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Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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This page (Page #9) has creative activities for use in the classroom.  Kids love to learn more about the play’s origin and subject.  Check out these articles and activities related to ArtReach’s popular titles: Robin Hood, Snow White, Treasure Island, Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, A Thousand Cranes, Amelia Earhart, CinderellaDon’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contains tons of creative new ideas for your teaching lessons!

ArtReach's Robin Hood - Takes from the rich and gives to the poor!
Synopsis of the ArtReach Play for Young Audiences

With King Richard the Lionhearted away fighting wars in the Holy Land, his brother Prince John seizes the regency in England. Prince John and his followers are hard on the peasants, increasing their taxes and hanging those that cannot afford to pay. Robin of Locksley, also known as Robin Hood, rebels against the prince and is declared an outlaw. Living in Sherwood Forest, Robin and the Merry Men rob from the rich, give to the poor. Despite their dedication to avenging the less fortunate, Robin still takes time to woo the lovely Maid Marian, who has been promised to Prince John by her father the Sheriff. She actively resists the force of her father and the prince and later joins the Merry Men.

"Robin Hood rebels against the prince and is declared an outlaw."
Robin Hood Play for kids Robin Hood for Young Audiences
ArtReach's Robin Hood - The English Theatre, Frankfurt Germany

The Characters 

Robin Hood steals from the rich to give to the poor and is the best archer all around. Robin appears in many disguises and operates right under the Prince´s nose as Beggar or Jester.

Little John meets Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest and joins the Merry Men.

Maid Marian, daughter of the Sheriff of Nottingham, is supposed to marry Prince John. However, she has other plans and resists her father actively. 

Prince John took charge when King Richard left and rules with an iron fist, suppressing his subjects and constantly raising taxes. He doesn't care for the poor but only for his wealth. He wants to marry Maid Marian.

The Sheriff of Nottingham is Prince John´s right hand and the father of Maid Marian.

"King Richard is supported by Robin Hood & the Merry Men."
Play script for kids Robin hood Fun play for Young audiences Robin Hood
ArtReach's Robin Hood - The English Theatre, Frankfurt Germany

Friar Tuck is a sly food-loving churchman and part of the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. Being also a confidant of Prince John, he can provide Robin Hood with information about the Prince´s plans and whereabouts.

King Richard is the true ruler but away fighting wars. It is unclear whether he will ever return. He is supported by Robin Hood and the Merry Men. 

Robin Hood

The legend Robin Hood, legendary outlaw hero of a series of English ballads, some of which date from at least as early as the 14th century. Robin Hood was a rebel, and many of the most striking episodes in the tales about him show him and his companions robbing and killing representatives of authority and giving the gains to the poor. Their most frequent enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham, a local agent of the central government (though internal evidence from the early ballads makes it clear that the action took place chiefly in south Yorkshire, not in Nottinghamshire). Other enemies included wealthy ecclesiastical landowners. Robin treated women, the poor, and people of humble status with courtesy. A good deal of the impetus for his revolt against authority stemmed from popular resentment over those laws of the forest that restricted hunting rights. The early ballads, especially, reveal the cruelty that was an inescapable part of medieval life.

"The play takes a closer look at the man from Sherwood Forest."
Hilrios comedy Robin Hood The man from Sherwood Forest
ArtReach's Robin Hood - The English Theatre, Frankfurt Germany

Numerous attempts have been made to prove that there was a historical Robin Hood, though references to the legend by medieval writers make it clear that the ballads themselves were the only evidence for his existence available to them. A popular modern belief that he was of the time of Richard I probably stems from a "pedigree" fabricated by an 18th-century antiquary, William Stukeley. None of the various claims identifying Robin Hood with a particular historical figure has gained much support, and the outlaw's existence may never have been anything but legendary. The authentic Robin Hood ballads were the poetic expression of popular aspirations in the north of England during a turbulent era of baronial rebellions and agrarian discontent, which culminated in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The theme of the free but persecuted outlaw enjoying the forbidden hunting of the forest and outwitting or killing the forces of law and order naturally appealed to the common people.

