Sleeping Beauty Dreams Teacher Guide

Sleeping Beauty Dreams Teacher Guide About the Show: April 18 & April 19 2013 About the performance: Mexico's most famous puppet company returns to ...
Author: Augustine Wade
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Sleeping Beauty Dreams Teacher Guide

About the Show:

April 18 & April 19 2013 About the performance: Mexico's most famous puppet company returns to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts with Sleeping Beauty Dreams. Written by award-winning playwright, Amaranta Leyva, Sleeping Beauty Dreams reimagines the famous princess as an overprotected daughter looking for a way to break free of her castle walls in order to search for true love... and her true self. A contemporary look at this classic tale, Marionetas de la Esquina's humorous storytelling and whimsical puppetry awake this sleeping beauty princess as never before.

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Performance Etiquette Reminders:

Respectful audience members remember these theater etiquette rules. Please review them with your students before the performance. 1. Be an engaged and polite listener. The show requires your full attention! 2. Refrain from talking to your neighbor. Students enjoy the performance more if they can hear and pay attention uninterrupted. 3. Applaud if you like something. Normally, the audience applauds at the end of an act or scene. However, performers appreciate spontaneous response to their performance. Great audiences applaud when they are impressed with a scene or laugh when something is funny. 4. Entering and exiting the performance space in an organized and calm manner is important for your safety and the safety of the artists performing.

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About Marionets de la Esquina: Marionetas de la Esquina is a family owned company based in Mexico producing plays using marionettes and other puppets. It was founded in 1975 by Lucio Espindola, who makes all the puppets, and his wife, who directs the plays. Although the group performs primarily in Mexico, it has traveled abroad extensively including the United States. It often offers performances in both English and Spanish, and has a repertory of ten shows. The company has given over 11,000 performances. Marionetas de la Esquina is recognized as a prominent leader in the field of puppetry and has conducted over 55 seminars on the subject. It is credited with founding the annual festival “Titerias” which is an international event promoting the art of puppetry in Mexico. Amaranta Leyva (pronounced ah-mah-RAHN-tah LEY-va) has always loved puppets. When she was a little girl, she would sit backstage and watch her parents perform shows with their puppet company. When she grew up, Amaranta joined the company that her parents started—the very same company that you’re watching today! Amaranta also began writing plays for the company. For Sleeping Beauty Dreams, she took the original fairy tale that we know and imagined what it would be like if it happened in a world that’s not so different from our own. Amaranta’s father, Lucio Espindola (LOOsee-oh eh-SPEEN-doh-lah) made the puppets for this play. He has been making puppets for many years and uses different kinds of materials to build the puppets. Read on to learn a little more about how the puppets are made! Amaranta and Lucio are from Mexico, just south of the U.S. border. Sleeping Beauty Dreams happens in a fairytale world that really could take place anywhere. Even though the story isn’t specifically set in Mexico, there are Mexican details in the story. For example, the characters wear traditional Mexican clothing and the stage has the look and feel of any city in Mexico. So keep an eye out for Mexican costumes and scenery during the performance.

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About the Story: Once there was a childless queen who was very jealous of her maid because she already had a baby. But one day, a magical frog appears and grants the queen her wish to have a child. The queen and her king name their baby princess Sleeping Beauty and promise to keep her safe after a scary curse is placed on her. As the years pass, Sleeping Beauty becomes curious about the world outside her window and wants to escape the castle. At the same time, the maid’s son is planning to sneak inside the castle so he can spend more time with his mother who works for the queen all day and all night. Exactly how do the dreams and adventures of these two young people become a story for all time? You’re about to find out! Characters: SLEEPING BEAUTY: a princess who wants to explore the world THE KING AND QUEEN: parents who want to protect their daughter from a spell OCTAVIA: she works in the castle every day as a maid MATEO: Octavia’s son who misses his mother

About the Art Form: Puppetry Brief History of Puppetry: The derivation of the word puppet is from the Latin word "pupa" meaning "doll." The person who manipulates the puppet is the puppeteer. The puppeteer's role is to manipulate the puppet through strings, rods or hand movements in such a way the audience believes the object comes to life. There is evidence that puppetry has been around for centuries. As far back as the fifth century B.C. Heroditus wrote of marionettes which were used in the Egyptian Festival of Osiris. There are other references to puppetry in the histories and literature of Europe, India and Asia. North American puppetry has evolved as well. Native Americans used puppets in their ceremonial dances. When the Europeans arrived, European puppetry became a part of the North American culture, It evolved from a traditional folk art medium to a respected theatre form. It has also become a popular art form for children with, among others, Howdy Doody, Sherri Lewis and Lamb Chop, and the Muppets and Sesame Street characters.

