Page 1

A World Premiere Kennedy Center Commission Written by

MARCO RAMIREZ Directed by

GREGG HENRY

This special edition Cuesheet is designed to help you enjoy the performance of Mermaids, Monsters, and the World Painted Purple.


United States of America

Mexico

Loosely based in Latino folklore, with notable pop-culture influences, the performance “changes channels” between the Cuba stories – mixing storytelling styles and shifting across time and Dominican Rep. Puerto Rico place, from colonial Mexico to modern day Manhattan. Haiti Jamaica Belize St. Kitts & Nevis Some of the plays are surprisingly short, and others Honduras Dominica Martinique Guatemala St. Lucia Barbados take their time to tell their story; there are happy El Salvador Nicaragua Grenada St. Vincent & The Grenadines endings, sad endings and a couple unresolved Trinidad & Tobago Costa Rica Panama cliff-hangers. Venezuela Guyana French Guiana Together, these plays explore love, loss, Colombia Suriname fear, courage – and the power of stories and storytelling in the human Ecuador experience.

Brazil

Peru Bolivia Paraguay Chile

Uruguay

Marco Ramirez, the writer of these plays, blurs the lines between fantasy and real-life, influenced by the comic books he read as a child (and still reads today). Born in Miami and raised in a Spanish-speaking household, Marco also finds inspiration in his Hispanic heritage – from folklore and legends to personal stories handed down through his family.

Argentina “Hispanic” refers to Spanish-speaking peoples all over the world; “Latino” embraces all the countries in Latin America — including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean and– where Portuguese, French and other languages (including Spanish) might be spoken.

Introduction ........................................................2 Meet the Playwright .............................................3 Getting Started: Where Ideas Come From ............4 Get Your Own Idea...............................................5 Here We Go: 5 Things You Want in a Play..............5

B minor .............................................................6 Character: The Me Nobody Knows .......................7

Sirena ...............................................................8 Conflict: You’re In Trouble Now .............................9

Lupe and the F Train Monster .....................10

2

Meet the Playwright

T

he performance of Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple is actually a series of six short plays, tightly packed into an hour of drama, comedy, action and adventure.

Setting: Are We There Yet? ....................................................11

I Am Not Batman .............................................................12 Plot: One Thing After Another ................................................13

All the Noises this House Makes or Guanguancó ......14 A Note on Dialogue: Talk the Talk..........................................15

Chester, Who Painted the World Purple .......................16 Theme: What’s It All About?..................................................17 Show Me!: A Storyboard ......................................................18 Now You Go: A Play in One Page ...........................................19 Things to Do Before, During and After the Performance.........20

A

playwright’s job is to write the play – which means creating characters, a setting and plot, and deciding what the actors say and do to tell the story. In the beginning, the playwright works only on the story, working out the details of what happens in the play and what the play is “about” – its themes and big ideas.

Once the script is finished, the playwright works with the play’s creative team: the director, designers, actors and technicians, using the script as a “blueprint” to bring the story to life.

amirez From: Marco R GE FROM MARCO A SS E 4 PM EDT Subject: A M 25, 2008 5:50:0 r be em pt Se e: at D ting. interested in wri like I’ve always been r. Faraway places I found ge un yo as w I n whe a city ed around a lot es, Argentina – rrified, my ir ov A m s s no nt ue re B pa d y M te l, an Sao Paulo, Brazi keep from being Santiago, Chile, e we lived near a graveyard. To as “awful little puppet plays.” r us really scary beca I put on what I like to remembe rote d an write plays. I w to te younger sister la up g in ay family I began st Miami, Flordia, d in details from In high school in the world around me, and adde oks, TV, movies—the daily t bo what I knew abou hers. I also got inspiration from ac te d an e. members at surrounded m nd I got d encouraging. A into a art and culture th an ve ti or pp su really , I got gh school were fter high school My teachers in hi ays started getting produced. A and won awards in the pl k City, really lucky. My llege in New Yor estival. This year, I go back to co a at m ra og iard great writing pr American College Theatre F ram at The Juill og s r’ pr te ng en ti ri C w dy ay ne Ken uate pl to begin the grad New York City spected school for the arts. re in American School, a muchay based on Lat r, was to pl a te ri w to e m te dy Center asked as a “Latino” wri When the Kenne that the only thing I could do, atin American” culture and “L ed folktales, I realiz rsity within my own very broad ted thinking about myself ar ve st di so e r . I al recognize th y points of view en to have something written fo an m om fr s ie or be ve ha ld tell many st ou w awesome it w at age 10, and ho aveling was a kid and tr . I me at that age. n he w d di I g same thin t be scared I was doing the that we wouldn’ to tell their so er st si y m In a weird way, to s just like you – , telling storie to faraway places be I would inspire other kids – may Only this time, o. to s, ie yboard. own stor e. I am at the ke ut in m a t ai W . e keyboard Well, back to th this ! The activities in MARCO ng ti ri w t ge So y to tell. s their own stor P.S. Everyone ha u started!—M yo Cuesheet can get

3


United States of America

Mexico

Loosely based in Latino folklore, with notable pop-culture influences, the performance “changes channels” between the Cuba stories – mixing storytelling styles and shifting across time and Dominican Rep. Puerto Rico place, from colonial Mexico to modern day Manhattan. Haiti Jamaica Belize St. Kitts & Nevis Some of the plays are surprisingly short, and others Honduras Dominica Martinique Guatemala St. Lucia Barbados take their time to tell their story; there are happy El Salvador Nicaragua Grenada St. Vincent & The Grenadines endings, sad endings and a couple unresolved Trinidad & Tobago Costa Rica Panama cliff-hangers. Venezuela Guyana French Guiana Together, these plays explore love, loss, Colombia Suriname fear, courage – and the power of stories and storytelling in the human Ecuador experience.

