Method II: Connection, Overview, Specific Focus

This second method also provides answers to three questions and is particularly effective for all chapters subsequent to the first.

  • How is the content of this chapter connected to that of the previous chapter or chapters?
  • What, in general, is the chapter about? / What will students learn?
  • What is the specific focus of the chapter?

An introduction of this type will:

  • show how content is connected from one chapter to the next, and the next, and so forth;
  • provide a general overview of the chapter; and
  • introduce specific concepts, theories, or topics to be addressed.

Again, the amount of page space devoted to the introduction is a matter of the author’s discretion. A concise introduction can cover all this in one paragraph, while a more detailed one can take up to a page.

This kind of introduction can also be linked to objectives and outcomes.

Sample Introduction for Method II

Chapter Three provided a detailed discussion of the role of masks and costumes in expressing, and even shaping, character. Chapter Four examines another theatrical element of profound visual impact in both characterization and plot – props. Certain objects are inextricably linked to certain individuals, scenes, and plot points. Even the most modern staging of Macbeth will still rely on the idea of the dagger that slays Banquo to convince us of Macbeth’s increasing insanity. The witches will need their cauldron, Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would be smaller without his ever-present cigar. Together with costumes, props are the audience’s visual connection to the story and the people involved in it. Unlike costumes, many props cannot be interpreted at the discretion of the director or actor without shifting the narrative or changing the character. This means that understanding how to choose and effectively use props is a critical part of interpreting, designing, and staging any play.

Linked Objectives (What will the students learn?)

In this chapter students will:

  • learn about the use of props throughout the history of live theatre;
  • study how props establish or change character, and drive story; and
  • become familiar with iconic props from specific productions and stagings of plays.

Linked Outcomes (What will the students be able to do?)

After reading the chapter, students will be able to:

  • write a brief character sketch and list the props that would establish this character;
  • recognize, discuss, and provide detailed examples of how specific props within specific plays impact the story, and how the story would be affected if the prop were removed; and
  • recognize, discuss, and provide detailed examples of how specific props within a play impact a character, and how the character would be affected if the prop were removed.