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STUDY GUI D E


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

TEACHING

THEATRE

“Theatre brings life to life.” Zelda Fichandler

Founding Artistic Director Arena Stage, Washington DC

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hen the first cave-dweller got up to tell a story, theatre began. Almost every culture has some sort of live performance tradition to tell stories. Television and film may have diminished the desire for access to theatre, but they have not diminished the importance. Live theatre gives each audience member an opportunity to connect with the performers in a way he/she never could with Tom Cruise or Lindsay Lohan. The emotions can be more intense because the events are happening right in front of the audience. In the classroom, theatre can be an effective teaching tool. The New York State Teaching Standards value students’ observation of and participation in theatrical performances, both in traditional settings and classroom exercises. Throughout this Study Guide, you will find activities relating to this season’s productions that fulfill NYS Standards in The Arts, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science In many ways, a classroom teacher is much like an actor on stage. He/She has an audience (students), a script (lesson plan), props (visual aids), and scenery (the classroom itself ). Both theatre and teaching rely heavily on the interplay between performer and audience, each feeding off one another’s energy and responses. The roles are reversed when a student is asked to read aloud from a text, present materials to the class, or improvise a scenario to reinforce understanding of a topic. Thus, theatre provides both an opportunity to teach and the means to do so. We at Syracuse Stage hope that this Study Guide will help you discover a multitude of possibilities for integrating this season’s productions into your lesson plans. We encourage you to delve deep into our plays with your students: examining not just the story and its themes, but also the manner in which it is told — the casting, visual design, sound design, movement and choreography, and dialogue. If we can be of any further assistance toward this end, please feel free to call our Education Department at (315) 443-1150.

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PLANNING YOUR VISIT

PROMPT ARRIVAL gives your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. We ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance. BUSSES should load and unload students on E Genesee St, where red cones will indicate bus-only parking. Please do not block the Centro Bus Stop at the corner. USHERS will escort you to your seats. We request that teachers and chaperones distribute themselves among the students, and help us to keep students in their seats once seated. BACKPACKS, cameras, food, and drink are not allowed into the theatre, nor can we store them. Please leave these items at school or on the bus. PHOTOGRAPHS or video taken from the audience can be illegal, disruptive, and sometimes dangerous. These devices, including cell phones, will be confiscated. SNACKS & SODA, whenever possible, will be available during intermission for $1. These are to be consumed in the lobby only. RESTROOMS are located in the main lobby, but please only allow students to exit during a performance in the case of an emergency. 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, texting, etc).


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

1.

2.

Any piece of theatre is comprised of multiple art forms. As you explore a play with your students, examine the use of:

WRITING (see below) VISUAL ART/DESIGN (see next page) MUSIC/SOUND DANCE/MOVEMENT INQUIRY

TEACHING

THEATRE

NYS STANDARDS: ARTS

How were each of these art forms used in the play that you attended? Why were they used? How did they help to tell the story?

Most (but not all) plays begin with a script — a story to be told and a blueprint of how to tell it. In his famous treatise, The Poetics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle outlined SIX ELEMENTS OF DRAMA that playwrights are mindful of to this day:

PLOT

THEME

What is the story line? What happened before the play started? What does each character want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose? What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion on those questions, or leave it to the audience to decide?

CHARACTER

Who are the people in the story? What is their relationship to one another? Why do they do what they do? How do their age/status/etc affect them?

LANGUAGE

What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do they say it? Do they speak to one character differently than another? Why?

MUSIC SPECTACLE

How do music and sound help to tell this story? What visual elements support the play? This could include: puppets, scenery, costumes, dance, movement, and more.

ACTIVITY

NYS STANDARDS: ARTS, ELA

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 one another. Give them an objective to fulfil despite their environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their character and the pursuit of his/her objectives. 2


3.

TEACHING

THEATRE

LINE SHAPE

SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

Most plays utilize designers to create the visual world of the play through scenery, costumes, lighting, and more. These artists use the following PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN to communicate information about the world within the play and its characters.

can have length, width, texture, direction and curve. There are 5 basic varieties: verticle, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag. is two-dimensional and encloses space. It can be geometric (eg. squares and circles), man-made, or free-form.

FORM

is three-dimensional. It encloses space and fills space. It, too, can be geometric (eg. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form.

