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So... Journey to the Truth



Study Guide Contents 3.)

Production Information

4.) Introduction 5.)

Letter from Community Engagement and Education Team


Meet the Director


Meet the Playwrights


Robert Shetterly- The Artist


Americans Who Tell The Truth

10.) Synopsis 11.) Characters




Muhammad Ali


Lily Yeh


John Lewis


Tarana Burke


Samantha Smith


Sojourner Truth


Questions for Discussion


Elements of Drama


Elements of Design


Educational Outreach at Syracuse Stage


Director of Community Engagement & Education Joann Yarrow (315) 443-8603

Associate Director of Education Kate Laissle (315) 442-7755

Community Engagement & Education Assistant MiKayla Hawkinson (315) 443-1150

Group Sales & Student Matinees Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Box Office (315) 443-3275

Written and designed by MiKayla Hawkinson

Special thanks to Robert and Aran Shetterly

So Journey to the Truth By Daniel Carlton and Nambi E. Kelley Directed by Joann Maria Yarrow

Sojo Juen Kang

Stage Manger Shannon Bagoly

Set and Costume Design Chad Healy

Ojos Maria Victoria Palanco

Tour Manager Katharine Dinneen

Sound Design Bradley Beckman

Projection Designer Brenna Merritt


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As you take your students on the exciting journey into the world of live theatre, we hope that you’ll take a moment to help prepare them to make the most of their experience. Unlike movies or television, live theatre offers the thrill of unpredictability. With the actors present on stage, the audience response becomes an integral part of the performance and the overall experience: the more involved and attentive the audience, the better the show. Please remind your students that they play an important part in the success of the performance.





audience etiquette BE PROMPT Give your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. Have them visit the restrooms before the show begins. RESPECT OTHERS Please remind your students that their behavior and responses affect the quality of the performance and the enjoyment of the production for the entire audience. Live theatre means the actors and the audience are in the same room, and just as the audience can see and hear the performers, the performers can see and hear the audience. Please ask your students to avoid disturbing those around them. Please no talking or unnecessary or disruptive movement during the performance. Also, please remind students that cell phones should be switched off completely. No texting or social media, please. When students give their full attention to the action on the stage, they will be rewarded with the best performance possible. GOOD NOISE, BAD NOISE Instead of instructing students to remain totally silent, please discuss the difference between appropriate responses (laughter, applause, participation when requested) and inappropriate noise (talking, cell phones, etc). STAY WITH US Please do not leave or allow students to leave during the performance except in absolute emergencies. Again, reminding them to use the restrooms before the performance will help eliminate unnecessary disruption.

Dear Educator, The best way of learning is learning while you’re having fun. When you hear something you can forget it, but when you see something it stays with you forever. Live theatre provides the opportunity for us to connect with more than just our own story, it allows us to find ourselves in other people’s lives and grow beyond our own boundaries. We’re the only species on the planet who makes stories. It is the stories that we leave behind that define us. Giving students the power to watch stories and create their own is part of our lasting impact on the world. We invite you and your students to engage with the stories we tell as a starting point for you and them to create their own. Sincerely, Joann Yarrow, Kate Laissle, and MiKayla Hawkinson Community Engagement and Education

2019/2020 EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH SPONSORS Syracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that explore and examine what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 15,500 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, Backstory, Young Adult Council, and/or our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our community.


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Meet the Director Joann Yarrow

Photo taken by Brenna Merritt




Joann Maria Yarrow is the Director of Community Engagement and Education at Syracuse Stage. She began her work and training with Double Edge Theatre in Boston and Odin Teatret in Denmark. Joann co-founded A Laboratory for Actor Training with Vernice Miller (currently at John Jay College) while working with Richard Schechner’s company East Coast Artists. She spent three years with Broadway director, Harold Prince on the productions of Parade, Whistle down the Wind, Candide, Show Boat, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Phantom of the Opera. With over 30 years of experience, she has directed and produced productions in Denmark, London, Madrid, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Texas, Ecuador, Peru ,and Brazil. For twelve years, she was the Artistic Director of Teatro Prometeo, a Spanish-language theatre repertory and conservatory in Miami where she worked on more than 80 productions and translated, adapted, and commissioned new works that have toured nationally and internationally. There she translated Oliver Mayer’s Blade to the Heat and developed workshops and readings for a Spanish translation of his play Dark Matters (winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Initiative Award for Plays about Science). She is a member of the Latinx Theater Commons and the Director’s Lab West in Los Angeles. Joann received her BFA from Boston University and an MFA in Directing from UC Irvine. She is a featured director in the book “The Art and Practice of Directing in Latin America: Central America and United States.” She has recently directed Stephanie Leary’s Commanding Space: The Rise of Annie Easley and the Centaur Rocket, a Syracuse Stage Backstory production currently on national tour.