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Puppetry Defined: Puppetry is an art form using puppets as characters in plays or presentations. A puppet is an inanimate object. There are many kinds of puppets. They go from the very simple to the highly sophisticated with many variations between. A puppet may be operated directly by a puppeteer or indirectly by the use of strings or rods. Kinds of Puppets: Black Light Puppet - A puppet that is operated on a stage lit only by black lighting. This hides the puppeteer and accentuates the colors of the puppets. Finger Puppet- Probably the simplest of puppets. Finger puppets normally do not have moving parts and are made of a hollow cylinder that fits over the finger. Giant Puppet - These puppets are often used in parades. They are at least the size of humans and usually much larger. One or more performers are required to operate the body and limbs. Hand Puppet - A puppet controlled by one hand inside the puppet. Small hand puppets often have no significant manipulability. A larger hand puppet has the puppeteer's hand in the head with the rest of the body hanging over the arm and can be controlled by the puppeteer's other hand. Human Arm Puppet - This is similar to a hand puppet but is larger and requires two puppeteers. One Puppeteer puts a hand inside the puppet's head and controls the head and mouth; the other wears gloves and special sleeves attached to the puppet and thus becomes the puppet's arms. In this way the puppet can make arm gestures. Light Curtain Puppet - The puppeteers are dressed in all black and the stage has a black background. There is special lighting on the stage where on one side is light and on the other darkness. The puppeteers move the puppets into the light while they blend into the black background. This form allows a wide range of puppets and puppeteers. Marionette - A puppet suspended from above with strings attached to its jointed limbs. The puppeteer manipulates the strings. Rod Puppet - Similar to a marionette, the rod puppet has jointed limbs but is operated from below by stiff rods rather than above by strings. Shadow Puppet - Usually a 2 dimensional rod puppet operated behind a screen with a light source. This creates a shadow of the puppet which can be seen by the audience.

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Pre-Show Activities: Look & Listen:

Before you attend the performance, ask your students to look and listen for these interesting performance details. Discuss what was heard and seen after the performance. 

LISTEN: Listen to the different sounds made during the performance. What sounds did you hear? How did the sounds add to the story? What did the sounds tell you about the setting?

LOOK: Look at how the lights change color and intensity on stage. How does the lighting help tell the story of the Sleeping Beauty and how does the color change effect the mood?

LISTEN: Listen to the music in each scene. How does the music interact with the characters and specific props? How does the music create a mood?

LOOK: Watch how the actors use their movement to give puppets expression. How are they able to bring the puppets to life?

Class Activity: Going to See a Show

Have students practice doing tableauxs or frozen poses to depict they are eating, sleeping, playing, etc. Everyone can pick their own pose to represent that action. Then, select a small group of volunteers to act as “performers.” Select two volunteers to act as “stagehands.” The rest of the class will act as the “audience.” Step 1: Stagehands flash the lights in the classroom to indicate the performance is starting. They say the line “Everyone please take your seats.” They also make sure there is a blank space (or stage) for the actors to perform on. Step 2: Performers enter by standing in front of the class. (frozen poses) to show a cause of global warming.

All of the performers do a tableaux

Step 3: The audience practices the rules they just reviewed, such as clapping at the end of a performance. Step 4: The Performers bow. Step 5: The Stagehands flicker the lights to indicate the end of the show. Step 6: Rotate participants.

Reflection Questions:

How did it feel when the audience clapped for you after your performance? Which job did you enjoy the most? Are all of the jobs important? Why or why not?

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Story Telling Exercise:

Sleeping Beauty Dreams is a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale. Ask your students if they know what it means to retell a story. Explain that retelling a story means you tell the story to others, making sure to include the most important parts of the plot, while also including some details that help new listeners understand the story as well. Tell the students a short story (real or fiction) about a time when you had an adventure doing chores. Then, have students work in pairs to think of a way to retell the story. Encourage them to change one part of the story (setting, a character, etc.) to represent their own culture. For example, it might take place in the country their family comes from, or one of the characters might be a friend of theirs. Have a few pairs share their retelling of your story. Ask what it was like to retell a story or hear your story retold. Were both versions exactly the same? Did it matter if the story changed a little bit?” Tell or read students the story of Sleeping Beauty. You can find versions of this fairy tale online at: Then, make a chart with the following categories: title, setting, plot, moral, theme, genre Have the class help you fill out each category of the chart, either as a whole group or after they fill it out independently themselves. If you have not taught students about genres of stories, or about morals and themes, you can introduce these concepts and terms. Fairy Tale: Story about fairies or other magical creatures (there are common occurrences in fairy tales, such as multiples of 3s, the protagonist starting with bad luck but ending with good luck, magic, ending “happily ever after,” etc.). Moral: The lesson a story teaches Theme: a clear, recurring, and unifying quality or idea in a story Then, have students practice retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty with a partner. If students need support with this, you can show them a few pictures from the book to retell, or as a class, decide on three parts of the story to have them retell. Explain that when they see Sleeping Beauty Dreams performed, they will get to see the actors retell the story. When they return to school, they can fill in the chart again with the information from this version of Sleeping Beauty.

