U2 Listening

Before You Listen

Plays are meant to be performed. They are meant to be listened to and watched. The actors' and actresses' facial expressions, body language, and actions add to the meaning of the play. These are the stage directions that might be italicized or put in parentheses (e.g. Maria: (Stopping at the door.) Hello? Are you there?). Each actor and actress may act out a character slightly differently. Each theater may also use different props depending on their budget and how they decide to do the play. Therefore, each performance might be different from another performance. 


A Comedy and A Tragedy

Click the link to watch Bliss by Pathex:


Click the link to watch A Ballroom Tragedy by American Mutoscope and Biograph Company:


After You Watch

Exercise 2.8

Discuss the following questions with your class. 

1. How were the two plays the same?

2. How were the two plays different?

3. Were the endings of the plays happy or sad?

4. How did the characters show emotion?

5. How is the play acted out? (Are there costumes, props, or singing?)

6. How is watching the play performed differently than reading it aloud?

Exercise 2.9

Work with a partner to draft the dialogue for one of the plays. What do you think would be said? Write your dialogue on a piece of paper. Make sure to label or name the characters saying each part. 


Desperate Desmond

by Fred Duprez


While You Listen

Exercise 2.10

Answer the following questions as you listen to the play. Write your answers on paper as you watch the play. 

1. Who are the main characters?

2. What is the play about?

3. When is the play set?

4. Where is the play set?

After You Listen

Exercise 2.11

Part A

Discuss the following questions with your class. 

1. What was the main idea or message of this performance?

2. Who was the main character of the performance? How did you know that person was the main character?

3. Where was the setting of the performance?

Part B

Discuss the following questions with a group of your classmates.

4. What was your favorite part of the performance?

5. Why was that your favorite part of the performance?

6. Was your favorite part the same or different from your classmates?

7. Were any of the literary devices listed below used in the performance? If so, how were they used? 

  • hyperbole
  • euphemism
  • diction
  • oxymoron
  • alliteration

Part C

Answer the following questions individually. 

9. How did you feel throughout the performance? Was there increasing tension as the play built up to the end? 

10. How did you feel or what did you think about the ending of the performance? 


This performance includes two stories: the story of the director and the musician and the story of the woman, villain, and hero. Compare the two stories. Which did you find more entertaining? Why did you find that one entertaining?

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