one by one, they fall asleep then Puck enters to administer the magic flower juice etc. The trees can use a sound scape to reflect the confusion of the lovers.
2. The Jeremy Kyle Show – ‘My Friends Betrayed Me!’ Helena is invited onto the stage first to explain the situation and what has been happening. She is angry with her friend, Hermia, as she thinks she has been in league with Lysander and Demetrius to make her look stupid. Jeremy asks her questions and gives her opportunities to explain her feelings. The other characters are invited on, one at a time until they are all together on the stage. Jeremy asks them questions individually then gives them time to argue amongst themselves. The audience is given chance to ask questions etc. At the end, the audience votes as to whose story they believe the most.
3. A group improvisation session designed to allow the children to think about some of the elements of Hernia’s situation. In pairs, one plays the parent and one plays the child. The child has a friend that the parent does not approve of and tries to persuade them to be friends with someone else. The child has to give reasons why they should be allowed to have the friend of their choice. A discussion follows about Egeus and Hermia at the start of the play to explore both of the characters’ feelings at this point.
4. Puck’s magical abilities. In pairs, prepare a short performance where one plays Puck (or a magician) and the other plays a mortal. The fairy plays a number of tricks on the mortal. Act out the tricks and the mayhem that they cause for the mortal character. (One of the tricks should be turning the mortal into an animal such as a donkey). The mortals to be hot seated after the event to explore their feelings.

Package 2. The Mechanicals.

1. Discuss the concept of a play within a play. What is this and how can it be effective/comical?
2. A discussion about magic and what the children’s experiences of magic are e.g. children’s parties etc. Also, a discussion about the forest as a setting for the magical scenes.
3. A warm up activity, using physical theatre called ‘Building a Scene’. The children are given the scene of the forest to work with. One at a time, they come into the acting space and form themselves into an object or character within the setting declaring what the object or character is. For example, ‘I am a tree’. This continues until half of the children are in the scene. A discussion follows and then the activity is repeated to make sure all of the children get a chance to be part of the magical scene.
4. Discussion about the mechanicals and their function in the play. In groups, discuss the problems the actors are facing (listed on the sheet) and try to come up with some solutions to these. Discuss as a class.
5. In groups, now look at the solutions Bottom comes up with in the play and prepare a short role play depicting these events. Show these to the class and discuss.
6. Mask workshop. Practise walking in different attitudes always keeping face forward so the audience can always see you. Try different ways of walking e.g. creeping as if you are hiding something etc. Show in groups to the class.
7. Chinese mime activity– in groups, narrate the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in the section you have been given. Two members of the group mime the events while the others narrate. Put these together, in order, and discuss the effectiveness of the technique.
8. Group role play activity based on Bottom and the ass’s head. Read the summary on the card and prepare a short performance based on this. Use the donkey heads for comic effect.
9. Put these scenes together for a final performance.

Ideas for follow up activities.

1. Puck’s magical abilities. In pairs, prepare a short performance where one plays Puck (or a magician) and the other plays a mortal. The fairy plays a number of tricks on the mortal. Act out the tricks and the mayhem that they cause for the mortal character. (One of the tricks should be turning the mortal into an animal such as a donkey). The mortals to be hot seated after the event to explore their feelings.
2. A play within a play. In groups, imagine you are a group of actors. You have made a film with a message e.g. about road safety. Prepare the actual film then present it to a board of investors. You must start with a presentation, where the actors describe what the film is about and how they reached their decisions. The actors then become the characters in the film as it is shown to the panel. Afterwards, you must summarise your work and explain why your film would be a good investment.
3. One minute objects. In groups, make the shape of the following objects as quickly as you can: tree, fairy with wings, donkey, lion, sword, flower, etc. The group to make the object the fastest gains a point and the group which is the most creative gains a point.
4. The Ten O Clock News. Prepare a news report about some of the events in the play concerning Bottom and the other Mechanicals. This could include interviews with the characters and a report on the story about fairies being present in the forest. Think about possible titles for your report.