Although many of the best-known Robin Hood ballads are postmedieval, there is a core that can be confidently attributed to the medieval period. These are Robin Hood and the Monk, Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood and the Potter, and the Lytyll Geste of Robin Hode. During the 16th century and later, the essential character of the legend was distorted by a suggestion that Robin was a fallen nobleman, and playwrights, eagerly adopting this new element, increased the romantic appeal of the stories but deprived them of their social bite. Postmedieval ballads (which gave Robin a companion, Maid Marian) also lost most of their vitality and poetic value, doubtless as a result of losing the original social impulse that brought them into existence.

"Robin Hood embodies dreams of social justice."
Drama and Comedy Robin Hood Fun play script for Young audiences Robin Hood
ArtReach's Robin Hood - The English Theatre, Frankfurt Germany

Robin Hood - the hero for everyone Robin Hood, as the centuries have shown, is an ideal identification figure and a political as well as literary figure. As Judith Klinger, Potsdam medievalist, points out, Robin Hood embodies dreams of social justice, of life in nature, of community and of "heroic resistance" - against whatever. Robin is so powerful because he helps people build castles in the air and escape in their minds from an unjust society full of constraints.

Sometimes Robin appears as a predatory individualist, sometimes as a merry adventurer, sometimes as a disinherited nobleman. He is knight, businessman, courtier, patriot and social revolutionary. Sometimes he rebels against society, sometimes he is system-stabilizing. Most of the time he remains a loyal royalist, but is nevertheless an integral part of the socio-political vocabulary of the Left Party. And occasionally he comes across as a modernization loser who unabashedly robs those who have surpassed him of their possessions. Robin Hood is reinterpreted from epoch to epoch, and anyone who takes a closer look at the man from Sherwood Forest - depending on the play, novel or film - will glimpse the respective zeitgeist.

The Strange History of the Fairy Tale Snow White
Classroom Material for ArtReach's Play "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

To most people, the name Snow White evokes visions of dwarves whistling as they work, and a wide-eyed, fluttery princess singing, "Someday my prince will come" - images popularized by the 1937 Disney animated film. Yet the Snow White theme is one of the darkest and strangest to be found in the fairy tale canon -- a chilling tale of murderous rivalry, poisoned gifts, blood on snow, witchcraft, death&ldots;in short, not a tale originally intended for children's tender ears.

"Someday my prince will come."
Snow White and the Woodsman Snow White Play for Kids Woods creatures in Snow White Play
Locally Grown Theatre, Cottage Grove MIN - ArtReach's "Snow White"

Disney's version was based on the German tale popularized by the Brothers Grimm, originally titled "Snow-drop" and published in Kinder-und Hausmarchen in 1812. The Grimms' Snow White is a much darker, chillier story, yet it too had been cleaned up for publication, edited to emphasize the good Protestant values held by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Although legend has them roaming the countryside collecting stories from stout German peasants, in truth the Grimm brothers acquired most of their tales from a middle-class circle of friends, who in turn were recounting tales learned from nurses, governesses, and servants, not all of them German.

Thus the "German folk tales" published by the Grimms included those from the oral folk traditions of other countries, and were also influenced by the literary fairy tales of writers like Straparola, Basile, D'Aulnoy, and Perrault in Italy and France. Variants of Snow White were popular around the world long before the Grimms claimed it for Germany, but their version of the story is the one that most people know today. Elements from the story can be traced back to the oldest oral tales of antiquity, but the earliest known written version was published in Italy in 1634. This version was called The Young Slave, published in Giambattista Basile's Il Pentamerone, and is believed to have influenced subsequent retellings - including a German text published by J. K. Musaus in 1784 and the Grimms' text in 1812.

