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Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Fun Activities, Exercises

Before the Play 

Talk about theatre and what a play is.  What other plays have you seen?  Describe them to the class.  Why do you think certain parts of those plays are memorable to you?  What do you expect this play will be like?  What is the difference between seeing a play on television or movies and seeing actors perform it live?

Discuss you students the proper etiquette for audience members during a live performance.  Impress upon them that the actors they see are live people who care very much how you respond to the work they are doing.  Young audience members should learn the meaning of applause and laughter and that they should be polite to the people who are performing for them.

Read the original story and the synopsis of the play that appear in this Teachers Guide.  How are the stories alike?  How are they different?  Talk about the practical consideration of putting on a play and why the actors might need to adjust the story in order to present it on stage.

The play takes place in France where they used to tell fairy tales. Look up France on the Internet and in books, locate it on the globe.  Talk about what we know about the country, history, music and the people.  What kinds of clothes do they wear and what did the wear in years past?  Remember your answers when you see the actors in their costumes.  Or if you are performing in the play use the pictures you find to help create your costume.

During the play, children will be asked to participate by helping make sounds, wind, music, wolves, etc..  Describe a storm, scary forest, angry mob or ferocious wolves and talk about how they sound and move.  Point out the actual events or other plays or movies you may have seen.  How does your play relate to events in "real life” or other "fantasies”?

Talk about clothes and what they say about your personality.  Name some of your favorite movie stars or musicians and how the clothes they wear shape the image we have of them.  What makes some clothes come into fashion why others go out of style.  Describe your favorite shoes, hat and coat.  What makes you like them?  How do you feel when you wear them?

After the Play

Discuss in more detail the play you have just seen.  Who is your favorite character and why?  Talk about how the actors created the illusion of many things such as the castle, the forest, the marketplace and the invisible painting that Marcel sets up.  Talk about how you were asked to sue you imagination as opposed to movies and cartoons that show you a picture of everything.

Talk about some of the characters you saw in the play such as the Villagers and Household Servants.  What did they do with their voices and bodies to convey their character to you?  Would you like to try your hand at acting?  Write down the names of characters such as Beast and Wolves.  Come up with crazy names as Huey Kazooie and show the class how Huey would act and talk.  Choose other characters, perform them and ask your classmates to guess who you are.

Charles Perrault wrote many play besides Beauty and the Beast.  What titles are you familiar with?  Can you recount these stories?  Which do you like best and why?

What do you think a magical Prince-turned-Beast would actually look like?  Draw a picture of the Beast showing how he thought he looked once like a Prince.  Draw a picture of the Prince before he turned into a Beast.

What is the meaning of this famous story?  When people say "his bark is worst than his bite” what do you think they mean?  The Prince embarrassed when he realized he had been tricked and turned into the Beast.   What might he have done to prevent this embarrassment?

Large Cast Script for Schools!  Beauty and the Beast! Children's Play for Large Casts of Kids!  Beauty and the Beast!
ArtReach’s Beauty & the Beast, Monkton Central School, VT

Classroom Activities

CLASS STORY:  Read a version of the story as a class.  View an animated version and compare the two.  After seeing the show, compare all three genres.

BEING A HERO:  Ask the class what it means to be a hero.  Brainstorm a list of qualities that make a person seem like a hero.  In groups, pick the most important qualities and identify heroes today.  Share as a class. Discuss whether or not there is a hero in Beauty and the Beast.

JOURNAL ACTIVITY:  Have students imagine that they are in Beauty’s shoes.  In order to save their fathers, the students have to live with a terrifying beast. What would it feel like? Would the students have the courage to do it?

"YOU ARE A HERO!”:  Ask students to write about a time in their lives when they had to overcome something or helped someone.

FROM THE OUTSIDE IN:  Have students imagine that they could only show people their worst qualities.  No one would ever know the good qualities they had deep down inside.  What would that look like?  What would it feel like?  Have students draw what that person would look like, and write a story to go along with it.

FRACTURED AND FUNNY:  Have students write a fractured version of Beauty and the Beast. Explain that a fractured fairy tale is made to be humorous by changing the story in a surprising way; like changing a character or adding today’s language and events to the story.  Encourage the students to take creative risks.

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T:  The element of magic is common in fairytales.  In Beauty and the Beast, things aren’t always what they seem.  Explore optical illusions.  Look at examples as a class.  View optical illusions as a class using the internet and books.

AROUND THE WORLD ONCE UPON A TIME: Research different fairy tales from around the world and different times.

HANDING INFORMATION DOWN GENERATION TO GENERATION: Gather students on the rug and have them sit in a circle.  Explain that fairytales were handed down through word of mouth.  Pretend that each student sitting in that circle is another generation.  Play a game of "telephone” (one person thinks of a sentence and whispers it in the person sitting next to him/her’s ear, and that person passes, and so on) to demonstrate how stories change.

RE-WRITE HISTORY:  Ask students to rewrite the ending of Beauty and the Beast.  What would the play version of this look like?  After rewriting the way the story turns out, have students design a scene from their versions (the castle, forest, etc&ldots;) using only their imaginations to guide them.

FINISH THE PICTURE:  Have students design what the costumes would look like.  Remind them that the story can take place anywhere and in any time period.

BEAUTY IS&ldots;:  Ask students to define beauty.  This can be done through words or pictures


A Christmas Carol Classroom Activities
Classroom Discussions for ArtReach's A Christmas Carol

Read the original story ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens or the ArtReach School Play, adapted from the Dickens Classic.  What do you think is the "main theme” of the story? Consider other stories that the students are familiar with such as Cinderella, Snow White and the Wizard of Oz. What aspects of these stories are the same? Which are different?

