PRAXIS II Theatre Exam

This exam is designed for individuals who would like to teach theatre at the elementary or secondary level. You will be given 2 hours to complete this 120 multiple-choice question exam. The test can be broken down into the following sections:
Curriculum, Instruction, and Classroom Practices – 35 questions
Creating and Performing – 35 questions
Production – 30 questions
History, Literature, and Criticism – 20 questions

Curriculum, Instruction, and Classroom Practices:
This section will test your knowledge of subjects like how to select appropriate materials and plan instruction for various theatre subject areas, how to provide students with learning experiences that enhance their knowledge and skills in theatre, how to provide students with learning experiences that make theatre personally relevant and meaningful, how to provide students with learning experiences that foster critical thinking and problem solving, and how to identify developmentally appropriate instructional activities for students.

Creating and Performing:
This section of the exam will cover topics like the various methods for creating performance material, how to teach students to select or create appropriate performance material, the common approaches and basic steps involved in creating a performance, and the basic principles of vocal production and technique.

Production:
This section will test your knowledge of topics like the various roles in theatre production, the key elements of the directing process, the design and technical skills required for a variety of theatre productions and spaces, key elements of lighting design and production, key elements of sound design and production, and the key elements of scenic and property design and construction.

History, Literature, and Criticism
This section of the exam will cover topics such as the importance of theatre and its impact on society and history, the principles of theatre etiquette as a participant and a spectator, current developments in theatre, and theatre traditions from a variety of cultures and perspectives.


PRAXIS II Theatre Practice Questions

1. Theater is:

A. actors impersonating characters
B. from the Greek “theatron”
C. action and words that tell a story
D. All of the above

2. The earliest recorded theater productions are:

A. passion plays
B. mystery plays
C. opera
D. None of the above

3. The physical appearance of the stage or set is called:

A. scenic design
B. stage design
C. set design
D. All of the above

4. Costume design encompasses:

A. clothing and hats
B. footwear and accessories
C. all elements of the characters’ appearance
D. hair and makeup

5. The lighting function revelation of form can:

A. direct the audience’s attention
B. change the perception of the actors
C. set the tone
D. announce an event


Answer Key For Theatre

1. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines theater as “dramatic or comedic literature or other such material performed by actors impersonating characters through dialogue and action.” Theater is from the Greek “theatron,” which means “place of seeing.” It is a dynamic, performing art in which men and women use actions and words to tell a story to other people. It is sometimes called “a window into the human condition.” Theater, in one form or another, has existed for thousands of years.

The dictionary defines drama as “verbal literature composed of serious subject matter written specifically to be performed by actors in the theater and on television, radio, or film.” It is from a Greek word that means “act” or “deed.” According to Aristotle, drama imitates man’s actions. It often has an unhappy ending.

Comedy is defined as “humorous or satirical verbal literature depicting funny themes, situations, or characters that is written to be performed by actors in the theater and on television, radio, or film.” It provides amusement for the audience and usually has a happy ending.

2. Answer: A

The passion plays performed in Ancient Egypt are the earliest recorded theater productions. They were tied to religious ceremonies and festivals. The Ancient Greeks formalized theatrical performances, introduced criticism, accepted acting as a career, and developed theater architecture. Both used mythological creatures to tell their stories.

Medieval productions used the vernacular of the country in which they were written and performed. The mystery plays enacted by traveling troubadours continued to have a religious theme. Events began to depict stories of kings and other heroes that provided both entertainment and propaganda.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, authors began writing in iambic pentameter. Some of these stories came from Greek and Roman mythology. They celebrated historical figures, and some historians believe they were written to enhance the image of the Tudor monarchy.

Opera began during the Renaissance as a way to revive classical Greek drama. Music and drama were combined and gradually grew into the format still used today. Opera has undergone many changes over the years but is still a powerful performance medium.

3. Answer: D

Scenic design, stage design, set design, and production design are terms that mean the same thing: the physical appearance of the stage for a play or the set for a film or television program. It is how the space is used, divided, and decorated. It is a combination of the props, furniture, shapes, colors, and placement of the actors. The “stage picture” sets the mood and atmosphere of the production and helps define the show’s overall concept. It can help move the storyline and enhance the plot with the use of background scenery and props that reflect a particular period of time.

Scenic designers are members of the production staff. They work closely with the director, the costume designer, and the lighting designer to ensure that all the critical elements work together and accurately reflect the writer’s message and the director’s interpretation of that message. Scenic designers often build scale models to help the others “see” how the stage will look, so the others can do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

4. Answer: C

Costume design encompasses all the elements of the characters’ appearance. It includes clothing, hats, footwear, and accessories. It can also entail creating masks, makeup, or other special requirements, such as the animal suits worn in the stage productions of Cats and The Lion King. The costume designer may supervise a hair/wig master and/or a makeup artist, depending upon the historical era in which the story is set. The costumes sometimes help identify the character and should enhance the overall mood and atmosphere of the production. Costumes must also allow the type of movement reflected in the time period in which the story is set and not inhibit the way the director wishes to block the scenes. Care and maintenance must be considered especially if an extended run is expected or if the show is on tour.

Costume designers are members of the production staff. They work closely with the director, the scenic designer, and the lighting designer to ensure that all the critical elements work together and accurately reflect the writer’s message and the director’s interpretation of that message.

5. Answer: B

Lighting design is an art, as well as a flexible tool with several creative uses in theater, film, television, dance, and opera. The lighting designer is a member of the production staff and works closely with the director, scenic designer, and costume designer to ensure that all the critical elements work together and accurately reflect the writer’s message and the director’s interpretation of that message. Lighting enhances the production in many ways. Its functions include:

  • ILLUMINATION: The audience needs to be able to see what is happening.
  • REVELATION OF FORM: can change the perception of the actors and objects in the scene
  • FOCUS: direct the audience’s attention toward or away from a spot on the stage or set
  • MOOD: set the tone and atmosphere of a scene
  • LOCATION AND TIME OF DAY: set or alter the scene in time and space
  • PROJECTION/STAGE ELEMENTS: portray scenery or behave as scenery
  • PLOT: cause or announce an event or advance the action of the story
  • COMPOSITION: emphasize a particular area of the stage or set