The "German folk tales" were published by the Grimms Brothers.
The Dwarfs of the Snow White Play Several Snow Whites in ArtReach's Playscript
Locally Grown Theatre, Cottage Grove MIN - ArtReach's "Snow White"

The Young Slave contains motifs we recognize not only from Snow White but also Sleeping Beauty (the fairy's curse), Bluebeard (the locked room), Beauty and the Beast (the troublesome gift), and other tales. An aunt-by-marriage plays the villain in this version. In another Italian tale, The Crystal Casket, the villain is a scheming stepmother who was also the young girl's teacher! In a third Italian version of the tale, it's the girl's own mother who wishes her ill - an innkeeper named Bella Venezia who cannot stand a rival in beauty. First she imprisons her daughter in a lonely hut by the sea; then she seduces a kitchen boy and demands that he murder the girl. "Bring back her eyes and a bottle of her blood," she says, "and I'll marry you."

In a Scottish version of the story, a trout in a well takes the role of the magical mirror on the wall. Each day a queen asks, "Am I not the loveliest woman in the world?" The trout assures the queen that she is&ldots; until her daughter comes of age, surpassing the mother in beauty.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected their version from family friends in the town of Cassel, Germany. This version contained several elements from the earlier Italian stories, combined with imagery distinct to the lore of northern Europe. Dwarfs do not appear in the Italian variants, for instance, as dwarfs play little part in the Italian folk tradition. The Nordic and Germanic traditions, by contrast, contain a wealth of magical lore about burly little men who toil under the earth, associated with gems, iron ore, alchemy, and the blacksmith's craft. The Grimms' version starts, like so many fairy tales, with a barren queen who longs for a child. It's a winter's tale in this northern clime, set in a landscape of vast, icy forests. The queen stands sewing by an open window. She pricks her finger. Blood falls on the snow. "Would that I had a child," she sighs, "as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the window-frame." Her wish is granted when Snow White is born, yet the queen's jealousy at her daughter's beauty soon turns her against the child. Driven out of her home, out of her past, away from all that is harsh but familiar, Snow White makes her way through the wilderness to an unknown destination. Her journey begins with the queen's henchman, the huntsman. He defies his mistress and does not slay the girl, but he is no true ally, merely a coward. Beauty aids her once again when she finds the house of the dwarves.

Snow White makes her way through the wilderness.
Play for kids - Snow White Witches in ArtReach's Snow and the Seven Dwarfs Dwarf in Snow White Play for Children to Perform
Locally Grown Theatre, Cottage Grove MIN - ArtReach's "Snow White"

Soon, the queen learns that Snow White still lives and determines to kill her young rival herself. Disguised as an old peddler woman, she sells the girl poisoned bodice laces, then combs her hair with a poisoned comb. After each of her visits, the  dwarfs return home to find their young housekeeper dead. The dwarfs can revive her once, even twice, but with the third act of poisoning, she seems indisputably dead. Her body, too beautiful to bury, is displayed in a clear glass casket -- or else on a woodland bier, or a four-poster bed, or a shrine surrounded by candles. (In other variants, she is thrown into the sea, abandoned on a doorstep or windowsill, sent to the fairies, stolen by gypsies, even carried on a reindeer's antlers.) There are various ways Snow White's spell of death/sleep is broken, but generally not with a kiss (that seems to be a modern addition). The poisoned item must be removed, usually by pure accident. In the chaste Grimms' version of the tale, Snow White's body is handed over to a prince who happens to be passing by. Struck, as all men in this tale are struck, by the girl's extraordinary beauty, he swears he can't live without her. The dwarfs consent. (He's a prince, after all.) "I will prize her as my dearest possession," the prince promises the sad little men. As his servants bear the casket away, one stumbles and the fatal piece of poisoned apple flies from her mouth. "Oh heavens, where am I?" she cries as she wakes. "You're with me," he quickly assures the girl. He declares his love, offers marriage, and promptly spirits the beautiful maiden away. In the final scene of the Grimms' version, the queen is invited to Snow White's wedding, then forced to dance in red-hot shoes until she is dead. It's a scene left out of the Disney film and most modern children's renditions. 