Meet the Playwrights

Nambi E. Kelley Award winning actress/playwright, Kelley has performed across the country, including many shows at the Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, has been seen on several television shows, including “Elementary”, “Person of Interest”, “Madam Secretary”,“Chicago PD”, Chicago Justice, and has toured internationally. Most recently she appeared in MacArthur Genius Awardee Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline in the lead role (City Theatre), the critically acclaimed Off Broadway two-hander production of Kunstler (59 E. 59) and Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre). Kelley just made her directorial debut at TheatreWorks Colorado Springs, the first African-American female to helm a production in their over 40 year history. Also an accomplished playwright, Nambi most recently was awarded The Prince Prize, is currently serving in residence at New Victory Theatre, and is a fellow at The Dramatists Foundation in New York City. Kelley served as playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre in New York, was a recipient of the 2018-19 Writers Alliance Grants from the Dramatists Guild Foundation, a finalist for the Francesca Primus Award, The Kevin Spacey Foundation Award, and is working on an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Jazz which is slated for several regional productions in coming seasons. Her adaptation of Native Son (Sam French) was the highest grossing production in Court Theatre’s 60 year history, has enjoyed productions across the country, most notably, at Yale Repertory Theatre, and premiered in NYC in 2019. Nambi is working on several commissions, including commissions from Marin Theatre Company, Court Theatre, North Carolina Rep, Syracuse Stage, American Blues Theater (proud ensemble member), is a staff writer on Showtime’s “The Chi”, and is in development with several film/tv projects. www.nambikelley.com

Daniel Carlton Daniel Carlton is an actor, storyteller, playwright, poet, director, and award-winning teaching artist who has appeared on New York, national, and international stages. His work has been presented in schools, jails, homeless shelters, libraries, and other traditional and non-traditional spaces. He is currently working on several commissions, most notably from Harlem Stage, to write and perform a show for the Harlem Renaissance Centennial, and Syracuse Stage, co-writing a family audiences play with Nambi E. Kelley based on paintings by Robert Shetterly. Most recent director credits include developmental workshops of Nambi E. Kelley’s Translation of Likes at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, Night Train 57 at the Kennedy Center in D.C, and Jabari Dreams OF Freedom at the New Victory Theatre in New York City. Playwright credits include : March On! based on interviews with attendees of the 1963 March On Washington. March On! is currently touring, has recently sold out The Apollo Theatre school day live performances, and will be featured at the National Black Theatre Festival 2019. Other playwriting credits include: Timeless Journeys, a series of monologues based on the history of free African Americans in Brooklyn, NY, commissioned by The Weeksville Heritage Society. A Whistle in Mississippi-The Life and Death of Emmett Till (currently touring) co-authored along with Michael Green, The Dream Inn (The Schomburg Center for Research) based on the poetry of Langston Hughes, Shelter: Refugees of the American Dream (Blackberry Productions), among other works. Other notable commissions include projects for Jazzmobile, The New School for Jazz Studies, Summerstage, and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival to write and perform a multimedia verse play “When Smalls Had It All” ( A tribute to the former Jazz club in Harlem, Small’s Paradise) for the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival and The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival.


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Robert Shetterly The Artist Robert´s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings and etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell”, and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation. His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life -- from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement. After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures, and approximately 30 books.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it. Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline. Since 1990, he has been the President of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), and a producer of the UMVA’s Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists. -Information provided by Americanswhotellthetruth.org




Americans Who Tell The Truth

What is “Americans Who Tell the Truth?” Portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. By combining art and other media, AWTT offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth. -americanswhotellthetruth.org

Check out the entire portrait series for “Americans Who Tell the Truth” here! https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portrait-galleries


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So Journey to the Truth Sojo is on a journey to uncover what is “truth” and what gives us the courage to do what is right under difficult circumstances. Inspired by the portrait series “Americans Who Tell the Truth” by Robert Shetterly, Sojo shares the stories of ordinary people who become extraordinary humans, confronting the lies they have been told to believe.




Characters Sojo Sojo is a 15 year old, precocious, gregarious, rebellious, inquisitive teen who is deeply conflicted by a world that appears to be full of lies and deceit, and in this emotional space she is unable to hear her own truth.