Brazil

Peru Bolivia Paraguay Chile

Uruguay

Marco Ramirez, the writer of these plays, blurs the lines between fantasy and real-life, influenced by the comic books he read as a child (and still reads today). Born in Miami and raised in a Spanish-speaking household, Marco also finds inspiration in his Hispanic heritage – from folklore and legends to personal stories handed down through his family.

Argentina “Hispanic” refers to Spanish-speaking peoples all over the world; “Latino” embraces all the countries in Latin America — including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean and– where Portuguese, French and other languages (including Spanish) might be spoken.

Introduction ........................................................2 Meet the Playwright .............................................3 Getting Started: Where Ideas Come From ............4 Get Your Own Idea...............................................5 Here We Go: 5 Things You Want in a Play..............5

B minor .............................................................6 Character: The Me Nobody Knows .......................7

Sirena ...............................................................8 Conflict: You’re In Trouble Now .............................9

Lupe and the F Train Monster .....................10

2

Meet the Playwright

T

he performance of Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple is actually a series of six short plays, tightly packed into an hour of drama, comedy, action and adventure.

Setting: Are We There Yet? ....................................................11

I Am Not Batman .............................................................12 Plot: One Thing After Another ................................................13

All the Noises this House Makes or Guanguancó ......14 A Note on Dialogue: Talk the Talk..........................................15

Chester, Who Painted the World Purple .......................16 Theme: What’s It All About?..................................................17 Show Me!: A Storyboard ......................................................18 Now You Go: A Play in One Page ...........................................19 Things to Do Before, During and After the Performance.........20

A

playwright’s job is to write the play – which means creating characters, a setting and plot, and deciding what the actors say and do to tell the story. In the beginning, the playwright works only on the story, working out the details of what happens in the play and what the play is “about” – its themes and big ideas.

Once the script is finished, the playwright works with the play’s creative team: the director, designers, actors and technicians, using the script as a “blueprint” to bring the story to life.

amirez From: Marco R GE FROM MARCO A SS E 4 PM EDT Subject: A M 25, 2008 5:50:0 r be em pt Se e: at D ting. interested in wri like I’ve always been r. Faraway places I found ge un yo as w I n whe a city ed around a lot es, Argentina – rrified, my ir ov A m s s no nt ue re B pa d y M te l, an Sao Paulo, Brazi keep from being Santiago, Chile, e we lived near a graveyard. To as “awful little puppet plays.” r us really scary beca I put on what I like to remembe rote d an write plays. I w to te younger sister la up g in ay family I began st Miami, Flordia, d in details from In high school in the world around me, and adde oks, TV, movies—the daily t bo what I knew abou hers. I also got inspiration from ac te d an e. members at surrounded m nd I got d encouraging. A into a art and culture th an ve ti or pp su really , I got gh school were fter high school My teachers in hi ays started getting produced. A and won awards in the pl k City, really lucky. My llege in New Yor estival. This year, I go back to co a at m ra og iard great writing pr American College Theatre F ram at The Juill og s r’ pr te ng en ti ri C w dy ay ne Ken uate pl to begin the grad New York City spected school for the arts. re in American School, a muchay based on Lat r, was to pl a te ri w to e m te dy Center asked as a “Latino” wri When the Kenne that the only thing I could do, atin American” culture and “L ed folktales, I realiz rsity within my own very broad ted thinking about myself ar ve st di so e r . I al recognize th y points of view en to have something written fo an m om fr s ie or be ve ha ld tell many st ou w awesome it w at age 10, and ho aveling was a kid and tr . I me at that age. n he w d di I g same thin t be scared I was doing the that we wouldn’ to tell their so er st si y m In a weird way, to s just like you – , telling storie to faraway places be I would inspire other kids – may Only this time, o. to s, ie yboard. own stor e. I am at the ke ut in m a t ai W . e keyboard Well, back to th this ! The activities in MARCO ng ti ri w t ge So y to tell. s their own stor P.S. Everyone ha u started!—M yo Cuesheet can get

3


Getting Started: Where Ideas Come From I

deas for stories can come from anywhere—someone you see on the way to the store, a story told to you by your grandmother, something you read on the Web or see on television.

Get Your Own Idea P

eople often ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s no big secret. Writers tap into their skills of observation (things we see), their memory (things we remember) and imagination (things we make up.) Observation Something I saw on the way to school today:

Inspiration is the burst of imagination that makes you feel creative. Everything from animated shows to ancient legends can be a source of inspiration to you as a writer. If you are going to write your own story (and turn that story into a play) you need to get inspired!

Listening to the Stories Around You

Memory Something I see on the way to school every day:

That last one might be hard. As the storyteller, you can take some creative license to change or exaggerate the facts. Creative license gives artists the freedom to change details to make them more interesting or to better fit into the story.

One of a playwright’s most important skills is to listen – and that means to listen to the people all around you and the stories they tell, as well as the stories told on television or in a book – even a comic book. Gabriel García Márquez’s work is noted for its “magical realism,” combining fantastical elements alongside ordinary life events.