SPACE

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

COLOR

TEXTURE

has 3 basic properties: HUE is the name of the color (eg. red, blue, green) INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull) VALUE is the lightness or darkness of the color 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).

INQUIRY

NYS STANDARDS: ARTS, ELA

Whether your students are observing a piece of visual art like a painting or a piece of performance art like a play, allow them first to notice the basic elements, then encourage them to look deeper into why these elements are used in a particular manner. 1. What do you see? Line, shape, form, etc. 2. What else do you see? A chance to look deeper 3. What’s going on? What is happening in the artwork? 4. Why do you say that? What evidence do you have?

Woman and Bird Before the Moon (1944) Joan Miro

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Three Musicians (1921) Pablo Picasso


SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

DRAMA Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director

Timothy Bond

Jeffrey Woodward

Producing Artistic Director

Managing Director

Maria Marrero Department Chair

PRESENT

LITTLE WOMEN MUSIC BY

KIM OLER LYRICS BY

ALISON HUBBARD BOOK BY

SEAN HARTLEY BASED ON THE NOVEL BY

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT DIRECTED & CHOREOGRAPHED BY

ANTHONY SALATINO MUSIC DIRECTION BY

DIANNE ADAMS McDOWELL

NOVEMBER 24 - DECEMBER 27 What we cherish most — family, sacrifice, determination, hope and love – never goes out of style. All of Louisa May Alcott’s classic characters are here: warm and loving Marmee, vivacious Amy, sweet and dreamy Meg, tender-hearted Beth, handsome and charming Laurie, Aunt March, Professor Bhaer and of course the passionate and funny Jo. Brimming with 20 beautiful songs, this new musical captures all the struggle, romance and deep emotions of Alcott’s beloved tale. Celebrate your holidays with the March family. 4


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

ABOUT THE

PLAY

FROM PAGE TO STAGE A 141-year-old classic finds a new beginning

Rarely does a new play, even a new adaptation of an old favorite, shoot straight from the playwright’s pen to a Broadway stage. Instead, its path usually includes readings, workshops, and any number of re-writes. Composer Kim Oler and lyricist Alison Hubbard began working on Little Women over ten years ago. After various setbacks and false starts, they set aside the project in favor of other collaborations until 2003, when they met librettist Sean Hartley, who encouraged them to revist it. In 2004 their adaptation of Little Women, with Hartley’s new book, had its first workshop run at a small theatre in Maine. The following year it was featured in the York Theatre Company (NYC) Developmental Reading Series, and in 2006 was workshopped in Norwich, CT. Workshops serve a valuable purpose in the development of a new play. By closely watching rehearsals and performances, writers are able to identify elements of their play that need improvement without the high expectations and costs that accompany a full-length public run. In 2007, Syracuse University workshopped Little Women through their New Play Workshop Program, spearheaded by Assistant Professor Marie Kemp. Oler, Hubbard, and Hartley spent time working with SU Drama students and faculty in a mutually-beneficial development process. Almost three years later, Syracuse Stage and SU Drama welcome back this version of Little Women, featuring several of the actors who originally workshopped it in 2007.

Photos: Top, lyricist Alison Hubbard and composer Kim Oler; Bottom, librettist Sean Hartley

• • • OTHER ADAPTATIONS OF LITTLE WOMEN • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Little Women has inspired over a dozen adaptations for film and television, first as a silent film in 1917, and most recently in 1994 with a star-studded cast including Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon. Perhaps the most widely-known film adaptations came in 1933, starring Katharine Hepburn, and in 1949, featuring Elizabeth Taylor. A 1978 television movie starred Meredith Baxter Birney (Family Ties), Susan Dey (The Partridge Family) and William Shatner. As a stage play, Little Women first appeared on Broadway in 1912 and was later revived in 1916, 1931, and 1934. In 1995, a play called Louisa’s Little Women debuted in Chicago, interspersing scenes from the classic tale with the events in Louisa May Alcott’s life that provided her inspiration. In 1998, composer Mark Adamo created an opera version of Little Women, which ran at Syracuse Opera in May, 2009. The 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March by Geraldine Brooks explores the gaps in Alcott’s story, primarily imagining Mr. March’s experiences at war. Geraldine Brooks will be speaking at the Syracuse Civic Center on November 10, 2009 through the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series. For more information, visit www.ocpl.lib.ny.us/cnyreads.htm. 5


