Characterization through Costumes and Props


Students will demonstrate their understanding on how costumes and props can affect/form character by drawing a costume design for their character and writing a list of props their character might use.


**This lesson is intended to be used in conjunction with a performance piece that students have already been working on**


Materials Needed

Romeo+Juliet film


Write on the board: “Saturday is the best day of the week. Do you want to know why? Because I get to eat ice cream whenever I want.”


Also, as the students enter the room, display various costume pieces in front of the room such as: suspenders, glasses, plaid shirt, calculator, pile of books (Nerd); mini skirt, designer shirt, gum, cell phone (Preppy Girl); suit jacket, bow tie, wine glass (Wealthy Playboy); pink dress, hand basket (Innocent Little Girl)


Lesson Directions

Ask for four volunteers. Have the volunteers walk from one end of the classroom to the other in their normal style. After they have all walked, have them stand in front of the room, and in their normal voice, have them read aloud from the board, “Saturday is the best day of the week. Do you want to know why? Because I get to eat ice cream whenever I want.”


Step 1: Have the volunteers each dress in one of the costumes that are on display. Without any comment as to what their costume represents, have them walk the length of the room again and read aloud what is written on the board. Their costume should affect their movement and their speech.


Step 2: Discuss the differences in their movement and speech before and after they put on their costumes and props. How did they use their props? How did their movement change? Why? What kind of voice did they use? Why? What would you have done different?


Step 3: Ask the students if the color of the costumes made a difference. Discuss the meanings that colors might portray: Red: passion, lust, revenge Blue: calm, sadness, eternity White: innocence, purity Violet: royalty, wisdom Black: evil, death Brown: earth, poverty


Step 4: Show the class a clip from William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), the costume party scene.


Step 5: Ask the class what they could conclude about some of the various characters and their personalities because of their costumes. Romeo-knight costume (hero) Juliet-white angel costume (innocent, pure) Tybalt-red devil costume (bad guy)


Step 6: Give each student a piece of white paper. Have them draw a costume design for their scene character. Provide colored pencils/crayons so they can include color. If a student does not feel comfortable drawing have them write a detailed description of their character’s costume including style and color.  You could also take students to a computer lab where they could find images online to create a character costume collage.


Step 7: Next to their drawing (or under their costume description) have the students write down what props their character might use.


Step 8: Ask the students if they had to pick one costume piece and one prop that would really affect their character which one would it be? Tell the student to find and use those pieces for their performance.  Even if they can’t find the exact piece (it may be a different style or such) have them find something that captures the essence of their costume and prop design.



Costume Design & Prop List