Marco Ramirez found inspiration for Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple by “listening” to all kinds of different stories...from the funny adventures in the Captain Underpants comics by Dav Pilkey to more serious books from writers like Federico García Lorca, a celebrated Spanish writer, and Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez.

The Beowulf saga has been retold in comics, graphic novels, movies, plays, music, operas –even video games.

Here We Go: 5 Things You Want in a Play A book tells a story but a play shows a story. Television and movies “show” stories, too, but the difference is that a play is alive – all the parts of the story come together, right before your eyes.

T

his list includes the essential elements in a good story. This Cuesheet will explore each item in greater detail – but refer back to this checklist when you start brainstorming your own play.

✔Character

Who is the main person in your story? You need a name, and a few words to describe them; if you have a good picture of your character, so will your audience.

✔Conflict

What does your main character want? And what stands in his or her way? (Dream big! Any kid might want a new bike or a video game—but that’s small! How about: a kid who wants to save the world! The more interesting the conflict, the more interesting the story.)

4

Imagination Something I saw on the way to school that was so amazing, so incredible, so weird that they’d have to make a movie about my life:

✔Setting

Where are we? When and where does the story take place? Put your play in a setting that fits the story. Think of special details about the place and time.

✔Plot

The plot gathers all the conflicts together and tracks your hero’s journey through the whole story. So what happens? What goes wrong? How does your character solve the problem? What does your character learn when he or she finally reaches the objective? What happens in the end?

✔Theme

What is the story about, really? Not what happens and who does what, but what are the big ideas or emotions that the story is getting at?

5


Getting Started: Where Ideas Come From I

deas for stories can come from anywhere—someone you see on the way to the store, a story told to you by your grandmother, something you read on the Web or see on television.

Get Your Own Idea P

eople often ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s no big secret. Writers tap into their skills of observation (things we see), their memory (things we remember) and imagination (things we make up.) Observation Something I saw on the way to school today:

Inspiration is the burst of imagination that makes you feel creative. Everything from animated shows to ancient legends can be a source of inspiration to you as a writer. If you are going to write your own story (and turn that story into a play) you need to get inspired!

Listening to the Stories Around You

Memory Something I see on the way to school every day:

That last one might be hard. As the storyteller, you can take some creative license to change or exaggerate the facts. Creative license gives artists the freedom to change details to make them more interesting or to better fit into the story.

One of a playwright’s most important skills is to listen – and that means to listen to the people all around you and the stories they tell, as well as the stories told on television or in a book – even a comic book. Gabriel García Márquez’s work is noted for its “magical realism,” combining fantastical elements alongside ordinary life events.

Marco Ramirez found inspiration for Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple by “listening” to all kinds of different stories...from the funny adventures in the Captain Underpants comics by Dav Pilkey to more serious books from writers like Federico García Lorca, a celebrated Spanish writer, and Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez.

The Beowulf saga has been retold in comics, graphic novels, movies, plays, music, operas –even video games.

Here We Go: 5 Things You Want in a Play A book tells a story but a play shows a story. Television and movies “show” stories, too, but the difference is that a play is alive – all the parts of the story come together, right before your eyes.

T

his list includes the essential elements in a good story. This Cuesheet will explore each item in greater detail – but refer back to this checklist when you start brainstorming your own play.

✔Character

Who is the main person in your story? You need a name, and a few words to describe them; if you have a good picture of your character, so will your audience.

✔Conflict

What does your main character want? And what stands in his or her way? (Dream big! Any kid might want a new bike or a video game—but that’s small! How about: a kid who wants to save the world! The more interesting the conflict, the more interesting the story.)

4

Imagination Something I saw on the way to school that was so amazing, so incredible, so weird that they’d have to make a movie about my life:

✔Setting

Where are we? When and where does the story take place? Put your play in a setting that fits the story. Think of special details about the place and time.

✔Plot

The plot gathers all the conflicts together and tracks your hero’s journey through the whole story. So what happens? What goes wrong? How does your character solve the problem? What does your character learn when he or she finally reaches the objective? What happens in the end?

✔Theme

What is the story about, really? Not what happens and who does what, but what are the big ideas or emotions that the story is getting at?

5


Character: The Me Nobody Knows E

B-Minor

very story needs a hero. Who is yours? It should be someone you make up – but try to be really specific. Not some boy, but a specific boy. Not any girl, but a girl you understand on the inside. (Don’t use someone you know, like someone in your class or your bossy little brother. Instead – make up a fresh new character from scratch!) Here are some questions you might ask your character so that you know them really well.

What bugs me because it’s not fair:

If you were speaking for your character, here are some questions you would be able to answer for them: My name is:

Rebecca hadn't spoken a word since her father disappeared after losing a singing contest with ...

This is what I look like:

... a mysterious Stranger.

What I really wish I could have:

When I look at myself, I see:

When the stranger returned and challenged Rebecca to the same contest, she accepted on one condition.

What would really help me out here: What makes me happy:

Rebecca wanted her father back.

THINK ABOUT... Alfredo is a small-town shoemaker who dreams of being a great singer. One day, he competes in a song contest with a mysterious stranger – but Alfredo loses and disappears in a flash.

What makes me sad:

how the final showdown with the Stranger relates to contemporary competitions, like rapping and poetry slams.