Beloved by generations of children.
Kids rehearsing ArtReach's Play Snow White Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Play
Locally Grown Theatre, Cottage Grove MIN - ArtReach's "Snow White"

Walt Disney made several other significant changes to the Grimms fairy tale when he chose Snow White as the subject of his very first full-length animated film. He emphasized the dwarfs, giving them names, distinct personalities, and a cozy cottage in a sun-dappled wood full of bluebirds, bunnies, and flowers, not snow. The role of the prince is greatly expanded, and the square-jawed fellow becomes pivotal to the story. His love for Snow White, demonstrated at the very beginning of the Disney film, becomes the spark that sets off the powder keg of the stepmother's rage.

In this singing, dancing, whistling animated version, only the queen retains some of the real power of the traditional tale. She's a genuinely frightening figure, and far more compelling than little Snow White, who (drawn as a blonde at one point) is wide-eyed, giddy, and childish, wearing rags (Cinderella-style) at the start of the film, downtrodden but plucky. Although the Disney film was a commercial triumph, beloved by generations of children, critics through the years have protested the sweeping changes Disney Studios made, and continues to make, when retelling such tales. Walt Disney himself responded, "It's just that people now don't want fairy stories the way they were written. They were too rough. In the end they'll probably remember the story the way we film it anyway."  Time has proved him all too right.  (Study and analysis by Terri Windling, edited.)

Outline of ArtReach's Play: Treasure Island: Young Pirates of the Caribbean

1883 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, written for young people who dreamed of adventure on the high seas. This classic book has endured through the decades as a beloved tale of pirates, ocean voyage and exotic islands. One boy, Jim Hawkins, is the hero of this swashbuckling fantasy, adapted with lightness and comedy for young performers.

As the play begins, Jim Hawkins is an ordinary contemporary boy who having a very bad day. Everything seems to go wrong at school and when he comes home his mother has cooked his least favorite food. Mom tells him that if he does not eat his dinner he will not be allowed to go trick or treating tonight for Halloween. Jim refuses and is sent to his room.

Read the story first to get everyone on the same page!
ECTC Rehearses ArtReach's Treasure Island Kids play pirates in Treasure Island play
In Rehearsal - Emerald Coast Theatre Company, Miramar Beach FL

The Storytellers of the play seem to hover around Jim like fragments of his rich imagination. As Jim indulges in a fantasy of pirates and adventure, his friends the Storytellers take part. When there is a knock at Jim’s bedroom door, Jim assumes it is his mother. But when he opens the door he is confronted with a nightmare of a pirate, Billy Bones.

Somehow Jim has been swept into the classic story! Billy Bones storms in as if he has just arrived at the Benbow Inn and orders Jim to carry in his sea chest. Bones rails and warns Jim to beware of “the one-legged man”. Another pirate, Blind Pew, arrives to deliver a terrible omen to Billy Bones -- the black spot. The black spot is nothing more than a piece of palm-sized paper with a spot inked on it, but pirates know it means they have been marked by their comrades as traitors. The black spot frightens Billy Bones so much that he clasps his chest and falls to the floor. Billy Bones dies comically, leaving Jim utterly astonished.

"Blind Pew delivers a terrible omen -- the black spot."
Kids perform Treasure Island playscript Rehearsals for Treasure Island performance
Emerald Coast Theatre Company, Miramar Beach FL - ArtReach's Treasure Island

When Jim looks inside the sea chest he finds a treasure map. Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney call out from the audience and rush onstage to help with the medical emergency. They recognize the map -- it belonged to Captain Flint who disappeared three years ago. They take charge of the situation, calling for an immediate voyage to the Caribbean. Jim is swept up in their plans and soon they are in the Squire’s carriage headed for the harbor and a ship called the Hispaniola. 

The sailors and crew climb aboard the Hispaniola singing, delighted with the prospect of a voyage at sea. The one-legged ship’s cook, Long John Silver, enters with his parrot in a cage. Captain Smollett calls the roll and we are introduced to several colorful members of the crew. As the ship casts off from the shore, Jim is thrilled to see his long dreamed of adventure finally take shape.