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

ABOUT THE NOVELIST

ABOUT THE

PLAY

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT “I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die – see if I won’t!” – Louisa May Alcott

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In 1851 Alcott published her first poem at the age of sixteen. She paused from writing when, in 1862, she felt compelled to help the Union efforts in the Civil War. Women could not serve in the Army, so instead she nursed the wounded in Washington, DC. There she contracted Typhoid fever and her treatment, though successful, resulted in mercury poisoning which permanently affected her health.

ouisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832 to Abigail May, a decendent of Judge Samuel Sewell (who presided over the infamous Salem witch trials) and Amos Bronson Alcott, a teacher who dabbled in writing and philosophy. When Louisa was two years old, the family moved to Boston, where her father established the Temple School. He was a progressive educator who believed in colorblind enrollment and open dialogue between students and teachers. Ultimately, though, the school failed and in 1840 the Alcotts relocated to nearby Concord, Massachusetts, where Alcott would later set her novel Little Women.

Alcott’s war experience inspired Hospital Sketches (1863), her first literary success. Shortly thereafter, she was hired as an editor for Merry’s Museum, a magazine for girls. Impressed by her ability to write for young women, publisher Thomas Niles suggested that Alcott write a novel for that audience. One year later, in 1868, she published Little Women. It was a major success, the defining work of her career, and spawned three sequels: Good Wives (1869), Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys (1871), and Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out (1886).

Louisa, like her fictionalized self Jo, had three sisters and was an unashamed tomboy. “No

boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race,” she once said, “and no girl if she refused to climb trees.” Her mind got an equal share of exercise. She wrote stories and plays which the family performed for one another. She loved to read, and often studied with famous family friends Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Later in life, Alcott fought for women’s suffrage. She was a frequent contributor to the Women’s Journal, encouraging women to demand voting rights. She herself was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts. She said, “I like to help people help

Louisa’s parents instilled in their children values of freedom and fairness, and were outspoken advocates of women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery. In 1847 the Alcotts even housed a runaway slave for one week.

themselves... whatever we can do and do well we have a right to, and I don’t think anyone will deny us!”

Though rich in ideals, the Alcotts were not wealthy. Louisa, feeling responsible for her family, took odd jobs: teaching, sewing, and working as a domestic servant. She said, “I will do something by and by. Don’t care what:

Louisa May Alcott published over thirty novels and collections of stories before dying on March 6, 1888 at age 56, just two days after visiting her father on his deathbed. She is buried in the town she loved: Concord, Massachusetts.

teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family.”

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

ABOUT THE

PLAY

Excerpts from

REFLECTIONS OF OURSELVES IN LITTLE WOMEN By Allison Trombley Stages St. Louis

W

hen Little Women was written, Louisa May Alcott gave audiences one of the greatest protagonists found in American literature. Jo March was as much a heroine for young girls when the book was published in 1868, as she is for audiences today [...] In the 19th century, novels for young girls, which Little Women was considered, existed as morality tales for the purpose of teaching lessons about right and wrong. Louisa May Alcott gave us some of these traditional elements in the plot of Little Women, but she also introduced a character who questioned the status quo, railed against expectations, and wanted to live a life that was truly independent.

their wives, ensuring a certain amount of financial stability which was not easily attainable on one’s own. Getting married was expected of young women, as was having a family. A woman’s place was in the home, where they were expected to run the day-to-day operations of the household and teach the children to behave properly and morally. The home was a safe haven from the rest of the world, and it was the woman’s role to nurture and provide for the family emotionally. Jo dismisses Laurie’s proposal in favor of following her own heart, but in doing so, she also gives up comfort and security. Surprisingly, there is no judgment placed on the traditional roles of

Jo March was a new kind of character in American literature—one who was not perfect, who didn’t always know the answers, and who just wanted to be herself, no matter what the consequences [...]