Rebecca, Alfredo’s daughter, grows up without speaking. But ten years later—when she gets a chance to compete in the same contest with the same mysterious stranger, she can’t say no. She accepts the challenge on one condition: she wants her father back.

6

7


Character: The Me Nobody Knows E

B-Minor

very story needs a hero. Who is yours? It should be someone you make up – but try to be really specific. Not some boy, but a specific boy. Not any girl, but a girl you understand on the inside. (Don’t use someone you know, like someone in your class or your bossy little brother. Instead – make up a fresh new character from scratch!) Here are some questions you might ask your character so that you know them really well.

What bugs me because it’s not fair:

If you were speaking for your character, here are some questions you would be able to answer for them: My name is:

Rebecca hadn't spoken a word since her father disappeared after losing a singing contest with ...

This is what I look like:

... a mysterious Stranger.

What I really wish I could have:

When I look at myself, I see:

When the stranger returned and challenged Rebecca to the same contest, she accepted on one condition.

What would really help me out here: What makes me happy:

Rebecca wanted her father back.

THINK ABOUT... Alfredo is a small-town shoemaker who dreams of being a great singer. One day, he competes in a song contest with a mysterious stranger – but Alfredo loses and disappears in a flash.

What makes me sad:

how the final showdown with the Stranger relates to contemporary competitions, like rapping and poetry slams.

Rebecca, Alfredo’s daughter, grows up without speaking. But ten years later—when she gets a chance to compete in the same contest with the same mysterious stranger, she can’t say no. She accepts the challenge on one condition: she wants her father back.

6

7


Conflict: You’re in Trouble Now A

Sirena

girl goes to the market to buy eggs and comes home with eggs. Who cares?! To make the story exciting, we’re going to have to break some eggs!

Tomás lived in a village where the people were starving.

one conflict, and Most stories have at least even in a short sometimes there are many, “uh-oh” moments story. Identify five different s, Monsters and among the plays in Mermaid the World Painted Pur ple.

First, give your character a goal, something he or she really wants – and make it something good, something big. Push yourself a little: instead of having your character want something like a new video game, consider bigger feelings or experiences your character might want – like freedom, popularity, courage, or love. 1. My Character Wants:

His job was to deliver their wishes to the Gods of the Ocean.

Now, your story needs “conflict.” Think of the moments when you’re watching a movie and you say “uh-oh!” because the hero is in trouble. Moments of conflict keep the story moving. Conflict is created by throwing obstacles in your hero’s path so he can’t get what he wants. An obstacle could be no money, or no car, or no permission – challenges that exist on the “outside” in the physical world. An obstacle could also be something on the “inside” – an issue or a personality trait, like fear, shyness, a lack of confidence (or too much confidence.)

2.

3.

My Character Can’t Get What He/She Wants Because:

Outside obstacle, something real. Inside obstacle, something personal.

4.

So What’s Your Character Going To Do?

Be careful what you wish for.

THINK ABOUT... Tomás lives in a town that is struggling through a famine. The young man is assigned the task of tossing scraps of paper into the sea, carrying the wishes of the desperate townspeople to the Gods of the Ocean. One day, Tomás encounters Sirena, a mermaid who has been reading the wishes. Tomás falls deeply in love and can’t resist telling the townspeople what he has found. Unfortunately, the townspeople respond to the mermaid as nothing more than a big fish – and they’re starving. Does Tomás fight his own people to protect the mermaid? Can he protect her? Can he protect his heart?

8

5.

how the playwright has reinvented the mythical creature to serve his story. How is she different from other mermaids? How is she the same?

9


Conflict: You’re in Trouble Now A

Sirena

girl goes to the market to buy eggs and comes home with eggs. Who cares?! To make the story exciting, we’re going to have to break some eggs!

Tomás lived in a village where the people were starving.

one conflict, and Most stories have at least even in a short sometimes there are many, “uh-oh” moments story. Identify five different s, Monsters and among the plays in Mermaid the World Painted Pur ple.

First, give your character a goal, something he or she really wants – and make it something good, something big. Push yourself a little: instead of having your character want something like a new video game, consider bigger feelings or experiences your character might want – like freedom, popularity, courage, or love. 1. My Character Wants:

His job was to deliver their wishes to the Gods of the Ocean.

Now, your story needs “conflict.” Think of the moments when you’re watching a movie and you say “uh-oh!” because the hero is in trouble. Moments of conflict keep the story moving. Conflict is created by throwing obstacles in your hero’s path so he can’t get what he wants. An obstacle could be no money, or no car, or no permission – challenges that exist on the “outside” in the physical world. An obstacle could also be something on the “inside” – an issue or a personality trait, like fear, shyness, a lack of confidence (or too much confidence.)

2.

3.

My Character Can’t Get What He/She Wants Because:

Outside obstacle, something real. Inside obstacle, something personal.

4.

So What’s Your Character Going To Do?

Be careful what you wish for.

THINK ABOUT... Tomás lives in a town that is struggling through a famine. The young man is assigned the task of tossing scraps of paper into the sea, carrying the wishes of the desperate townspeople to the Gods of the Ocean. One day, Tomás encounters Sirena, a mermaid who has been reading the wishes. Tomás falls deeply in love and can’t resist telling the townspeople what he has found. Unfortunately, the townspeople respond to the mermaid as nothing more than a big fish – and they’re starving. Does Tomás fight his own people to protect the mermaid? Can he protect her? Can he protect his heart?

