Donate Tickets

Post-Show ‘Factors and Forces’ Activity

Three people in medieval robes stand in a horizontal line. They're all looking at something off to the side.
Photo of Kenneth La’Ron Hamilton, Brandon Miller, and Anthony Baldasare by Michael Brosilow.

Assess the forces tearing the Plantagenet family apart in The Lion in Winter and investigate the forces impacting your own life through this activity.

‘Factors and Forces’ Activity

  • Activity Preparation
    • Supplies:
      • Factors and Forces handout (one per student) 
      • Scrap paper, if completing the optional final step in the activity (one per student) 
    • Set-Up: 
      • Students will be working in a variety of modes in this activity: in pairs, independently, and whole-class discussion. Set up the classroom or student groups accordingly. 
      • Have an empty trash or recycling bin available, if completing the optional final step in the activity. 
  • This activity will take approximately 50 55 minutes.

  • Learning Sequence
    1. Remind students that The Lion in Winter explores the internal and external forces that tear and push the Plantagenet family apart. In Act II, Henry and Eleanor have a conversation about how and why things have turned out so messily. Read, or have students read, this brief selection from the script. (~5 minutes)
      • ELEANOR: Oh, Henry, we have mangled everything we’ve touched.
      • HENRY: Deny us what you will, we have done that. And all for Rosamund.
      • ELEANOR: No, you were right: it is too simple. Life, if it’s like anything at all, is like an avalanche. To blame the little ball of snow that starts it all, to say it is the cause, is just as true as it is meaningless.
    2. Ask: Who or what is to blame for the mess within the family? Prompt students to free write in Part I of their handouts in response to this question. (~5 minutes) 
    3. Ask a student to read aloud the question in Part II of the handout: What forces and factors are driving the decisions of the Plantagenet family? Direct students to work in pairs in response to this question, listing internal and external forces in the table. (~10 minutes)
      • If students need some support in their thinking, consider working through a few as a class initially. Internal forces might include things like Eleanor’s love for Richard or John’s hatred for Eleanor. External forces may include something like the threat of losing France’s support or toxic masculinity.
    4. Prompt students to discuss the questions below. As needed, offer them a few minutes to reflect or think with their partner before facilitating a whole-class discussion. Encourage students to take notes during discussion in Part III of their handout. (~15 minutes) 
      • What do you perceive as the greatest force impacting the Plantagenet family? 
      • At what point, if any, might the “avalanche” in the life of this family have been prevented? 
      • Who in the play do you think holds the most power? 
    5. Prompt students to independently reflect in Part IV. Ask: What forces and factors drive your own decisions? Have students add internal and external forces to both sides of the table. (~10 minutes)
    6. Optionally, invite students to locate an internal or external force of their own that they would like to release or be less influenced by. Have them write this force on a piece of paper and ball it up into a “snowball.” Then, invite students to play “trash-ketball” with these snowballs, tossing them into a bin, rather than waiting for them to become an avalanche in their lives. (~5 minutes)

  • This activity aligns with the following standards:
    • Illinois Arts Learning Standards 
      • Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • Anchor Standard 8: Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
    • Common Core State Standards 
      • CCSS.ELA.RL.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
      • CCSS.ELA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Posted on October 23, 2023 in Learning Guides, Productions

You have seat(s) on hold for:


Forgot your password?