In the 19th century, marriage was not always about love; it was a matter of practicality, and most women married out of necessity. Women did not receive the same rights under the law as men; property and professions were difficult to come by. Husbands provided for

women by Jo; in fact she has a great amount of respect for her mother and her sisters. Jo, however, wants more options. She does not want her experiences to be limited based on others’ expectations. Though she does marry the professor in the end, she does it

for love, not just for security. It is this distinction which makes Little Women feel so contemporary: the idea that women have choices and can follow their heart when making decisions. One does not have to give up everything, but there is a price to individuality. Eventually, Jo finds where she belongs by being true to herself. We love Jo March because we see ourselves in her. Her story is our own. She faces difficult choices, and almost everything seems to involve a sacrifice. But in the end, her path also leads to great rewards and she finds happiness and success. She is a truly American character who struggles with balancing the need to be an individual with the desire to belong, a paradox that helped define the American spirit. Jo is a heroine for the ages, a character whom we will always cheer for, and one we will always celebrate. When Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, she not only changed women’s fiction, she also changed our idea of what it meant to be a woman. That is why we love Little Women; we love the character of Jo March.

Allison Trombley is a teaching artist, writer, and publisher. She received Bachelor Degrees from the University of Illinois in Creative Writing and in American Studies. She also holds an MA in American Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, as well as Post Graduate Certification in Publishing from the Norwich School of Art and Design (UK). Trombley has written and produced short films, written for STLtoday.com, and is a citizen journalist who publishes articles on her blog. This article first appeared in the Stages St. Louis Study Guide for Little Women; www.stagesstlouis.com

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

PRE- & POST-SHOW DISCUSSION PROMPTS

BEFORE & AFTER

Pre-Show

Post-Show

WHAT do you imagine life was like in 1863, with no TV, internet, cell phones, and cars? How would you spend your time? How would the lack of technology affect the dynamics of your family?

WHAT were the traditional gender roles imposed upon the sisters by Aunt March and society?

WHAT do you know about the American Civil War? What do you imagine life was like during the war?

WHAT gender roles and expectations still exist today? Do you fit within those or rebel against them? Is it good to have established gender roles, or bad, or in between? In what ways?

HOW did the sisters break or bend those rules?

WHAT do you imagine dating was like in the 1860’s? Marriage?

HOW do each of the March girls change and grow throughout the course of the play? How do the male characters change and grow?

DO YOU have a family member in the armed forces? Have they served in active combat? How did/would it feel while they’re away? HAVE YOU read the novel Little Women? Which parts are you excited to see on stage? Which parts could be hard to put on stage?

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

CONTEXT: THE

CIVIL WAR

A HOUSE DIVIDED

Only eighty-five years after the American Revolution, the infant nation was torn in two. The causes of the Civil War are a complex web still debated by historians. What follows is a very brief look at our nation’s descent into war, which should be supplemented with the resources provided on page 26, your classroom text, and open-minded discussions. ECONOMICS From 1840 to 1857, America enjoyed a great economic boom. The nation grew, adopting new states and territories. Railroads and canals provided infrastructure while an expanding postal service and the newly-invented telegraph improved communication. Meanwhile, economic differences between northern and southern states became more pronounced. The northern economy was driven by manufacturing and investment, while southern states relied on agriculture, an industry that had become reliant on slave labor. In 1857 the bubble burst on this era of prosperity. The recession hit hardest in the areas of manufacturing and investing. As a result, the North took longer to recover than the agrarian South, leading to feelings of resent in the North and superiority in the South. POLITICS In the early nineteenth century, two parties dominated American politics: the Democrats, who largely controlled the South, and the Whigs, who were rooted in the North. Not all Democrats were pro-slavery, but most recognized its importance to their home-state economies. Many Whigs

opposed slavery ethically but tolerated it politically for fear of being labelled Abolitionists, who at the time many considered to be extremists. The anti-slavery movement was growing, however, and many Northerners were displeased with the Whig party’s fence-straddling. Several small parties emerged, but it was the Republican party that became the new polticial face of the North. As new states joined the union, the question arose as to whether or not slavery should be allowed in them. It was a political battle: newly-added free states brought voting power to the North; conversely, states allowing slavery would almost certainly vote with the South. In 1820 Congress passed the Missouri Compromise. It allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state, but required that in future disputes, states north of Missouri’s southern border would be free states, and those south of that line would allow slavery. In 1854, however, Congress repealed the Missouri Compromise and decided to allow settlers of Kansas and Nebraska to vote on the issue of slavery. The Supreme Court upheld the repeal 9