8

5.

how the playwright has reinvented the mythical creature to serve his story. How is she different from other mermaids? How is she the same?

9


Lupe and the F Train Monster

Setting: Are We There Yet? T here is a lot more to setting than just place. Setting refers to the entire environment of your play. What’s the time? Daytime or nighttime? Modern day, the future, or long, long ago? Does your story move forward or backward in time? What’s the physical location, and what does it look like? Is it someplace familiar or someplace outrageous? Does your story change location?

s used among Identify three different setting ers and the World the plays in Mermaids, Monst ation, if you can, Painted Pur ple. Name the loc weather and time. and also the surroundings,

My story takes place in: 1. Use the following boxes to draw your responses to the next three questions.

A gigantic monster is eating kids on the F Train. But Lupe didn’t believe it.

2. 1, What does the weather look like? Is it a sunny day? A windy day? Maybe it is raining. Maybe there’s a thunderstorm. Or is it snowing? Or is it a heat wave?

Until she saw it with her own eyes.

3. 2. What do you see outside the window? Buildings and skyscrapers? Or maybe it’s mountains? A forest full of trees? Endless desert? Endless ocean? Or maybe the Eiffel Tower?

Every night, Lupe, a remarkably average eleven-year old girl, rides the Watch for… late-night F Train across town to her home. She fights the boredom by playing mad video games with warriors and sabers – when all of sudden, a the way the playwright distinct roar sounds in the distance. A monstrous roar. manipulates “time.” It starts, stops and Lupe has heard all the rumors from her cousin, Marta Elena: A gigantic monster is even rewinds. eating kids on the F Train. But Lupe didn’t believe her.... Until she saw it with her own eyes.

10

3. What is the time? The time of day? The hour of night? Autumn, winter, summer, spring? December? November? March? May? What year is it? What can you draw to convey the season or the year?

11


Lupe and the F Train Monster

Setting: Are We There Yet? T here is a lot more to setting than just place. Setting refers to the entire environment of your play. What’s the time? Daytime or nighttime? Modern day, the future, or long, long ago? Does your story move forward or backward in time? What’s the physical location, and what does it look like? Is it someplace familiar or someplace outrageous? Does your story change location?

s used among Identify three different setting ers and the World the plays in Mermaids, Monst ation, if you can, Painted Pur ple. Name the loc weather and time. and also the surroundings,

My story takes place in: 1. Use the following boxes to draw your responses to the next three questions.

A gigantic monster is eating kids on the F Train. But Lupe didn’t believe it.

2. 1, What does the weather look like? Is it a sunny day? A windy day? Maybe it is raining. Maybe there’s a thunderstorm. Or is it snowing? Or is it a heat wave?

Until she saw it with her own eyes.

3. 2. What do you see outside the window? Buildings and skyscrapers? Or maybe it’s mountains? A forest full of trees? Endless desert? Endless ocean? Or maybe the Eiffel Tower?

Every night, Lupe, a remarkably average eleven-year old girl, rides the Watch for… late-night F Train across town to her home. She fights the boredom by playing mad video games with warriors and sabers – when all of sudden, a the way the playwright distinct roar sounds in the distance. A monstrous roar. manipulates “time.” It starts, stops and Lupe has heard all the rumors from her cousin, Marta Elena: A gigantic monster is even rewinds. eating kids on the F Train. But Lupe didn’t believe her.... Until she saw it with her own eyes.

10

3. What is the time? The time of day? The hour of night? Autumn, winter, summer, spring? December? November? March? May? What year is it? What can you draw to convey the season or the year?

11


Plot: One Thing After Another T o a playwright, plot is a series of events that determine whether or not the main character gets his or her goal. Each event creates a conflict, throwing another obstacle between the character and his or her objective. Each new character in a story should add a new conflict; just like us, characters all have different wants and needs.

Remember that obstacles can exist on the outside, like a road block, a bully or a test – and on the inside, like a fear, a secret or a mistaken belief. These often go hand-in-hand. For example, a bully is only an obstacle if his victim is afraid. Similarly, the monster on the F Train is an obstacle, and so is Lupe’s belief that she’s only an ordinary girl.

Decisions, D

Playwrights “raise the stakes” in a story by making the character’s goal something important and valuable – and by making each conflict equally important and valuable. The problems that surface in these plays aren’t small – even when they appear to be at first; the playwright has deliberately chosen big issues and big events.

ec

isions Characters in play s make tough de cisions. At the be what he or she wa ginning of a stor nts – and decide y, the hero decide s to go for it. As to solve problem s conflicts arise, th s – and suffers th e hero decides ho e consequences. Th Run away!”) is al w e safe choice (li most never the m ke “Run away! ost interesting ch oice, dramatical ly. ter’s more Choose one of your charac ions. then identify his or her opt and challenging obstacles The Easy Out:

The Smart Choice:

ve: The Completely Unexpected Mo

Listen Up! Alone in his bedroom, a boy imagines wild adventures as Batman, the city’s avenging angel. As Batman leaps into action to foil a criminal plot, the boy gets so caught up in his own fantasies that the reality of his own life spills forth as well – even the damaged nature of his relationship to his father.

12

I Am Not Batman is performed with a live percussionist, who replicates the “wham-kapow!” of the sounds in Batman: The Animated Series.

