This is a light hearted romance that is situated against a background of war. A young woman meets a soldier who is fleeing for his life. He climbs the balcony and enters her chamber. He holds her at bay with an empty pistol. When the house is searched in an attempt to find the fugitive, the young woman protects him with the assistance of her mother, they hide him and help him to escape the following morning. The young woman’s father and her suitor return from the war with the story of a Swiss soldier who managed an escape with the aid of two women. The suitor makes advances on Louka, the servant and Louka reveals that the object of his affection has a secret lover. The Swiss soldier returns to the home of the gracious women who rescued him. This Petkoff household is where he arrives to return a coat which was lent to him. Serguis, the suitor, feeling betrayed, confronts Bluntschli. the soldier. acting on his news from Louka. All is revealed when the young woman, Raina, tells Serguis she witnessed the scene between he and Louka in the courtyard. Bluntschli is discovered to be the chocolate cream soldier. In the end all is well. Louka gets Serguis, Raina gets her chocolate cream soldier. and Nicola, the other servant who was intended for Louka, gets to be the manager of one of Bluntshli’s hotels.
The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite plays. There are only 4 characters in the play. Amanda Winfield, the mother, lives in the past. She recalls suitors from her younger days. Her husband took off one day and never came back. Her son, Tom, feels trapped and somewhat resents the dependence of his mother and sister on him. Laura, the daughter and sister, had pleurosis as a child, and it left her crippled. She’s shy and withdrawn, and she escapes into a private little world that is filled with glass. Laura cherishes her Glass Menagerie. Excitement builds in the play when Tom invites a co-worker over to the house. Laura is finally getting a gentleman caller. This is the scene we will focus on in class. In the end Tom. like his father, leaves home and proceeds to travel from place to place. No matter where he goes he can not shake the memories of his past and his sister Laura.
Students will write director’s notes for the following scenes:
Arms and the Man
, Act I, Raina and the soldier
A Doll’s House
The Glass Menagerie
, Scene VII, Laura and Jim
As a culminating activity the select scenes will be shown in class. Students will then select one of the plays to complete a comparative analysis.
WEEKS 7 & 8:
The Colored Museum
STEP 1: This week we will be focusing our energy on George C. Wolfe’s
The Colored Museum
. I will attempt to guide students through the reading of exhibits. I would like to get students to think about the characters and how they would interpret the roles of each.
STEP 2: For each exhibit I have attempted to outline specific questions on which to base discussions. As I continue to analyze the exhibits. I may add more questions. Some questions may come from the discussion itself.
STEP 3: I want students to grasp the underlying meanings found in the dialogue spoken by the characters.
STEP 4: I think I am most concerned with the freedom of dramatic expression as it is a strong characteristic of these individual pieces. Sometimes strong language is used to make a point or to reinforce character, and I think this has to be taken into consideration in these selections. Students should not, however. yet carried away when writing their own scenes. The language should be colorful, lively, and character appropriate.
STEP 5: The themes in the selections are quite varied. one does prevail in all of the selections, and this is a theme which centers around either an acceptance or a denial of one’s culture.
STEP 6: Students will be able to discern motive in relation to character. Students will be able to write directory notes describing how a specific scene should be done. Students will be able to write original scenes based on a real life character.
STEP 7: Students will be evaluated on their original scenes and director’s notes.
“Git on Board”
How would you play the role of Miss Pat? At what point in the monologue would you incorporate movement? At what points would you use sarcasm in your tone? Would you be able to perform the Watusi or the Funky Chicken? Would you know how to introduce James Brown and the Fabulous Flames? What do the drums signify or represent, and why is Miss Pat so adamant about them? When Miss Pat makes the crack about being millionaires to what myth is she alluding? How does Miss Pat point out yet another sterotypical myth in relation to what is considered standard vs.. non-standard English? Miss Pat covered an entire history of war from past to present day. How does she reveal her feelings toward this phase of history? What did you think about this scene?
“Cookin’ with Aunt Ethel”
Of what is this section a spin-off? How do you envision Aunt Ethel? Analyze each verse of Aunt Ethel’s song. What idea or message is she trying to get across in each one? Hopefully. this will open a discussion which deals with skin color, texture of hair, music (African-American), the issue of slavery, anger and displacement.
“The Photo Session”
Did You understand the underlying meaning in “The Photo Session?” What is it? Convey this meaning or message in two well organized paragraphs.