in the 1857 Dred Scot v. Sanford decision. They stated that slaves were not American citizens but rather private property, and since the federal government cannot seize property, it cannot outlaw slavery in any single states. SECESSION Talk of secession began as early as 1800, but it was little more than talk. Interestingly, it was Northerners who first considered separating, but that sentiment subsided in the North while it blossomed in the South. In the 1856 presidential campaign, Southern governors held secret conventions to discuss the possibility of secession should the Republican candidate John Fremont win. He did not, but the next four years only heightened tensions between North and South. By the next election it seemed certain that if Republican Abraham Lincoln were elected, secession would be inevitable. Southern states began to organize militias and prepare for war. Of course, Lincoln won, and in the following months eleven states seceeded from the union to form the Confederate States of America, led by their president Jefferson Davis. The American Civil War had begun.


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

CONTEXT:

“THIS IS CHRISTMAS EVE BUT SEEMS LITTLE LIKE IT TO ME...”

At the beginning of Little Women, Mr. March is away at war, serving as a chaplain. WHAT IS A CHAPLAIN? A chaplain is an ordained religious figure such as a priest or rabbi who serves to counsel soldiers, be with them in death or injury, and to raise morale in general. This tradition can be traced to ancient Roman times, when top military leaders would also carry out religious functions.

THE

CIVIL WAR

The March girls spend Christmas without their father. Below, excerpts from actual holiday letters during the Civil War. “Christmas Eve, and I am on duty as officer of the day, but I am not on duty to-morrow... I give my company a Christmas dinner to-morrow, consisting of turkey, oysters, pies, apples, etc.; no liquors.” December 24, 1861, Captain Robert Goldthwaite Carter, 22nd Mass. Vol. Inf. 4th U.S. Cavalry

“This is Christmas Eve but seems little like it to me... Had an egg-nog tonight but did not enjoy it much as we had no ladies to share it with us.” December 24-25, 1861, Private Robert A. Moore, Confederate Army

In the Civil War, an estimated 3,000 chaplains served in the Union Army, and about 70 died in battle. In previous wars, chaplains were generally expected to fight, but the Civil War marked a shift in attitude. Chaplains, uniformed in black coats and hats, came to be considered noncombatant military personnel, similarly to field medics. It was also the first time a large number of Jewish, African American, and Native American chaplains were enlisted.

“This is Christmas, and my mind wanders back to that home made lonesome by my absence... I think of the many lives that are endangered, and hope that the time will soon come when peace, with its innumerable blessings, shall once more restore our country to happiness and prosperity.”

Today, chaplains still accompany military forces on dangerous missions across the world. Below, the seal of the US Army Chaplain Corps, bearing a Latin phrase meaning, “For God and country.”

December 25, year unknown, Tally Simpson

December 25, 1864, J. C. Williams, 14th Vermont Infantry

“This is Christmas Day...When will this war end? Will another Christmas roll around and find us all wintering in camp? Oh! That peace may soon be restored to our young but dearly beloved country and that we may all meet again in happiness.”

Civil War Christmas by Thomas Nast, depicting a family separated by war with the words “Christmas Eve” at top; originally appeared in Harper’s Weekly, January, 1863.

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

CONTEXT:

SOCIETY

GENDER ROLES

While the seeds of the Civil War were quietly being planted, America enjoyed a great era of economic prosperity (see page 22). A wealthy upper-class emerged, hungry to flaunt itself to the world. The young nation, however, had yet to establish itself culturally. Instead, the well-to-do took their cues from England, where the Victorian Era was in full swing.

N

amed for and occuring simultaneous to the reign of Queen Victoria of England, this era was a time of great progress in science, technology, medicine, and art. Today it is best known as a time of stringent rules and prescribed manners. The Queen insisted that public respect for the nobility must be earned by demonstrating prudence and class. This attitude quickly spread on both sides of the Atlantic: first to the nobility, who were imitated by the upper-class, who in turn were imitated by the middle-class. Gender roles were all but written in stone. Books and magazines published reams of rules and advice for young ladies and gentlemen, and those who strayed were considered “lost” or “troubled.” Women were expected to perform all the tasks of the house. They cooked all meals, almost always from scratch since prepared ingredients were not readily available. They made and mended all the family’s clothes, and laundered them by hand, a process that would often take an entire day. Girls assisted with these tasks until they were able to perform them for their own husbands.