Ojos Ojos is a gregarious, rebellious, and inquisitive teen, the more expressive and seeing side of Sojo who knows the truth and wants to help Sojo access hers. Ojos is brought to life through language, music, rhythm, and movement, a real shapeshifter with a sense of humor and play. SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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Muhammad Ali Born: January 17th, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky Died: June 3rd, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona (age 74) Education: Central High School in Louisville (Class of 1958)

Vietnam War

On April 28, 1967, with the United States at war in Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces, saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” On June 20, 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years. He stayed out of prison as his case was appealed and returned to the ring on October 26, 1970, knocking out Jerry Quarry in Atlanta in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” and lost after 15 rounds, the first loss of his professional boxing career. On June 28 of that same year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction for evading the draft.

Did you know: Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., the future three-time world champ changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after converting to Islam.

Is.lam.o.pho.bi.a noun dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

“Float like a butterfly! Sting like a bee!” 12




Nicknamed “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali had one of the greatest boxing careers of all time. He has been labeled as one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. He has been in a total of 61 fights with a record of 56 wins and 5 losses. Out of the 56 wins, 37 of them have been wins from knockouts. In 1960 Muhammad Ali went to the Olympics to compete in the Light Heavyweight category. He won the gold medal after five rounds of fights. Muhammad Ali was known for his unorthodox fighting style. He had very quick hand speed and amazing footwork. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was one of his signature quotes when speaking about his fighting styles.

photo by Bettman archives. Do not own the rights to this photo.

Parkinson’s Disease

“I have Parkinson’s disease but Parkinson’s disease doesn’t have me.” Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, three years after his retirement from boxing. He would survive the disease for another 32 years, amounting to almost half of his life.

Parkinson’s Disease (often referred to PD) is due to nerve cells in the brain that become damaged or die. The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown but there are two factors that may contribute to receiving it. A person’s genes and environmental triggers can lead to Parkinson’s. Men and adults over the age of 60 are more likely to develop the disease than others. Parkinson’s causes tremors, slow movement, and loss of balance. Parkinson’s is very progressive and worsens with time, which can lead to speech abnormalities and hallucinations. There are five stages ranging from mild to severe. Parkinson’s affects everyone differently and not everyone has the same symptoms. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s yet, there are many medications and treatments. For more information: https://parkinsonsdisease.net/basics/


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Lily Yeh Born: 1941 in Guizhou, China Education: University of Pennsylvania, School of Design and National Taiwan University Occupation: Artist, Activist, and Urban Alchemist

The Village of Arts and Humanities: In 1986, Lily Yeh founded The Village of Arts and Humanities. It is a non-profit organization that helps build community through art and use of small spaces. Centered in North Philadelphia, The Village has worked on many different projects all for bettering the community. Some projects include after school programs, greening land transformation, housing renovation, theatre, and economic development initiatives. The Village yearly serves over 10,000 low income youth and families.

“ Making genuine connection lies at the beginning of building a real community.� 14



Barefoot Artists Lily Yeh founded Barefoot Artists in 2002. It is an organization with very few staff members and has many volunteers. Barefoot Artists raises funds for projects that will better a community’s environment, health, economics, and education. They have now gone to eleven different countries and done many projects.

Trailer for the documentary “Barefoot Artist”



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John Lewis Born: February 21, 1940 Education: American Baptist College (BA) Fisk University (BA) Occupation: American Politician and Civil Rights Leader

“In 1957, a teenaged boy named John Lewis left a cotton farm in Alabama for Nashville, the epicenter of the struggle for civil rights in America. Lewis’s adherence to nonviolence guided that critical time and established him as one of the movement’s most charismatic and courageous leaders. Lewis’s leadership in the Nashville Movement- a student-led effort to desegregate the city of Nashville using sit-in techniques based on the teachings of Gandhi- set the tone for major civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. Lewis traces his role in the pivotal Selma marches, Bloody Sunday, and the Freedom Riders. Inspired by his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis’s vision and perseverance altered history. In 1986, he ran and won a congressional seat in Georgia, and remains in office to this day, continuing to enact change.” Simon & Shuester ‘20

“Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?” 16



“I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.” Bloody Sunday “In 1965, at the height of the modern civil rights movement, activists organized a march for voting rights, from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, the state capital. On March 7, some 600 people assembled at a downtown church, knelt briefly in prayer, and began walking silently, two-by-two through the city streets. With Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leading the demonstration, and John Lewis, Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), at his side, the marchers were stopped as they were leaving Selma, at the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, by some 150 Alabama state troopers, sheriff ’s deputies, and possemen, who ordered the demonstrators to disperse. One minute and five seconds after a two-minute warning was announced, the troops advanced, wielding clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas. John Lewis, who suffered a skull fracture, was one of fifty-eight people treated for injuries at the local hospital. The day is remembered in history as “Bloody Sunday.” Less than one week later, Lewis recounted the attack on the marchers during a Federal hearing at which the demonstrators sought protection for a full-scale march to Montgomery.” archives.gov

“Walking with the Wind A Memoir of the Movement” by John Lewis The award-winning national bestseller, “Walking with the Wind,” is one of our most important records of the American civil rights movement. Told by John Lewis, who Cornel West calls a “national treasure,” this is a gripping first-hand account of the fight for civil rights and the courage it takes to change a nation. The late Edward M. Kennedy said of Lewis, “John tells it like it was…Lewis spent most of his life walking against the wind of the times, but he was surely walking with the wind of history.” Simon and Schuster, 20 SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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Tarana Burke Born: September 12th, 1973 in New York City, NY Education: Auburn University Montgomery Occupation: Activist

TIME Person of the Year: On December 18th, 2017 TIME released the issue that includes Person of the Year. This year it went to the Silence Breakers and Tarana Burke was included in that. The article is about each of the people who launched the movement against sexual assault and workplace harassment. The people chosen range from celebrities like Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift to other activists like Rose McGowan and Adama Iwu. The article is about how the Silence Breakers spoke up on topics surrounding harassment and retaliation. Click on the link to the TIME Magazine article: https://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/


The Me Too movement is against sexual harassment and sexual assault. The phrase “Me Too” was initially used in this context on social media in 2006, on Myspace, by sexual harassment survivor and

“Shame is debilitating. Empathy stamps out shame. The Me Too Movement is about empowerment through empathy.” 18



“ Sexual violence is pervasive world wide. It is rooted in patriarchy, and its victims are both male and female. It is a global problem in need of a global solution.� -photo from time.com. Do not own the rights to this photo

In 2006 Tarana Burke founded an organization focused on health and the well-being of women of color. This youth organization is Just Be, Inc. It was created in order to help young women gain a sense of their self-worth and teach them to act progressively. Another organization that Tarana Burke was involved in is Girls for Gender Equity. She was the senior director and in charge of programming. Girls for Gender Equity provides programs for girls to foster new strengths and skills. It is determined to help girls achieve safety and equality in social, political, and media settings.


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Samantha Smith Born: June 29, 1972 Died: August 25, 1985

In 1982 Samantha Smith was a frightened 10 year old girl in the small community of Manchester, Maine. One day she asked her mother, Jane, if she could write Yuri Andropov, the Premier of the Soviet Union, and ask him whether the Soviet Union intended to start a war. Samantha’s mother answered, “Why don’t you?” Samantha did, and Premier Andropov wrote her back inviting her to come to the Soviet Union to meet Russian people and see that they were peace loving with no desire to start a war.

The Cold War cold war. noun. a state of political hostility and military tension between two countries or power blocs, involving propaganda, subversion, threats, economic sanctions, and other measures short of open warfare.

The Samantha Smith Challenge https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/the-samantha-smith-challenge “The Samantha Smith Challenge is a collaborative program that allows middle school students the opportunity to explore their identities both in the classroom and the world as they become curious, courageous, and engaged citizens.” -awttt.org




The Cold War began in 1947, at the end of WWII, and was the geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle between two world superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union. “Some contributing factors to the longevity of the Cold War are the the communist takeover in China, the Truman Doctrine, the advent of Soviet nuclear weapons, tensions over occupied Germany, the outbreak of the Korean War, and the formulation of the Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” Gaddis, ‘72. The Berlin Wall also created a physical barrier and intense divide between east an west Germany. In the 1980s the Soviet Union’s political system began to collapse and communist regimes in Eastern Europe were failing. Russia, along with Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary grasped a new world order of democracy and anticommunist leaders to revive their countries. The war lasted until the disintergration of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.