13


Plot: One Thing After Another T o a playwright, plot is a series of events that determine whether or not the main character gets his or her goal. Each event creates a conflict, throwing another obstacle between the character and his or her objective. Each new character in a story should add a new conflict; just like us, characters all have different wants and needs.

Remember that obstacles can exist on the outside, like a road block, a bully or a test – and on the inside, like a fear, a secret or a mistaken belief. These often go hand-in-hand. For example, a bully is only an obstacle if his victim is afraid. Similarly, the monster on the F Train is an obstacle, and so is Lupe’s belief that she’s only an ordinary girl.

Decisions, D

Playwrights “raise the stakes” in a story by making the character’s goal something important and valuable – and by making each conflict equally important and valuable. The problems that surface in these plays aren’t small – even when they appear to be at first; the playwright has deliberately chosen big issues and big events.

ec

isions Characters in play s make tough de cisions. At the be what he or she wa ginning of a stor nts – and decide y, the hero decide s to go for it. As to solve problem s conflicts arise, th s – and suffers th e hero decides ho e consequences. Th Run away!”) is al w e safe choice (li most never the m ke “Run away! ost interesting ch oice, dramatical ly. ter’s more Choose one of your charac ions. then identify his or her opt and challenging obstacles The Easy Out:

The Smart Choice:

ve: The Completely Unexpected Mo

Listen Up! Alone in his bedroom, a boy imagines wild adventures as Batman, the city’s avenging angel. As Batman leaps into action to foil a criminal plot, the boy gets so caught up in his own fantasies that the reality of his own life spills forth as well – even the damaged nature of his relationship to his father.

12

I Am Not Batman is performed with a live percussionist, who replicates the “wham-kapow!” of the sounds in Batman: The Animated Series.

13


All the Noises this House Makes (or Guanguancó ) Emilia enjoyed a life of privilege on an island plantation – but she still felt lonely, frail and isolated.

A

A Note on Dialogue: Talk the Talk

playwright controls who-says-what in a play. An audience learns about a character from how he or she looks and behaves – but mostly from what the character says. More likely than not, characters speak the truth – but not always.

Sometimes the person talking is a narrator, telling the story of the play. In Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple, the narrators function as storytellers, setting the scene and When two characters are talk ing back and forth, that’s called a dialogue. Usually in plays, one person wants something from another. Pla ywrights provide characters with “tactics,” strategies used to get what they want. You probably have “ta ctics” you already use at home when you ask specia l permission for something . A dialogue is a give-and-tak e conversation between two people. The second spe aker in a dialogue might not simply respond “yes” or “no” to questions or requests – but might assert new demands regarding his or her own goals, wants and needs. Additional characters almost always cre ate new conflicts in the storyline.

Until the day she heard music rising through the floorboards...

FIGHT THE FIGHT What does your main character say to get what he or she wants?

describing the action. Sometimes characters in these plays narrate their own stories, stepping aside to talk to the audience, and then jumping back into the story. all the talking on, When one character is doing Typically, a monologue that’s called a monologue. God or another is directed at: 1) oneself, 2) person or a group spiritual being; 3) another an animal; or of people; 4) an object or a ghost or a fantasy. 5) something imaginary, like

Among the plays in Mermaids are two monologues. Choose one and answer the following questions: Who is speaking?

Who is he or she speaking to?

What does he or she want?

If the answer is “no,” he or she might say:

t say: If the answer is still “no,” he or she migh

...and her life was changed forever.

A young slave named Carbón does back-breaking work on a Listen Cuban plantation and is told to sleep in the dirt basement. Up! In the evening, he listens to music flowing from the house above. Emilia, a sad frail young girl in the house, takes singing lessons at the piano. From the basement, Carbón begins a duet with her, by clanking on the rakes and shovels. Emilia sings back through the floorboards. One night, she tiptoes down to the basement to meet this musician – and to steal a kiss.

14 14

The musical backbone of this play is guaguancó, a style of music developed by slaves using shovels and other tools as instruments.

What might the second character say instead of “yes” or “no”?

15


All the Noises this House Makes (or Guanguancó ) Emilia enjoyed a life of privilege on an island plantation – but she still felt lonely, frail and isolated.

A

A Note on Dialogue: Talk the Talk

playwright controls who-says-what in a play. An audience learns about a character from how he or she looks and behaves – but mostly from what the character says. More likely than not, characters speak the truth – but not always.

Sometimes the person talking is a narrator, telling the story of the play. In Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple, the narrators function as storytellers, setting the scene and When two characters are talk ing back and forth, that’s called a dialogue. Usually in plays, one person wants something from another. Pla ywrights provide characters with “tactics,” strategies used to get what they want. You probably have “ta ctics” you already use at home when you ask specia l permission for something . A dialogue is a give-and-tak e conversation between two people. The second spe aker in a dialogue might not simply respond “yes” or “no” to questions or requests – but might assert new demands regarding his or her own goals, wants and needs. Additional characters almost always cre ate new conflicts in the storyline.

Until the day she heard music rising through the floorboards...

FIGHT THE FIGHT What does your main character say to get what he or she wants?

describing the action. Sometimes characters in these plays narrate their own stories, stepping aside to talk to the audience, and then jumping back into the story. all the talking on, When one character is doing Typically, a monologue that’s called a monologue. God or another is directed at: 1) oneself, 2) person or a group spiritual being; 3) another an animal; or of people; 4) an object or a ghost or a fantasy. 5) something imaginary, like

Among the plays in Mermaids are two monologues. Choose one and answer the following questions: Who is speaking?

