“Moody” Stage Directions
by Gregory Griffin
OBJECTIVE: The learner will create stage directions for a simple skit that convey an assigned mood, with minor teacher assistance. The learner will practice identifying specific moods in short performances.
1. Discuss/review the definition of literary mood.
(Mood is the feeling that a literary work conveys to readers.)
2. Discuss what stage directions are.
(Stage directions are the instructions to the actors, director, and stage crew included in the script of a play.)
3. On PowerPoint, or on a transparency, show students a short skit (5 lines or so) that
includes dialogue between two characters. Here is an example:
Sally: Good Morning, teacher.
Teacher: Good Morning, Sally.
Sally: What do you want us to do this morning?
Teacher: I want you to get out your homework.
Have two volunteer students stand in front of the class and read the skit. (It helps
if the students you pick are good at reading with lots of expression!)
4. Next, show students the same skit with stage directions included. Here is an example:
Sally: (loudly) Good Morning, teacher.
Teacher: (acting irritated) Good Morning, Sally.
Sally: (laughs rudely) What do you want us to do this morning?
Teacher: (sternly) I want you to get out your homework.
Sally: (sarcastically) Great.
Have the two volunteer students study the stage directions for a minute, then have
them read through the lines again. Students should be able to sense the noticeable
difference in the mood. Here is another example:
Sally: (cheerfully) Good Morning, teacher.
Teacher: (smiles) Good Morning, Sally.
Sally: (sweetly) What do you want us to do this morning?
Teacher: (energetically) I want you to get out your homework.
Sally: (excitedly) Great.
5. Next, break the class into small groups. 3-4 students per group would work best.
6. Give all groups a copy of a skit with no stage directions. The skits should all be the
same. Here is an example of the skit I used this year:
TYREE: What are you doing?
TYREE: What are you reading?
KEISHA: A fashion magazine.
TYREE: What’s it about?
KEISHA: Beyonce. And Rihanna.
TYREE: Rihanna. Wow. Beyonce. Whoa.
KEISHA: Excuse me?
TYREE: Guess who I like.
KEISHA: I don’t have any idea.
TYREE: I like Webbie, Lil’ Phat and Lil’ Boosie.
KEISHA: Who doesn’t?
TYREE: May I ask you a question?
KEISHA: I don’t know.
TYREE: Well, if you don’t know, who would?
KEISHA: I’m a little busy right now. Maybe later.
7. Next, give each group a card with a mood written on it. Groups should not share
their mood with each other. Here are some examples: humorous, bored, scared,
annoyed, happy, sad, anxious.
8. Here comes the critical thinking! Students must now “brainstorm” ideas for stage
directions for their skits. Explain to students that not only can they have the
characters say their lines a certain way, they can have the characters do any kind
of physical action that their mood might call for.
9. Circulate and help students as needed.
10. Have students perform their skits while other groups try to guess their moods.