Dear Mr. Andropov, My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight. Sincerely, Dear Samantha, I received your letter, which is like many others that have reached me recently from your country and from other countries around the world. It seems to me—I can tell by your letter—that you are a courageous and honest girl, resembling Becky, the friend of Tom Sawyer in the famous book of your compatriot Mark Twain. This book is well known and loved in our country by all boys and girls. You write that you are anxious about whether there will be a nuclear war between our two countries. And you ask are we doing anything so that war will not break out. Your question is the most important of those that every thinking man can pose. I will reply to you seriously and honestly. Yes, Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us. Soviet people well know what a terrible thing war is. Forty-two years ago, Nazi Germany which strove for supremacy over the whole world, attacked our country, burned and destroyed many thousands of our towns and villages, killed millions of Soviet men, women and children. In that war, which ended with our victory, we were in alliance with the United States: together we fought for the liberation of many people from the Nazi invaders. I hope that you know about this from your history lessons in school. And today we want very much to live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on this earth—with those far away and those near by. And certainly with such a great country as the United States of America.

Samantha Smith In America and in our country there are nuclear weapons—terrible weapons that can kill millions of people in an instant. But we do not want them to be ever used. That’s precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never—never—will it use nuclear weapons first against any country. In general we propose to discontinue further production of them and to proceed to the abolition of all the stockpiles on earth. It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: “Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?” We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country—neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government—want either a big or “little” war. We want peace—there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha. I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries, visit an international children’s camp—”Artek”—on the sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples. Thank you for your letter. I wish you all the best in your young life.


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Sojourner Truth Born: 1797 Died: November 26, 1883 Occupation: Evangelist, abolitionist, civil and women’s rights activist

Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. A former slave, Sojourner Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Abolitionist movement

Did you know?

Sojourner Truth’s real name is Isabella Baumfree. On June 1, 1843, Isabella Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth and devoted her life to Methodism and the abolition of slavery. ac.tiv.ist noun a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.




The abolitionist movement was the movement to end slavery. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was an historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free.

Civil War The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between the northern United States and the southern United States. The civil war began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people.

“Ain’t I A Woman?” Speech By Sojourner Truth

May I say a few words? I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if women have a pint and man a quart - why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seem to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble. I can’t read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept - and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and woman who bore him. Man, where is your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, and he is surely between-a hawk and a buzzard.


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1. If there was a social or economic issue you could explore and create an art project for what would it be and why? 2. When someone says the word “truth” what does that mean to you? What is your definition of the truth? 3. What is something that you have learned to accept or tolerate that you know is unjust? Why do you tolerate this, is there something you can do to change the circumstances? 4. Comparing Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech thanks to NPS.gov: There is some controversy regarding Sojourner Truth’s famous ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ Speech listed on the previous page. There are different versions of the speech. The popular ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ Speech was first published by Frances Gage in 1863, 12 years after the speech itself. Another version was published a month after the speech was given in the Anti-Slavery Bugle by Rev. Marius Robinson. In Robinson’s Version the phrase ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ is not present. Compare the speeches and decide yourself! https://www.thesojournertruthproject.com/compare-the-speeches/ Get Ready for... The Samantha Smith Challenge The Samantha Smith Challenge is a collaborative program that allows middle school students the opportunity to explore their identities both in the classroom and the world as they become curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. This year The Samantha Smith Challenge is being organized locally by Syracuse Stage. Working alongside Syracuse Stage teaching artists, students will examine problems in their community, research the issues, and use art as a medium to express or demonstrate their solutions. Through a collaboration between Stage’s teaching artists and your school’s teachers, students will create art projects designed to show how they want to change the world. A collection of all of these projects will be showcased for the public and community leaders. The program aims to increase student empathy and examine perspective, leading students to a better understanding of their community. The Samantha Smith Day Celebration at Syracuse Stage on Tuesday, May 19th, 2020.




elements of drama PLOT

What is the story line? What happened before the play started? What do the characters want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose? THEME

What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion? CHARACTER

Who are the people in the story? What are their relationships? Why do they do what they do? How does age/status/etc. effect them? LANGUAGE

What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do they say it? MUSIC

How do music and sound help to tell the story? SPECTACLE

Any piece of theatre comprises multiple art forms. As you explore this production with your students, examine the use of:



At its core, drama is about characters working toward goals and overcoming obstacles. Ask students to use their bodies and voices to create characters who are: very old, very young, very strong, very weak, very tired, very energetic, very cold, very warm. Have their characters interact with others. Give them an objective to fulfill despite environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles effected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

How do the elements come together to create the whole performance?

Other Elements: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-Verbal Communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern and Repetition, Emotion, Point of View.


How are each of these elements used in this production? Why are they used? How do they help to tell the story?


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elements of design LINE can have length, width, texture, direction,

and curve. There are five basic varieties: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag. SHAPE is two-dimensional and encloses space.