Few careers were available for a woman, but if her family needed extra income, she could take small jobs such as sewing, laundering, or tutoring. Women who did not marry usually lived with their parents and worked as schoolteachers or domestic servants – a future that Little Women’s Jo fears for herself. Times were beginning to change, however, after the Civil War. The Women’s Suffrage movement, in which Louisa May Alcott was active, demanded voting rights, and many organized labor unions fought for equal pay between the sexes. Men’s roles were changing, too. A new concept emerged: “the self-made man.” With the rise of large cities and industry, educated men who left home to make their own way earned a newfound respect. INQUIRY

ARTS, SOC. STUD, ELA

How are gender roles portrayed in Little Women? Which characters represent the Victorian ideals? Which ones represent the change toward assertive women and the self-made man? Are there any expectations of women in today’s society? How about men?

THE VICTORIAN LADY ...should be quiet in her manners, natural and unassuming in her language, careful to wound no one’s feelings... Her dress must be of silk, or other goods suitable to the season, or to her position, but must be of quiet colors and plainly worn. Costly cashmeres, very rich furs, and diamonds... are to be forbidden a young unattached lady. THE VICTORIAN GENTLEMAN ...is one who never inflicts pain. Carefully avoids all clashing of opinion... or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment. He is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd. He never speaks of himself except when compelled. From www.victorianstation.com

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

FINDING LOVE I

n the Victorian Era, marriage was often considered more of a career move than a romantic pursuit. With marriage, the husband would generally receive land or money from his wife’s family; the wife would receive a steady source of income from her husband. Thus, courtship was taken very seriously and even the act of casual dating was underscored with thoughts of marriage.

Above, rules and advice for those hosting or attending a ball. From Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society by Richard A. Wells, A.M. (1893).

CONTEXT:

SOCIETY first being introduced. Handholding was only permissible when assisting a lady from a carriage or over rough spots in the road. There was even a designated courtship season – roughly April through July.

Once the couple became engaged, a process that had its own prescribed set of rules, they could visit behind closed doors, hold hands, and kiss, but were still required to part ways by A girl’s “coming out,” usually occur- nightfall. ing at the age of sixteen or seventeen, marked the end of her childhood Compared to modern times, these and the completion of her educa- rules and procedures seem to leave littion. A woman who had come out tle room for true love and individual was fully available for courtship, with expression. But, as Michelle J. Hoppe her mother or another female family writes, member advising her. “...there was true romance and love during the Victorian era. Why else The most common place for a young did samples of heart-rending verses couple to meet was at a ball, like the and flowery cards last through the one depicted in Little Women. These ages for us to ponder and dream were accessible to the lower classes over? Perhaps it was these very conat holidays, and to the upper classes straints and rules that made true more frequently. Attendees would love all the more special to those switch partners nearly every song, givwho found it. For lucky were the ing them ample opportunity to find a ones who found love within their potential spark. If a couple got along class, and within the approval of well, they could arrange to meet again their families. Yet even those marand the courtship process began. riages that did not begin with love, often ended in a deep, endearing Courtship was governed by strict rules attachment that would be envied of propriety. The couple could never by many.” meet in private. A single woman was not to address a gentleman without  Hoppe, Michelle J. “Courting the Victorian Woman.”

<http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article009.html> © 1998.

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

SOURCES

&

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ON THE WEB

ON THE PLAY & PLAYWRIGHT OTHER THEATRICAL STUDY GUIDES http://www.littlewomenonbroadway.com/studyguide.pdf http://www.millikin.edu/kirkland/kirkout/documents/LittleWomenStudyGuide.pdf http://www.stagesstlouis.com/shows/show1/documents/LWStudyGuidepages1-14.pdf http://www.emerson.edu/emersonstage/shows/0809/upload/Little-Women-Web-Study-Guide.pdf ON LOUISA MAY ALCOTT http://www.louisamayalcott.org/ http://www.online-literature.com/alcott/ http://www.empirezine.com/spotlight/alcott/alcott.htm http://www.alcottfilm.com/ TEXT OF THE NOVEL LITTLE WOMEN http://www.online-literature.com/alcott/littlewomen/