"Jim is thrilled, his adventure finally takes shape."
Students play pirates in Treasure Island script
Emerald Coast Theatre Company - ArtReach's Treasure Island

Jim’s fun turns to fear when Long John Silver tells him that every man on board is looking for the treasure map. Jim keeps it close to his chest and realizes he is in danger. When members of the crew begin a spirited talk of mutiny, Jim climbs in an apple barrel and hears the whole conversation. Long John Silver is really a pirate who convinces the others to take over the ship and claim the treasure for themselves.

Skeleton Island is in sight as Jim rushes to tell the Captain of the planned mutiny. The loyal crew members are badly outnumbered and fear for the worst but Jim has a plan to save the treasure and their lives. Jim and Honest Abe hop in a landing boat and row to shore before the pirates can get there.

On the island Jim and Abe encounter a tribe of natives who serve a man known as Ben Gunn. Ben Gunn is a pirate that has been marooned on the island ever since Captain Flint reached it three years ago. Ironically, Ben Gunn -- who loves only cheese -- found the treasure years ago and has no use for it. The natives are desperate to get rid of the pirate and happily give all the treasure to Jim if it means they will take Ben Gunn away.

"X marks the spot, but the treasure has already been dug up."
Simple props for fun pirate play Kids rehearse classic Treasure Island
Emerald Coast Theatre Company, Miramar Beach FL - ArtReach's Treasure Island

On his way back to the ship Jim happens on Long John and the pirates who have captured the Captain and others. Jim offers to give Long John the map in exchange for their freedom and even offers to go with them to where the treasure is buried. But when they reach the place where X marks the spot, the treasure has already been dug up. Jim escapes and the disappointed, angry pirates give Long John the black spot. Long John clasps his chest and dies. When the pirates leave, Long John comes back to life and laughs at his hoax.

Jim makes his way back to the Hispaniola where the loyal crew members are set to take off for home, leaving the pirates marooned on the island. Just before they push off Long John Silver appears and asks Jim to take the parrot with him. Jim tells Long John that he is a very bad man but a very good pirate. Long John tells Jim that pirates are like dreams because they live forever.

"We're Pirates!"
Finale of Treasure Island Play for schools
Emerald Coast Theatre Company, Miramar Beach FL - ArtReach's Treasure Island

As the ship sails away, Jim finds himself back at home in his room with the parrot in the cage. His mother knocks on the door and offers him a bowl of mac and cheese. He can hardly believe that he went so far away and came back home, returning to his ordinary life. The kids are outside his window calling for him to go trick or treating. With Mom’s permission, Jim joins them. Surprisingly, all the kids are dressed as the characters in his adventure. Jim and the kids set off for a night of fun -- just ordinary kids enjoying their dreams.

Interesting Facts About Winnie-the-Pooh
Did you know?  Fun stuff to think about before performance.

Winnie-the-Pooh is based on a real, young bear. Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was another bear, a real bear named Winnie – and she was a girl.

In 1914, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a Canadian soldier and veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

"Milne’s son Christopher Robin fell in love with the bear."
Kanga give Piglet a Bath Winnie the Pooh student performance
ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh - Island School, Lihue HI

The black bear cub was purchased from a hunter by Colebourn during the War, becoming his pet and the troop’s mascot, before later residing in the London Zoological Gardens. The cub was named Winnipeg, or Winnie, for short. It was here in London that Milne’s son Christopher Robin fell in love with the bear, naming his own toy teddy bear after the little black bear.

Christopher used to play with swans, and he named one Pooh, to paraphrase, “As it is a fine name to call, and if she doesn’t come, you at least get to say, Pooh.”

Christopher originally named the toy, Edward Bear, but inspired by Winnipeg and the swans, renamed it Winnie-the-Pooh. And to justify giving his male bear a female name, rebutted, “His name isn’t Winnie, it’s Winnie-the-Pooh.” The name stuck, books were written, characters were drawn – and the rest is history.