1. What mistakes do you think Scrooge made in the story? When is he selfish? When is he kind and generous? What are his consequences and rewards for his actions?

2. Can students think of times when they’ve felt or acted like Scrooge? 

3. How does Scrooge change throughout the story? What is his "character development”? 

(Scrooge develops from a grumpy old miser to a happy, generous person. He is shown that life is short, and that it is a person's responsibility to look after others. He comes to realize that it is possible to be happy, and happiness has nothing to do with money.)

4. What specific things does Scrooge do to show he is a bad person? To show he is a good person?

(Bad: mean to Cratchit; refuses to give to charity; doesn’t like Christmas; etc. Good: gives Cratchit a raise; gives money away; sends turkey to Cratchits; cheerful about Christmas; etc..)

5. What would be a good essay or discussion topic for the story (something about why so many people, especially children, love the story). 

(For one thing, the story is simple – the lesson is to be good to people, because that is the only way to be happy. Children can relate to the metaphorical characters: the grumpy old man, the poor clerk, the joyful nephew, the saint-like little boy. The story is stark and vivid. It is easy to understand but hard to forget.)


Study Animals in Preparation for The Jungle Book
Look closely - There are pictures of animals all around us

Animal Awareness:  Look around your classroom for depictions of animals everywhere.  Look on each others’ clothing, on the illustrations on your shoes and backpacks.  Outside of the classroom look for illustrations of animals on wallpaper, carpet, jewelry, sculptures and designs on architectural buildings.  Humans have always used animals for design, art, function and pleasure!  Keep your eyes open and always look for the animals that are all around us!

mule, man

bird (eagle)

bird (chicken)

bird (penguin)

The Best Activity Ever!  Go to the Zoo!  Early on in the rehearsal process, see if you can arrange to have the whole cast to take a trip to the nearest zoo.  Have all performers go to each of the animals that will be represented in play.  While there, in front of the animal, discuss the looks, walk and sounds that the animal makes.  Let everyone play around with imitations.  These tiny performances may be funny and silly.  Back at the rehearsal site, recreate these imitations and see how they effect the mood and personality of the character they will play.   Use what you have learned at the zoo to play your Jungle-Person!

Rakshaw, Mowgli's mother Facepainting for Costumes!
It’s all Happening at the Zoo-Who!


The Jungle Book Classroom Activities
Activities & Discussions for ArtReach’s The Jungle Book

"I LOVE your version of The Jungle Book.  I have looked at 5 different versions and yours is the best!  I love the fact that there is the focus on Community and that there is such flexibility as far as roles.  We have done the Disney Jungle Book but that doesn't have the heart that yours has."
Diana Guhin Wooley, LAMB Arts Ltd, Sioux City, IA

Kipling’s Characters: Take a look at the list of characters at the beginning of the script. Look at each name and consider the personality traits of each one. What words would you choose to describe Mowgli: Brave, strong, curious, impulsive, funny, adventurous? What kind of traits would you use to describe yourself? If you are brave, give an example of when your bravery was present.

Mowgli Battles the Mighty Shere Khan!
The Jungle Book for Kids to Perform! Shere Khan Tiger
Audience becomes the Man-Village helping Mowgli save the Jungle.

Create Your Own Jungle: Discuss the various things you might find in a jungle such as plants and nature: flowers, trees, vines, moss, rocks, creek. What kind of animals would you find there? Snakes, frogs, vultures, lions, elephants, butterflies, mosquitoes. Have students choose a jungle "thing”. Don’t tell each other what you have chosen. Now draw a circle on the floor and have a few students go into the circle and become their "thing”. Have others enter the jungle and try to guess what the "things” are. You can also do this activity without the guessing game. Have students enter the "jungle” and simply enjoy it.

Moral of the Story: Think of aphorisms such as "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. What aphorisms would you use to describe the message of The Jungle Book? A moral is: A lesson that is learned from a story or an experience. Think of stories that have morals at the end like Aesop’s Fables. What do you believe is the moral of The Jungle Book?

Magic Near Your Home: Have you ever encountered a wild animal where you least expected it? A deer in your backyard, a turtle crossing the road, an opossum in an alley, a snake slithering in your garden? Tell the class about your experience. Why is it so exciting to encounter wild animals in a human setting? Should we continue to have these encounters or should we work to have animals and humans live apart?

Raised by Wolves: What do you think it was like for Mowgli to have brother and sister who are wolves? What if you were raised as an animal in the wild? Consider if your family was made up of porcupines, lions, elephants or squirrels. What would you wear? What would you eat? What sound would you make when you are hungry or frightened?

Water Awareness: Study the effects of water on human civilization and on the plants and animals of the world. Too much water can cause floods and drowning while too little water can cause drought with thirst and hunger as a result. Think about your day as a human and look back on your activities to remember how many times a day you needed water. How would you brush your teeth without water? How would you take your vitamin pills without water? What if you had to go for weeks or longer without a bath? Write a paragraph on what water means to you.

Pets as Wild Creatures: If you have a pet at home, it’s likely to be a cat or dog. Your cat may be a descendant of panthers like Bagheera. Your dog may be a descendant of a wolf like Akela. Imagine your pet in the forest alone. How would your pet handle an encounter with Shere Khan? How would you train your pet to live in the jungle?

Animal Awareness: Look around your classroom for depictions of animals everywhere. Look on each others’ clothing, on the illustrations on your shoes and backpacks. Outside of the classroom look for illustrations of animals on wallpaper, carpet, jewelry, sculptures and designs on architectural buildings. Humans have always used animals for design, art, function and pleasure. Keep your eyes open and always look for the animals that are all around us!


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