Monday, June 20, 2011

Reader's Theatre: Antigone on Facebook

This Tumblr page from Read caught my eye, as I've been scrounging to come up for ideas for next year's Literacy Week.  I missed the event, but Read ran a sort of reader's theatre a few months ago, re-enacting Much Ado About Nothing through Facebook posts.  Brilliant!

Since I teach an English class next year (and we're reading Antigone), I think (hope!) it will be wildly motivating for them to sponsor a similar event for the school community during Literacy Week. I want students to do as much of the organizing and groundwork as possible, so they buy in to the whole idea, and we'll promote it to the wider school community--secondary students, faculty, parents.

The Premise:
 After reading/discussing Antigone, as a class, with performance in mind, students will rewrite the story in a contemporary setting and adopt a character. Students will work together to create a series of Facebook posts through their characters that develop the Antigone plot and themes.  This storyline will take place over three days, with a day before and after for pre/post theatre introductions and discussions.

If you haven't read it, Antigone deals with themes extremely relevant to today's world:  individual rights vs. the state;  duty to our beliefs vs. duty to the state; what does it mean to be a good citizen?  a good ruler?   And a lot more.  This should create plenty of ideas for discussion during the course of the week.

1. One group of web-savvy students will create an event website, explaining the concept, giving brief biographies of the characters, etc.

2.  Each student will create a Facebook page for their character, complete with likes, photos and other appropriate character development.

3.  As stated above, the class will create a series of posts for each character that develop the plot and themes of  Antigone. They will need to establish an order and strict schedule for when each one will be posted.  This is the framework.  However, once the pre-planned posts are up, other characters are free to comment on those posts, within the context of the play and their character.

4.  Student will also create publicity for the event: A trailer to host on the school website, posters around the school, morning announcements, etc.  

Here's Where it Gets Fun
With each character bio, the  event website will provide a link to invite the school community to "Like" the characters on FB.  They will then be able to follow the ongoing discussion.  More importantly, they will be able to comment themselves and participate in the "theatre."  Characters, in turn, can respond to the audience comments and each other.

Potential Problems:
I can see where it might be difficult to follow the discussion on a Facebook wall.  If I can figure out Tumblr, I'm going to try to create a Tumblr page that will organize the posts more sequentially.  I'm still trying to work that out.

I'm excited about this; I think the kids will love it, and see ways of using technology to do more than share photos from their latest party.  I hope the school community-at-large will participate too.  While I'm sure we'll encounter obstacles, that's part of the learning experience. I want students to take front and center on all the planning, with me there for consultation.

I'd love to hear your feedback/thoughts!

And, of course, as I start working on this, I will post all student handouts, etc.


  1. I heard about a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if it will give you the interaction you are wanting, but it might be worth looking into.

  2. give a try; it mimics facebook and the site is available for education.