Originally, Milne was reluctant to hire E. H. Shepard to illustrate. Although Ernest Shepard was introduced to Milne through their mutual colleague, E.V. Lucas, Milne was reluctant to hire Shepard due to his political cartoonist background. Despite this, Shepard took it upon himself to wander through Ashdown Forest – the inspiration of the Hundred Acre Wood – to create a portfolio of sketches. Presenting them to Milne after appearing at Milne’s home unannounced, he won Milne’s heart and soon after the hearts of children across the world.

The real Christopher Robin was left with ‘nothing but empty fame’. The real Christopher Robin, as a young man, sadly, resented his father using his name in the popular books, becoming forever famed ‘as the tender little boy in the Hundred Acre Wood’. Becoming a writer himself, Christopher Robin wrote memoirs of his own life including The Enchanted Places, Beyond the World of Pooh and The Hollow On The Hill where he announced that “it seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame.”

"Shepard wandered the inspiration for Hundred Acre Wood."
Young actors perform ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh Kids Perform Winnie-the-Pooh
ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh - Island School, Lihue HI

Winnie-the-Pooh has been translated into over 50 different languages. Gaining worldwide popularity, Winnie-the-Pooh has been translated into more than 50 different languages, including Afrikaans, Esperanto and Yiddish. The most successful translation and unexpected hit is the Latin version, Winnie Ille Pu (1958), by Hungarian doctor Alexander Lenard. One critic described this book as “‘the greatest book a dead language has ever known,” and in 1960, it became the first foreign-language book -- and only Latin book -- to be featured on the New York Times Best Seller List.

The Russians created their own portrayal of Winnie-the-Pooh. Although we all love to see Pooh wandering through the woods, helping his friends, there’s something oddly satisfying about watching the Russian animation portrayal of Winnie. Closely following the original trilogy, the look of Winnie is very different from Shepard’s illustrations, however, just as cheery.

Pooh has inspired the names of two streets in Europe. Being super popular in Poland, a street in Warsaw is named after this friendly little bear, named ‘Ulica Kubusia Puchatka’. This 149-metre-long street gained its name in 1954 by readers who entered a competition in Express Wieczorny. There is also a street in Budapest, Micimackó utca, named after him.

Only 16 fictional characters have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And one of them is Winnie-the-Pooh! Receiving his own star in April 2006, not only did he become one of the very few fictional characters – alongside Mickey Mouse, Big Bird, Kermit the Frog and Bugs Bunny – to be awarded, but Pooh is also the only bear ever to be honoured.

Today, Shepard’s illustrations are ‘worth their weight in gold’. In December 2014, an original E. H. Shepard illustration featuring Christopher Robin, Pooh and Piglet sold for £314,500 ($431,000) at Sotheby’s. This was the highest price to date that one of these drawings had been purchased.

Winnie-the-Pooh has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Young large cast of students in Winnie-the-Pooh play
ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh - Island School, Lihue HI

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
—Winnie the Pooh

The Little Mermaid story has many versions
Classroom Discussion

The original story of The Little Mermaid is different from the many versions we have today.  In Hans Christian Andersen's story, the Little Mermaid is the youngest of six princesses in the parallel universe of the undersea kingdom. When they are old enough, mermaids get to go to the surface to see the land, and all the princesses are curious about it, but the Little Mermaid is the most curious of all. When she goes to the surface, she sees the prince, and falls in love with him. She saves his life (though he doesn't realize it until the end), and decides that she wants to marry him. She goes to a witch in her watery world to ask to be made into a human being. The witch agrees, but tells the Little Mermaid that it will be terribly painful, and also that she will have to pay for it with her beautiful voice. In addition, she will only be able to remain human if the prince loves her and marries her. The morning after he marries someone else, she will become foam on the waves - essentially, she'll die.