ON THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR http://www.civilwar.com/ http://www.civil-war.net/ http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/ http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/subject_matter/social_studies/us_history/civilwar/ http://www.teach-nology.com/themes/social/civilwar/ http://fredericksburg.com/CivilWar/Teaching/ http://www.littlestregular.com/blog/

ON 19TH CENTURY GENDER ROLES http://ncgsjournal.com/ http://www.enotes.com/feminism-literature/women-19th-century http://www.fashion-era.com/a_womans_place.htm http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_social_history/v033/33.4berend.html http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/16/magazine/endpaper-good-housekeeping.html

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09/10

season Timothy Bond, Producing Artistic Director

By Steve Martin

When: October 14 – November 1 Why:

OK. OK. 1904. Paris. Einstein walks into a bar. No. No. Wait. Picasso walks into a bar. No. Hold on. Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar. Yeah! Then what? Then Charles Dabernow Schmendiman walks in, too. Who? Exactly. Then what? Laughter, comedy, absurdity and some delightfully zany musings on the nature of art, science and the twentieth century, as only Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) could render them. Plus a royal visit.

Little Women

Music by Kim Oler Lyrics by Alison Hubbard Book by Sean Hartley Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott When: November 24 – December 27 Why:

What we cherish most—family, sacrifice, determination, hope and love—never goes out of style. All of Louisa May Alcott’s classic characters are here: warm and loving Marmee, vivacious Amy, sweet and dreamy Meg, tender-hearted Beth, handsome and charming Laurie, Aunt March, Professor Bhaer and of course the passionate and funny Jo. Brimming with 20 beautiful songs, this new musical captures all the struggle, romance and deep emotions of Alcott’s beloved tale. Celebrate your holidays with the March family.

..................................... A HOLIDAY SHOW OFF SUBSCRIPTION

This Wonderful Life

A one-man stage adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life Written by Steve Murray Conceived by Mark Setlock When: December 10 – January 3 Why:

Because every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings. Visit Bedford Falls this holiday season for a charming stage telling of Frank Capra’s Hollywood classic. One brave actor plays 32 characters including George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Mary, Martini and Zuzu to bring everyone’s favorite family holiday charmer to wonderful life. Hee-haw.

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The Price By Arthur Miller

When: January 27 – February 14 Why: It’s flat out great drama the way only a modern master like Arthur Miller

can write it. From the author of American classics such as All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible, Miller’s The Price is taut, truthful and deeply engaging, and belongs with the best of his plays. In an overstuffed attic apartment, two long-estranged brothers, one a cop, the other a doctor, agree to meet to sell off what remains of their deceased father’s furniture and find themselves in an emotional renegotiation of the past. Regrets, resentments and recriminations expose the high price each has paid for lost opportunities and lessons learned. A drama of redemptive power.

Lookingglass Alice

By David Catlin Based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll When: February 24 – March 14 Why: In your wildest imaginings, you’ve never imagined Alice’s Adventures in

Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass like this! Staged with endless wit, astonishing physicality, breathtaking aerial acrobatics and theatrical daring, Alice, The Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum and all of Lewis Carroll’s enchanting characters come to dizzyingly, playful, gravity-defying life in a circus-like spectacle sure to amaze kids and adults alike.

Almost, Maine By John Cariani

When: March 24 – April 11 Why:

Because it’s all about love, and like love, it is never what you expect. Meet the people of Almost, Maine, a tiny town so far north Vermont is considered the South. One winter night with the aurora borealis creating celestial enchantment, eight couples fall under the spell of that funny little unpredictable thing called love. By turns touching, comic, warm, gentle and altogether surprising, Almost, Maine is a funny Valentine of a play that will make you smile with your heart.

August Wilson’s

Fences

When: May 5 – 23 Why: Because a true classic always speaks to us anew. Pittsburgh, 1957. Troy

Maxon, ex-ballplayer, complicated African American family man and garbage collector, has lived a life of diminished hopes and abandoned dreams. Now Troy’s talented son, Cory, has hopes and dreams of his own. Will Troy allow his bitterness about the past to poison his son’s promising future? With a view toward a better future, August Wilson’s Fences first posed this dramatic and necessary question 25 years ago . . . and it hits us as hard today.

Lauren Hirte in Lookingglass Alice , Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

LIttle Women  

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