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Understand the Conventions of Playscripts

In this worksheet, students read a short playscript and answer questions about its layout and presentation.

'Understand the Conventions of Playscripts' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Understand Structure and Purpose

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

A playscript looks very different from an ordinary story. It is written in a special way to help the actors who will play the parts on stage.

 

You probably know the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Read the opening of the story, written as a playscript, and then answer the questions in the worksheet. Remember that you can look back at this introduction as often as you like by clicking on the Help button.

 

Little Red Riding Hood

 

 

Characters

Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH)

LRRH's mother

LRRH's grandmother

Wolf

Woodcutter

 

Scene 1

The inside of a small cottage in the woods. LRRH and her mother are putting items of food into a basket on the table.

Mother: There. That should do for Granny today. Now go and get ready, dear.

LRRH: It's cold today. I think I'll wear my new red cloak.

LRRH goes to the cupboard and fetches her cloak.

Mother (tying the ribbons under LRRH's chin): Now, remember to go straight to Granny's house and don't talk to any strangers on the way.

LRRH (sighs): Of course, Mother. I never do. You say that every time.

Mother (smiles): I know you're a good girl, but I've heard rumours that the wolf is back in these parts, and you can never be too careful.

LRRH: I'll be good! I'll go straight there and I'll do any jobs that Granny needs.

Mother: Good bye then! Have a nice time!

LRRH exits stage right. Mother waves after her. Lights down.

A playscript starts by listing the characters who will appear during the play. How many characters are there in this play?

3

4

5

6

In a book, the stories are usually divided into chapters. What are the different parts of a play called?

Write the word in the answer box.

The words spoken by characters in a story are put inside speech marks. Is this the same in a playscript?

yes

no

At the beginning of the playscript there is a section in italics (sloping print). What information does it give?

the names of the characters

the words spoken by the characters

a description of the setting and what the characters are doing

Later on in the scene there are more words in italics, this time inside brackets. What are they for?

They are the words spoken by the characters.

They are the names of the characters.

They show what the characters are doing while they speak.

Sometimes playscripts shorten words (such as writing LRRH instead of Little Red Riding Hood) to make them easier to follow. They also use special language that actors understand.

 

Find and copy the sentence in the playscript that means 'LRRH leaves the stage on the right hand side'.

Some plays have a narrator, a person who tells part of the story but is not a character in the play itself.

 

Is there a narrator in this version of Little Red Riding Hood?

yes

no

Read the statements and decide which ones are true for playscripts.

 truefalse
The story is divided into chapters.
The story is divided into scenes.
Italic print is used to describe the setting at the beginning of the scene.
Bold print is used to show what the charactes are doing while they speak.
A new line is used every time a new character speaks.
There is always a narrator.
Speech marks are used to show what characters say.
Names and words are sometimes shortened to make the playscript easier to follow.
  • Question 1

A playscript starts by listing the characters who will appear during the play. How many characters are there in this play?

CORRECT ANSWER
5
EDDIE SAYS
It is important to know how many characters are needed so you know you have enough actors to play the parts!
  • Question 2

In a book, the stories are usually divided into chapters. What are the different parts of a play called?

Write the word in the answer box.

CORRECT ANSWER
scene
scenes
EDDIE SAYS
In a book, the action can move from place to place within one chapter. In a play, a new scene has to start every time the action moves. The next scene in the this play would be set in the woods, where Little Red Riding Hood first meets the wolf.
  • Question 3

The words spoken by characters in a story are put inside speech marks. Is this the same in a playscript?

CORRECT ANSWER
no
EDDIE SAYS
In a playscript, the name of the character who is speaking is written at the start of the line, followed by a colon (:) and then the words he or she speaks. Speech marks are not used.
This way of presenting speech is easier for actors to follow as they learn their lines.
  • Question 4

At the beginning of the playscript there is a section in italics (sloping print). What information does it give?

CORRECT ANSWER
a description of the setting and what the characters are doing
EDDIE SAYS
Italics are used to give information about the setting and what the characters are doing (rather than saying). There is also information in italics in the middle of the scene and at the end.
  • Question 5

Later on in the scene there are more words in italics, this time inside brackets. What are they for?

CORRECT ANSWER
They show what the characters are doing while they speak.
EDDIE SAYS
Words in italics after the name of a character are called stage directions and tell the actor what to do while he or she is speaking. The actors do not say the stage directions out loud.
  • Question 6

Sometimes playscripts shorten words (such as writing LRRH instead of Little Red Riding Hood) to make them easier to follow. They also use special language that actors understand.

 

Find and copy the sentence in the playscript that means 'LRRH leaves the stage on the right hand side'.

CORRECT ANSWER
LRRH exits stage right.
EDDIE SAYS
To exit means to leave. 'Stage right' and 'Stage left' are common terms in the theatre world.
  • Question 7

Some plays have a narrator, a person who tells part of the story but is not a character in the play itself.

 

Is there a narrator in this version of Little Red Riding Hood?

CORRECT ANSWER
no
EDDIE SAYS
There is no narrator in this version, but the play could be written with a narrator, who would tell parts of the story that the actors cannot easily act out.
  • Question 8

Read the statements and decide which ones are true for playscripts.

CORRECT ANSWER
 truefalse
The story is divided into chapters.
The story is divided into scenes.
Italic print is used to describe the setting at the beginning of the scene.
Bold print is used to show what the charactes are doing while they speak.
A new line is used every time a new character speaks.
There is always a narrator.
Speech marks are used to show what characters say.
Names and words are sometimes shortened to make the playscript easier to follow.
EDDIE SAYS
The names of the characters may be in bold print to help them stand out, but the stage directions are generally in italics.
---- OR ----

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