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Post Show Activities: Performance Discussion: Ask questions to help students respond to the performance. 1. What was your favorite part of the show? Why? 2. How did it feel to see a show in a theater? 3. How was it different to see the stories instead of hear them read to you? 4. What types of art did you see used during the performance? (puppets, music, beautiful backdrops). How did that change the way you felt about the story? 5. What was Sleeping Beauty Dreams trying to teach us? 6. Have students work in small groups, with each group being assigned one of the stories to focus on. Have that group review the plot of their assigned story and be ready to share it with the class (beginning, middle, end, main characters, setting). You can modify this for kindergarten, by having students do this as a whole class. 7. Have students ask and answer who, what, when, where, why and how questions about a story. Kindergarten: CCSS.ELA-Literacy RLK.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. 1st grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy RL1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details. 2nd grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy LR2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

Art Integration Activities: Introduction to Pantomime: Pantomime is acting without words through facial expression, gesture, and movement. Think of it as “showing not telling” an audience how you feel, who you are or what you are doing. •

Ask students to pantomime they are sad. How can their face show they are sad? How would they stand? Walk? Repeat with other emotions and feelings such as excited, mad and freezing cold.

Have them pantomime they are eating soup.

Then ask them to pantomime they are eating something that has a very hot temperature.

Have half of the class pantomime this while the other half watches. Ask the observers how they could tell the soup their peers were eating was hot.

Repeat this sequence of steps with the following scenarios:

They are walking and they step in gum

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They open a present and realize it is something they were hoping to get

They are looking for their dog who ran away

Pantomime the Moral and Character Traits: Discuss who in the show demonstrated courage, imagination and strength. Why is it important for people in our community to have these traits? •

Ask students for ideas on how they could pantomime a character trait, such as friendship. Model pantomiming friendship with a few students and the great teamwork skills you use while collaborating with your group.

Have students work either as a whole class or in small groups to pantomime what courage and/or strength look like.

After students practice their pantomime for about 5 minutes with their group, have them share. Ask the class which trait they were acting: strength or courage, and how they could tell.

Using Puppetry to Summarize a Story: Have students create a simple rod puppet in class. Have students create character from Sleeping Beauty or a story you just finished reading in class. Students can draw character on cardstock or other thick paper, cut character out and connect a popsicle stick or rod to the back of the puppet. Then, have the students use their pantomime skills they learned in the previous activity to pantomime with their puppet. How can they show their puppet is excited, scared and happy? What did their puppet do in the beginning of the story? The middle? The end? Kindergarten & 1st Grade: For kindergarten to first grade, you can work together as a class to write down the sequence of the plot. Then, you can read the summary as students pantomime with their puppet, to show what their character did and how he/she felt during that part of the story. Second Grade: Second grade students can work in a small group to write a summary for either the beginning, middle or ending of the story. Each group can work on using their puppets to dramatize the summary of the story. Encourage each person to find at least one part of their summary to say a line of dialogue using vocal expression. Helping students practice speaking with expression will help them read with expression. Support them with this by asking them to say, “No, I don’t want to do that” in a sleepy, kind and then a mad voice. Page 9 of 10

Explain that each group will receive feedback on how well they used their voice, gesture, facial expression, and movement of their puppet to make their puppet resemble the character from the story. Write those words on the board to remind students of what theater skills they should include in their scene. It will also help guide the reflective discussion that will occur after each group performs. Assign each student a buddy from another group to watch them perform and give them feedback afterwards. All groups perform, starting with a group telling the beginning, then a group telling the middle, and finally the ending of the story. Then, students get with their buddy and say how they used their voice, gesture, facial expression, and movement of their puppet well and one way they could improve their performance. They can use sentence frames below to help them. When they are done giving feedback, have each buddy discuss the characters, setting and conflict and then call on some students to share their answers. Ask students what is was like to retell a story using theater. How is it similar to and different from retelling a story in writing? Theater standards: Kindergarten – 1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre, such as actor, character, cooperation, setting, the five senses, and audience, to describe theatrical experiences. 2.2 Perform group pantomimes and improvisations to retell familiar stories. 5.2 Demonstrate the ability to participate cooperatively in performing a pantomime or dramatizing a story. 5.1 Respond appropriately to a theatrical experience as an audience member. 1st Grade – 1.1 Use the vocabulary of the theatre, such as play, plot (beginning, middle, and end), improvisation, pantomime, stage, character, and audience, to describe theatrical experiences. 4.1 Describe what was liked about a theatrical work or a story. serve an Development of Theatrical Skills 2.1 Demonstrate skills in pantomime, tableau, and improvisation. 2.2 Dramatize or improvise familiar simple stories from classroom literature or life experiences, incorporating plot (beginning, middle, and end) and using a tableau or a pantomime. 2nd Grade 1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre, such as plot (beginning, middle, and end), scene, sets, conflict, script, and audience, to describe theatrical experiences. 2.2 Retell familiar stories, sequencing story points and identifying character, setting, and conflict. 2.4 Create costume pieces, props, or sets for a theatrical experience. 4.1 Critique an actor's performance as to the use of voice, gesture, facial expression, and movement to create character. 4.2 Respond to a live performance with appropriate audience behavior. 4.3 Identify the message or moral of a work of theatre.

This teacher guide is partially adapted from The Kennedy Center’s Cuesheet Performance Guide Page 10 of 10