“A Soldier With A Secret”
This is an ideal Piece for a monologue. what did you think about this piece? Did Junie die and come back? In what war do you suppose Junie found himself, and what line or lines help you to arrive at this conclusion? Junie makes a statement about war and how it changes people. Can You relate to this? Do you know of someone who was affected by the horrors of war? What really happened to Junie?
“The Gospel According to Miss Rojo
How would you describe Miss Roj? What is Miss Roj talking about? Family relations ... Are there any for Miss Roj? To what power does Miss Roj make reference? Miss Roj’s sensitivity is revealed as he becomes more immersed in alcohol. What are some of the things that concern Miss Roj? How does Miss Roj make You feel? (Let me see who I can get to tackle this piece.)
This is another scene that would he an excellent choice for that final week. Students will be called on to walk through this particular segment. At the end of the first reading, suggestions from the class would be taken into consideration before attempting a second reading.
“The Last Mama On The Couch Play”
Can You think of the three major works on which this segment is based? Can You compare the characters to their counterparts? What conclusion can we draw from this piece?
What does symbiosis mean? Did you look it up? When the man says that
Soul on Ice
has been replaced with
The Color Purple
what is he implying? Why is the man throwing away remnants of his past? Describe the struggle that takes place between the man and the kid? What does the kid represent? What is the man trying to achieve or accomplish? Does he?
Of whom does Lala remind You? Why did she have to leave her native land? Can you think of an African American author who left America for the same reason an Lala? What does Lala have in common with the man in Symbiosis?
What does Permutations mean? How would you interpret this segment? Is the egg symbolic? If so. what does it symbolize? When Normal says that her babies will fly, what is she implying?
Everything comes together in the final scene. What is Topsy’s ultimate message? To what does the madness refer?
(RECAPPING THE ASSIGNMENTS)
1. Select one of the scenes above and write director’s notes for it.
2. Select one of the characters and write a letter explaining your thoughts about what the character is feeling.
3. Write a scene based on a character. You think, would be appropriate for
The Colored Museum
My Children! My Africa!
This is the most moving and powerful play I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the language. the intellect, the emotion, and the heart that was found in this excellent drama. I truly admire Mr. Fugard’s style and artistic genius. Music for this section will be Carly Simon’s theme from “Working Girl.”
STEP 1: In order to begin the week’s activities we will use a brainstorming approach to discuss what we know about South Africa. Each student should have before him or her articles found through research which tell of events which have occurred in South Africa. We will attempt to discuss the following issues and topics:
1. First of all, where is South Africa? (Locate on map).
2. What do we know about South Africa? (Population, size, language).
3. What do we know about the political and social situation?
4. Do we know about the historical background of the country?
5. How does the educational system in South Africa compare to our own?
6. What do we know about the culture, tradition. values. and ideas of this country?
STEP 2: After exhausting what facts we are able to discover about the country, I would then present our two quest speakers to the class. One is a student in our school who originally hails from South Africa. He has been living here for one year and he continues to communicate regularly with his friends in his native land. His name is Dini Mda.
Our second quest speaker is a friend and fellow colleague who has traveled to over thirty countries. She is one of the most vibrant and energetic speakers I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. She holds a PhD. and is presently teaching history at Wilbur Cross Senior High and Southern Connecticut State University. Students please welcome our own Mrs. Cynthia McDaniels.
STEP 3: I want students to understand events surrounding the setting of the play. I want them to recall specific historical events that have taken place in South Africa. I want them to be able to trace the development of the three major characters from the beginning of the play and understand the place at which each arrives at the end of the play.
STEP 4: The aspects of dramatic style with which I am most concerned would simply be found in the eloquence of the spoken word as so aptly put together by the playwright. Examples can be found in the monologues. The language is befitting the character. Fugard writes simply and clearly. Perhaps, using Fugard’s style of writing, students can create yet another experience for one of the three characters
STEP 5: I think definitely the theme of freedom is prevalent throughout the play. The theme of love and the inability to express it also has to he discussed. The issue of contradiction with regard to freedom in the truer sense is yet another theme. The concept of freedom should imply no restrictions. Examine Mr. M, Isabel and Thami’s views of freedom. What is your definition of freedom? Lastly, fear is also a prominent theme.
STEP 6: Students will read and interpret specific scenes in the play.
Students will actively engage in oral discussion.
Students will trace the development of one of the three main characters in the play.
Students will write a 200-250 word critique of the play.
STEP 7: Students will be evaluated on both their character sketches and their critiques.