Who is he or she speaking to?

What does he or she want?

If the answer is “no,” he or she might say:

t say: If the answer is still “no,” he or she migh

...and her life was changed forever.

A young slave named Carbón does back-breaking work on a Listen Cuban plantation and is told to sleep in the dirt basement. Up! In the evening, he listens to music flowing from the house above. Emilia, a sad frail young girl in the house, takes singing lessons at the piano. From the basement, Carbón begins a duet with her, by clanking on the rakes and shovels. Emilia sings back through the floorboards. One night, she tiptoes down to the basement to meet this musician – and to steal a kiss.

14 14

The musical backbone of this play is guaguancó, a style of music developed by slaves using shovels and other tools as instruments.

What might the second character say instead of “yes” or “no”?

15


Chester, Who Painted the World Purple Chester worried about his grandfather

Hey! What happened to my yellow Fruit Loops?

his grandfather was Losing Things

Hey! What happened to My orange Fruit Loops?

Theme: What’s It All About? W

hen you ask someone what a story is about, they’ll tell you what happens. But what a story is really about has more to do with the theme or the message that lives inside the story. These tend to be abstract nouns or intangible things. In The Lion King, for example, the story is about a lion cub who gets to be king – but the story is really about the cycles of life, family, love, ambition and revenge. (In fact, just name all the song titles and they’ll tell you all the themes.) What is the theme of the play you want to write?

“When I stay up late writing, it’s not because I want to tell the story but because I care about what the story is about.” – Marco Ramirez

Choose three plays in Me rmaids ...Then, Chester Figured Out What To Do.

Hey! What happened to My red Fruit Loops?

The play

Hey! All I can see is purple!!!

and identify the themes.

The theme

1.

2.

how the play tackles a sad and sensitive topic with humor. Is comedy appropriate when the subject is serious? Can comedy magnify the sadness of a difficult situation?

THINK ABOUT... Chester is worried about his grandfather. Abuelo seems to forget things all the time. He hardly remembers that he was ever a famous baseball player. Even worse, his eyes are going bad. He lost his sense of colors, one by one – until he is down to his last color, purple. So while Abuelo sleeps, Chester paints everything in the house purple. And when his grandfather wants to watch the baseball game of the century on television, Chester takes on the world. It’s the least he can do for his grandfather.

16

3.

17


Chester, Who Painted the World Purple Chester worried about his grandfather

Hey! What happened to my yellow Fruit Loops?

his grandfather was Losing Things

Hey! What happened to My orange Fruit Loops?

Theme: What’s It All About? W

hen you ask someone what a story is about, they’ll tell you what happens. But what a story is really about has more to do with the theme or the message that lives inside the story. These tend to be abstract nouns or intangible things. In The Lion King, for example, the story is about a lion cub who gets to be king – but the story is really about the cycles of life, family, love, ambition and revenge. (In fact, just name all the song titles and they’ll tell you all the themes.) What is the theme of the play you want to write?

“When I stay up late writing, it’s not because I want to tell the story but because I care about what the story is about.” – Marco Ramirez

Choose three plays in Me rmaids ...Then, Chester Figured Out What To Do.

Hey! What happened to My red Fruit Loops?

The play

Hey! All I can see is purple!!!

and identify the themes.

The theme

1.

2.

how the play tackles a sad and sensitive topic with humor. Is comedy appropriate when the subject is serious? Can comedy magnify the sadness of a difficult situation?

THINK ABOUT... Chester is worried about his grandfather. Abuelo seems to forget things all the time. He hardly remembers that he was ever a famous baseball player. Even worse, his eyes are going bad. He lost his sense of colors, one by one – until he is down to his last color, purple. So while Abuelo sleeps, Chester paints everything in the house purple. And when his grandfather wants to watch the baseball game of the century on television, Chester takes on the world. It’s the least he can do for his grandfather.

16

3.

17


Show Me!: A Storyboard A storyboard is a helpful way to map out what happens in a story without writing a lot of words.

Draw it instead! You’ve sketched out some ideas in the previous activities so you have an idea of who is in your story, where it takes place, and what happens. Now, take a step back and lay out the story in a “comic-book style,” using four specific scenes. (You don’t have to be a good artist; use “stick people” if you like. If you like to doodle, go for it!)

Beginning

hero; beginning : introduce your The first box contains the s goal. ter’ rac cha r you ting and state place him or her in your set or – which can be happy or sad The last box is the ending two re sha en, we ide! In bet anything in between. You dec and that get in your hero’s way— les tac obs – “uh-oh” moments t tha et forg n’t Do n. s the situatio how your character handle the (like fear or inexperience) and ide ins the obstacles exist on t tha too ber em Rem r.) a locked doo outside (like “no money” or a the mood of your story. Is it your storyboard can convey e hom at ing sitt ters the charac comedy? Is it a drama? Are ht? nig at ers nst sed by mo during the day? Or being cha

Now You Go: A Play in One Page Use your storyboard as a gui de and put your story into words. It's easy: just write down who goes where and who says what! Review the checklist on page 5 to be sure you have included cha racter, conflict, setting, plo t and theme. Check off all five and it's a play!

says – what? r is – where? – and te ac ar ch ur yo – g beginnin be a goal.) The blue part is the dialogue—and may , ng tti se r, te ac ar got ch (Look! Already we’ve

Uh-Oh! #1

gue or action. arrives in the dialo cle sta ob a – t your en e first Uh-Oh mom ur character, refer to The green part is th nflict and plot. If you can’t rescue yo co (We’re knee-deep in aybe your hero will help figure it out.) m d an ile character prof

e of the same.) other obstacle. (Mor an – t en om m h -O second Uh The red part is the

Uh-Oh! #2

The End

u choose! . Happy or sad? Yo ay “about?”) ng di en e th is rt pa The yellow hat is your pl be clear by now. W (The theme should

The ending can be happy or sad or anything in between. You decide!