"She goes to a witch to ask to be made a human being."
The Little Mermaid play for kids Large Cast Play Little Mermaid
ArtReach's The Little Mermaid - Nairobi Academy, Kenya

The Little Mermaid agrees. She becomes human, meets the prince, and charms him with her dancing and her expressive eyes, but he marries someone else. The Little Mermaid's sisters arrive, having struck a deal with the sea witch, and try to get her to save herself by killing the prince. She has the choice of stabbing the prince and letting his blood wash over her legs, at which point she would return to her mermaid state, or allowing herself to die. She dies and goes to heaven.

"Is the Mermaid an admirable heroine?"
The Mermaid and her friends in playscript The Witches' Assistants in The Little Mermaid
ArtReach's The Little Mermaid - Nairobi Academy, Kenya

Compare the Little Mermaid with other fairy tale heroines you've studied and performed such as Mulan and Sleeping beauty. She exhibits curiosity, boldness, and initiative, even if she doesn't succeed in her plans. Her sisters, also, take the initiative to try and rescue her, though they don't succeed. Does this make her more admirable than a heroine such as Cinderella or Snow white? Discuss.

Guide to the Obon Festival in Japan
Background Info for "A Thousand Cranes" School Play

The Obon festival (also known as Bon festival) is an annual Japanese holiday which commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors. It is believed that their spirits return at this time to visit their relatives.

Chochin (paper) lanterns are hung to guide the spirits and Obon dances (bon odori) are performed. Families have reunions and visit the graves of their relatives and make food offerings at altars and temples.

"The Buddhist festival has been celebrated for more than 500 years."
Oban Festival Info for A Thousand Cranes
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Bland County High School, Rocky Gap VA

It is observed from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month. However, according to the solar calendar the 7th month is July but according to the lunar calendar, the 7th month is August. Obon is therefore celebrated at different times in different regions depending on which calendar is observed.

The official 2019 dates are August 13-15 though it will be celebrated between July 13-15 in some places. The Obon week in mid-August is one of Japan's three major holiday seasons making it one of the busiest times of the year for traveling. Many Japanese people will leave their cities around August 10 and come back on August 17-18.

Obon traditions and celebrations

On the first day of Obon, people take the chochin lanterns to the graves of their families. They call their ancestors' spirits back home in a ritual called mukae-bon. In some regions, huge fires are lit at the entrances of houses to guide the spirits to enter.

At the end of the Obon festival, families help their ancestors' spirits return back to the grave by guiding them with their chochin lanterns. The ritual is called okuri-bon. Again, the ritual varies slightly between different regions of Japan.

In recent years, floating lanterns (toro nagashi) have gained in popularity. The beautiful lanterns float down a river that runs to the sea to symbolically send their ancestors' spirits into the sky.

The style of the traditional Bon Odori dance varies from region to region but it is normally based around the rhythms of Japanese taiko drums. Dancers perform on a yagura stage and participants wear light cotton kimonos. Anyone can join in the dances which are held in parks, temples, and other public places around Japan.

"Joy is the origin of the Obon dance."
Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Cranes Sadako's True Story - A Thousand Cranes
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Bland County High School, Rocky Gap VA

Obon festivals in Japan

There are a number of special Obon festivals which tourists can visit using their JR Pass. The Daimonji Festival in Kyoto is probably the most famous. A series of spectacular, 200m-long, character-shaped bonfires are built on mountainsides which are visible throughout the city. Each one is then individually set on fire.

For those who love to dance, the Gujo Odori Festival In Gujo, (Gifu prefecture) is a week-long party where dancers perform each night from 8 pm until 5 in the morning. Over 1.3 million tourists go there each year.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you're looking for a small festival which has preserved ancient traditions, there is the Hokkai Bon Odori. It is also the birthplace of one of the most famous Japanese traditional songs.

The origins of Obon

The Buddhist festival has been celebrated for more than 500 years. It originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren). He was a disciple of Buddha who used his powers to see the spirit of his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering.

