Sir Arthur Airhead

play by Bill Condon , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intentions:

I am learning to analyse character personality traits so that I can write a play based on a similar text with a different main character.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify dialogue that reveals character personality
  • I can define complex vocabulary to find antonyms
  • I can use the template of a pre-existing play to write another play with a different main character


After reading the play as a class, ask students to write down a definition of the word ‘egotistical’. Even if they are unsure, have them use the context of the play to make an educated guess. Use a classroom dictionary or online dictionary to view the answer and ask if they got it right. (Leave the page up for later in the lesson.)


Ask students what they know about Sir Arthur, and to back up their answers by using quotes from the text. Students complete the worksheet Defining Character to consolidate their ideas.


Return to the dictionary definition of egotistical. Ask students to come up with antonyms for the word. (There is a section on Merriam-Webster’s page that gives antonyms.) Students should identify ‘humble’ and ‘modest’ as the two main antonyms.


Explain that students will be rewriting the play, but this time Sir Arthur will be overly humble. Students use the same format and basic interviewer questions, but change mentions of ‘egotism’ to ‘humility’, etc. Sir Arthur’s answers should also reflect his new, modest personality. Perform examples for the class to give an idea of what a modest person acts like, such as “Oh, no, it was nothing” and “My achievements pale in comparison of others” and so on.


EXTENSION: When complete, students get into pairs and perform both versions of the play to demonstrate the difference between the egotistical Sir Arthur and the humble Sir Arthur.