This unit covers the creation of Folklore into a theatrical work of art with a target audience of children ages 8+.
At a time when the pressures on young people are perhaps greater than they have been at any time since the second world war, and the challenges faced by massive cultural and technological shifts, climate change, and economic collapse are immense, what we need is a rising generation who can use their heads to solve those problems but also their imaginations.
- Lyn Gardner
The Guardian UK
Full article from10/23/13 here
The introduction we have to theatre as children is important to our understanding of the world. Some of the first things that we are introduced to are Nursery rhymes and folk tales from our families. These rich cultural stories make great theatre and help us and others better understand humanity.
In this unit, you will research the folklore of your family's national heritage or of the United States. You'll take that piece of folklore and turn it into a 3 minute play to be performed for your class.
Why do cultures tell stories of folklore and legend?
What sort of folklore and legend do you remember most from childhood?
How and why did it cause a reaction in you?
What, in your opinion, is the residual effect of seeing a piece of folklore performed as a child?
STudents will learn
Students will be able to
Unit Activities and resources
You will research a piece of folklore/legend/myth from your family's nationality of origin or one of the United States. Within your research, ask the following questions:
- What was the timeframe in which this story was written?
- What about it shows the oral teaching of the time in which it was written?
- How would this story influence the imagination of a child to make culturally appropriate decisions?
Myths and Legends Podcast in which, Jason Weiser, writer and host revisits and rephrases classical myths from several different cultures. At this link are his sources for each episode of the podcast. www.mythpodcast.com/sources/
Encyclopedia Brittanica is a great place to start on the following links:
US Folklore and Folktales (this link includes items of immigrant and displaced peoples' folklore)
Research Children's Theatre Companies - Look into companies that specialize in Youth Theatre. Ask the following questions:
1. What age group(s) do they serve?
2. What are their plays/products used for (i.e. education, entertainment, social emotional learning)?
3. How do they take folklore and make it theatre?
Once you've decided on a folktale, legend, or myth, either by yourself or in a group (up to four people) begin to find what the key parts fo the story plot are.
Brainstorm what about these things relates to something happening in the present day.
If the "moral of the story" doesn't quite fit with what we thing of as right and wrong now, how would you approach it?
If it does, why?
Now that you have these questions answered in your creative process, begin to define how this story would be done in the present day. Create the following pieces:
For example, let's look at Little Red Riding Hood
a. Characters - Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, Grandma, The Woodcutter
b. Setting - A forest path and a small cottage in the middle of nowhere
c. Conflict - Red needs to bring Grandma some food, Work wants to make Red and Grandma his food
d. Climax - Red gets tricked and both she and Grandma before her, get eaten
e. Resolution - Woodcutter shows up, kills wolf and slices him open so Grandma and Red can get out.
Present Day Version
a. Characters - Red Hoodie, Wolf the Hacker, Grandma, Officer W.D. Cutter
b. Setting - A forest based online RPG and Grandma's house
c. Conflict - Red has to go to Grandma's to teach her how to hook up the wifi interrupting her forest RPG time
d. Climax - Red left her computer open and the webcam/mic on which allowed Wolf to hack into her computer and find Grandma's info, stealing her identity and racking up thousands in credit card bills almost instantly buying property online inside the forest RPG so he could have the best "island."
e. Resolution - Finding the ID theft, Grandma and Red call the internet police, Officer W.D. Cutter who cuts off the hacker's connection and restores Red and Grandma's computers and credit info.
Write your present day version of the story you or you and your group chose. Give dialog (lines between characters) that sounds like people today would say it. After it is done being written, read it for another group so you can get feedback and make changes you need. After the changes are complete, have the group you went to the first time read it to you so you can listen for yourself and see if it needs more refinement.
Finalize the script.
Activity 5a. IN A GROUP
Block and memorize - Work on your show as a group devising the blocking and memorizing the lines. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Remember that rehearsals are done after the last curtain falls, in other words, practice makes progress and there is always another way to approach the character, the line, the relationships.
After you have, as a group blocked and gotten off book, present the piece to classmates in a "workshop" setting to get constructive feedback about things that you may not have been able to see on your own.
Activity 5b. BY YOURSELF (SOLO)
Create a Radio Play/Audiobook style performance. Voice over is a huge acting industry, so with your Youth Theatre Script, record yourself in audio reading the script and use a different voice for each character. Add sound effects and foley (sounds made that sound like what you want) on the recording. You can use a bunch of different apps to help you accomplish this. Start by seeing if you have a voice memo portion of your phone or tablet, even your Chromebook! Some online resources are:
Twisted Wave twistedwave.com/online
Audio Trimmer audiotrimmer.com
Audio Joiner audio-joiner.com
Each of these applications have different uses for audio and video. Look at them first to see which one best suits your needs.
With both 5a. and 5b. Perform or upload your work to the instructor's education platform. (i.e. Google Classroom, Canvas, etc.)
TEACHERS - ONLINE TEACHING OPTION:
Use 5b. as your summative assessment. Also, make sure to keep journals and check ins as formative assessments along the way and data for grading/reporting.