Buddha advised Mokuren to make offerings to Buddhist monks. On the 15th day of the 7th month, he followed Buddha's advice and his mother was released from her suffering. Mokuren danced with joy which is the origin of the Obon dance.

The Japan Rail Pass

Let's Talk about Amelia Earhart!
Discussions for ArtReach's Amelia Earhart Play for Young Audiences
From Study Guide: The Little Company, Morehead State University, 106 Baird Music Hall, Morehead, KY 40351

What Happened?  Many intriguing and often entertaining conspiracy theories and speculations were made about Amelia Earhart's famous disappearance. Not only were the factors regarding the actual cause of the failed flight in question, but also the reason why her remains were never found. People have guessed at everything from her creating the whole expedition as a ruse to escape her marriage to Putnam, to the idea that she and Noonan crashed on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean and enormous coconut crabs hid her remains in their dwell-ings. For this activity, write your own conclusion about what really happened when she disappeared with her navigator Fred Noonan on their iconic voyage around the world.

"People have guessed: What happened, Amelia?"
Artreach's Amelia Earhart Theatre is great for learning history! Famous Flyer Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart - Barter Theatre, Abington VA

Where Is Amelia?  Amelia Earhart's life could be described as one long and tireless journey. For this activity, design a destination for Amelia Earhart. Feel free to interpret this as creatively as you wish; is she in Ireland amongst the cows, or perhaps on a lonely island with the coconut crabs? Keep in mind the adventures Earhart encountered in her lifetime as well as the important people she met along the way.

Sensationalism: In the play, the author uses the Great Depression and the suffering of the American people to convey a theme of desperation. She then displays how the media honed in on Amelia's activities to distract citizens from the issues the country was facing. In today's society we have similar scenarios of media distractions. Name as many instances as you can in which a great tragedy or period of suffering has been dulled by the media with a flush of superficial news-worthy events in pop culture. As a few examples, marriages between popular celebrities, issues within foreign countries, political events, controversies, and anything in the media that catches the attention of the public audience.

Where does ArtReach's Cinderella come from?  Folk Tales become Fairy Tales for Children

Cinderella stories are considered by many to be folk tales (fairy tales, folklore). A folk tale is a legend or story handed down from generation to generation, usually by oral retelling. Folk tales often explain something that happens in nature or to express a truth about life, such as a lesson to be learned. Many folk tales were written for adults, but now are enjoyed by nearly everyone, especially children.  Folk tales appealing to children are generally called fairy tales.

Kids Perform ArtReach's Cinderella for Summer Camp
Cinderella for Summer Camp Summer Drama Camp uses Cinderella script
ArtReach's Cinderella - Newport Central Catholic Youth Drama Camp, Newport KY

Most fairy tales include:

• A beginning which starts with, "Once upon a time...".

• A kind character (who is usually treated badly)

• A wicked character

• Enchantment (magic)

• Some form of royalty

• Goodness rewarded in the end

• The story ending with, "...they lived happily ever after."

Cinderella is one of the best-known fairy tales known round the world. The themes from the tale appear in many similar stories in a variety of cultures. There are literally hundreds of versions.

"One of the best-known fairy tales known round the world."
Kids Play Cinderella in Drama Camp Cinderella Drama Camp Fun Drama Camp with Cinderella
ArtReach's Cinderella - Newport Central Catholic Youth Drama Camp, Newport KY

The tale always centers around a kind heroine (Cinderella) who is treated badly (Stepmother, Stepsisters) after the death of her mother. The father is either absent or neglectful depending upon the story. A magical person (Fairy Godmother) and/or item (Pumpkin Coach) usually helps the heroine prevail and achieve her greatest wish (marry the Prince) at the end of the story. Usually these tales include an enlightenment touched off by an article of clothing (in most cases a shoe) that causes the heroine to be recognized (the shoe fits only Cinderella) for her true kindness.

Of the many versions of the tale – many you’ve heard, maybe a few you didn't know existed – the most well-known is, by far, the classic Cinderella.

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