The Power of Story in a Play
Grades: 6 - 12

Video Description: What does it take to write a play? Where do ideas come from? How are characters and plot points developed? And once those ideas get down on paper, how do they come to life in a theatre the first time the story is produced on a stage? Pursue answers to those questions and more as you hear from playwright Eric Coble and theatre director Julia Flood who are bringing to life the powerful story of Mr. Coble’s newest play for young audiences, “The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus.”

Type of Video: Program*
Unique Video ID: Theatre-133**

Quick Ideas for Using the Video:

  • Take this opportunity for your learners to hear directly from a playwright and theatre director. Before a play can reach the stage, it must be written. Have each learner create a character for a potential story.
    Steps for character development: a name that is memorable yet realistic, motivation or goals, strengths as well as flaws, internal and external conflict, physical characteristics, such as thin, strong, young or old
  • Once a story is turned into a play and accepted for production, the theatre director turns the vision into reality. Have your learners reflect on what if must be like for the playwright to turn their idea over to someone else. Have them write a short play about that loss of control and how a character might manage it, using the character they created in the above activity.


*Programs offer long form exploration of a topic(s) in the area of study with single or multiple guests interacting with an audience.

**The unique Video ID can be used to quickly locate a single video in the ET collection. This search function is designed to let teachers assign students to watch a specific video and have only that video appear as a search result. Just click on Search and choose “By Video ID.” Then type in the Video ID as it appears above. Be sure to include the dash.