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Pre-Show Ritual Activity

Two people jumping and shouting onstage. They are wearing black robes with silver metallic fringe.
Photo of Danielle Davis and Cage Sebastian Pierre by Michael Brosilow.

The central conflict in Antigone is the titular character’s choice to conduct a forbidden burial ritual for her disgraced brother. Though not all rituals are conducted in such a high-stakes situation, they do provide essential markers of time and milestones, or may be honored routines in our daily lives. 

This activity for learners of all ages invites learning, reflection, and creation around ritual-making.

Ritual Activity

  • Activity Preparation
    • Supplies
      • One piece of paper
      • Two writing utensils, each a different color 
      • As desired, supplies or a plan to gather supplies for a newly created ritual
    • Set-Up
      • On your paper, draw a table with three columns; one column should have a header for Cultural Rituals, one should have a header for Familial Rituals, and one should have a header for Personal Rituals. Extend the columns to leave plenty of room for writing in each. See the sample below.
  • This activity will take approximately 35 minutes.
A chart with three columns; one for Cultural Rituals, one for Familial Rituals, and one for Personal Rituals.

  • Learning Sequence
    1. Consider the idea of rituals. What comes to mind when you think of this word? (~2 minutes)
    2. Using paper and a writing utensil, draw a table with three columns; one column should have a header for Cultural Rituals, one should have a header for Familial Rituals, and one should have a header for Personal Rituals. See sample above. (~1 minute)
    3. In each column, list as many rituals as you can; these rituals should be specific to your cultural background, family traditions, and personal habits. Some rituals may have roots in religion, community, and major life events, while others may be smaller, private, or varying in frequency. Consider rituals that have appeared earlier in your life and those that may be part of your future. (~12 minutes) 
    4. With your second writing utensil, return to the first column of the table, labelled Cultural Rituals. Add to each ritual in your list the timing, age, or frequency of the ritual (Is it daily? Annually? Once a certain age is reached?). Repeat this process with your list of Familial Rituals and Personal Rituals. (~8 minutes)
    5. Take stock of your entire list of rituals. What do they have in common? Below your table, make a list of the essential list of ingredients that need to be part of a ritual. (~5 minutes) 
    6. Optional: Spend some time with this article and this podcast, each of which explores the origins and importance of rituals in our lives. 
    7. At the bottom of your paper, plan a new ritual to implement into your life. Use these guiding questions as you develop your ritual and write down the ingredients: (~8 minutes)
      • When and how frequently will this ritual occur? 
      • To what extent will it be elaborate? To what extent will it be simple? 
      • How long will the ritual last? 
      • Who else, if anyone, will be involved? 
      • What supplies will you need? 
      • Will anything in particular set off, or usher in, the ritual for you? 
      • What intention, experience, or milestone will this ritual mark? 
    8. When the time comes, implement your ritual!

  • This activity addresses the following standards:
    • Illinois Arts Learning Standards
      • Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
    • Common Core State Standards
      • CCSS.ELA.RI1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Posted on January 31, 2024 in Learning Guides, Productions

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