18

and friends. with other students ing ad re e bl ta a e really ambitious, itten, do other people. If you’r Once your play is wr by ud alo ad re ay . hear a pl and put on a show A playwright should tors and a director ac d Fin . ay pl e th you could do

19


Show Me!: A Storyboard A storyboard is a helpful way to map out what happens in a story without writing a lot of words.

Draw it instead! You’ve sketched out some ideas in the previous activities so you have an idea of who is in your story, where it takes place, and what happens. Now, take a step back and lay out the story in a “comic-book style,” using four specific scenes. (You don’t have to be a good artist; use “stick people” if you like. If you like to doodle, go for it!)

Beginning

hero; beginning : introduce your The first box contains the s goal. ter’ rac cha r you ting and state place him or her in your set or – which can be happy or sad The last box is the ending two re sha en, we ide! In bet anything in between. You dec and that get in your hero’s way— les tac obs – “uh-oh” moments t tha et forg n’t Do n. s the situatio how your character handle the (like fear or inexperience) and ide ins the obstacles exist on t tha too ber em Rem r.) a locked doo outside (like “no money” or a the mood of your story. Is it your storyboard can convey e hom at ing sitt ters the charac comedy? Is it a drama? Are ht? nig at ers nst sed by mo during the day? Or being cha

Now You Go: A Play in One Page Use your storyboard as a gui de and put your story into words. It's easy: just write down who goes where and who says what! Review the checklist on page 5 to be sure you have included cha racter, conflict, setting, plo t and theme. Check off all five and it's a play!

says – what? r is – where? – and te ac ar ch ur yo – g beginnin be a goal.) The blue part is the dialogue—and may , ng tti se r, te ac ar got ch (Look! Already we’ve

Uh-Oh! #1

gue or action. arrives in the dialo cle sta ob a – t your en e first Uh-Oh mom ur character, refer to The green part is th nflict and plot. If you can’t rescue yo co (We’re knee-deep in aybe your hero will help figure it out.) m d an ile character prof

e of the same.) other obstacle. (Mor an – t en om m h -O second Uh The red part is the

Uh-Oh! #2

The End

u choose! . Happy or sad? Yo ay “about?”) ng di en e th is rt pa The yellow hat is your pl be clear by now. W (The theme should

The ending can be happy or sad or anything in between. You decide!

18

and friends. with other students ing ad re e bl ta a e really ambitious, itten, do other people. If you’r Once your play is wr by ud alo ad re ay . hear a pl and put on a show A playwright should tors and a director ac d Fin . ay pl e th you could do

19


Things to Do Before, During and After the Performance

S

tories define our culture. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and they teach us lessons: right from wrong, good from bad, the sad truth and the regrettable lie. Hopefully, with the collection of stories in Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple, you’ll develop a new understanding of storytelling – and be ready to tell a few stories of your own. In the meantime, here’s some advice on how to enhance this theater experience.

Before: Review the story behind each short play in Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple. Turn off your cell phones. Remind any adults with you to turn off their cell phones. Put away your wrapped candy. (The crinkly sound can ruin a performance.) Say what’s on your mind to anyone sitting with you so you can stop talking and stay quiet during the play.

Stephen A. Schwarzman Chairman Michael M. Kaiser President Darrell M. Ayers Vice President, Education Cuesheets are funded in part through the support of the U.S. Department of Education; Verizon Foundation; Estate of Joseph R. Applegate; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; the Carter and Melissa Cafritz Charitable Trust; Citi Foundation; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A. J. Stolwijk; Mr. Martin K. Alloy and Ms. Daris M. Clifton; the Harris Family Foundation; Newman’s Own Foundation; the Clark Winchcole Foundation; Chevy Chase Bank; The Clark Charitable Foundation, and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

During: Respect the performers. It’s okay to laugh, it’s okay to applaud – but only when the actors expect it. Respect the person sitting in front of you. Don’t kick his or her chair. Respect the person sitting behind you. Don’t flop around too much or talk to your neighbor. Respect yourself. Have a good time!

After:

Work on the exercises in this guide! Finish your play-in-one-page. Read it aloud with your friends – or put on a performance!

Cuesheets are produced by ARTSEDGE, a program of the Kennedy Center Education Department.

Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple Cuesheet Writer and Art Director: Doug Cooney Design: The Kirwan Company, Inc. Illustration Design: Ian D. Brookfield For more information about the performing arts and arts education, visit us at www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org Questions, comments? Write us at cuesheets@artsedge.kennedy-center.org. © 2008, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts The U.S. Department of Education supports approximately one-third of the budget for the Kennedy Center Education Department. The contents of this Cuesheet do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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Mermaids, Monsters, and the World Painted Purple  

The performance of Mermaids, Monsters and the World Painted Purple is actually a series of six short plays, tightly packed into an hour of d...

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