It can be geometric (e.g. squares and circles), man-made, or free-form. FORM is three-dimensional. It encloses space

and fills space. It can be geometric (e.g. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form. COLOR has three basic properties:

HUE is the name of the color (e.g. red, blue, green), INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull), VALUE is the range of lightness to darkness.

TEXTURE refers to the “feel” of an object’s surface. It can be smooth, rough, soft, etc. Textures may be ACTUAL (able to be felt) or IMPLIED (suggested visually through the artist’s technique).




SPACE is defined and determined by shapes and forms. Positive space is enclosed by shapes and forms, while negative space exists around them.

Sources John Lewis - March from Selma to Montgomery, “Bloody Sunday,” 1965. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/eyewitness/html.php?section=2 Zacharek, S., Dockterman, E., & Edwards, H. S. (n.d.). TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers. Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https:// time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/ McCallum, K. (2016, June 10). Muhammad Ali’s Advocacy for Parkinson’s Disease Endures with... Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https://parkinsonsnewstoday.com/2016/06/10/muhammad-alis-advocacy-parkinsons-disease-endures-boxing-legacy/ Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction. (2009, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/muhammad-ali-refuses-armyinduction Zinn Education Project, Radical Cram School, & New York Times. (n.d.). Robert Shetterly’s Americans Who Tell The Truth. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/ Walking with the Wind. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Walking-with-the-Wind/John-Lewis/9781476797717 Michals, D. (n.d.). Sojourner Truth. Retrieved February 3, 20AD, from https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/sojourner-truth


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Educational Outreach at Syracuse Stage Children’s Tour


Each fall, the Bank of America Children’s Tour brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. Each performance is fully staged with scenery, costumes, and sound. You need only provide the stage, cafeteria, classroom, or any open space. Performances include a talkback with the actors and our helpful study guide for further classroom exploration. Pre- or postshow sessions with our talented teaching artists can be arranged upon request.

Each winter, the Backstory program brings history to life as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. Previous presentations have included historical figures such as Anne Frank; Ace, a Tuskegee Airman; and Annie Easley a human computer for NASA.

YAC: Young Adult Council

Each spring, Syracuse Stage invites Central New York high school students to write original ten-minute plays and other performance pieces for entry in our annual Young Playwrights Festival contest. Our panel of theatrical and literary professionals evaluates each student’s play. Semifinalists are invited to a writing workshop at Syracuse Stage where their plays will be read and critiqued. Finalists will see their plays performed as staged readings by Syracuse University Department of Drama students at the annual Young Playwrights Festival. The festival is free and open to the public. The 2019 season was our largest year to date with 365 entries.

THE YOUNG ADULT COUNCIL (YAC) at Syracuse Stage seeks to give teens a voice in the programming designed for them while exploring how theatre impacts their lives. The program focuses on peer led discussion and events in addition to advocating for theatre and arts participation to fellow students. YAC is a group of high school students from the Central New York area that meets bi-monthly to create and implement pre-show events that will help inspire the next generation of theatregoers. YAC members can also take advantage of opportunities to learn from professional theatre artists at Syracuse Stage and through workshops, internships, and shadow programs.

Young Playwrights Festival

Summer Youth Theatre Experience Theatre for the Very Young Enter into a world of discovery, fun, and all silly sounds. Theatre for the Very Young is our touring series of our youngest audience members and their families.




Come and play with professional teaching artists of Syracuse Stage as we dive into the magical world of creativity and performance. This is a four-week program for middle school students. Visit https://www.syracusestage.org/summerprograms.php

MAR 11 - 29

By Reginald Rose | Directed by James Still Co-Produced with Indiana Repertory Theatre

By Peter Shaffer | Directed by Robert Hupp Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama


NOV 22 - JAN 5



Music by Alan Menken | Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice | Book by Linda Woolverton | Directed by Donna Drake Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama

JAN 22 - FEB 16


By Sarah DeLappe | Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson | Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama



Book by Enda Walsh | Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová | Based on the Motion Picture Written and Directed by John Carney | Directed by Mark Cuddy Co-Produced with Geva Theatre Center

MAY 27 - JUN 14



OCT 9 - 27

SEP 4 - 21


By Keenan Scott II | In association with Brian Moreland and Ron Simons | Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III | Co-Produced with Baltimore Center Stage

APR 1 - 5



Playwright-In-Residence Octavio Solis Solo Performer-In-Residence Bill Bowers Featured Local Playwright Charles Martin Curated by Kyle Bass

By Dipika Guha Directed by Robert Hupp




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Profile for Syracuse Stage

Backstory Study Guide  

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