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Study Guide Contents 3.) Production Information 4.) Introduction 5.) Letter from the Education Director 6.) Meet the Playwright 7.) Characters 8.) Synopsis 9.) Writing Styles 10.) Glossary 11.) Elements of Teaching Theatre 13.) Questions

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

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Robert Hupp Artistic Director Jill A. Anderson Managing Director Kyle Bass Associate Artistic Director P R E S E N T S I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H A C T O R S T H E AT R E O F L O U I S V I L L E A N D P O R T L A N D C E N T E R S TA G E

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The Magic Play was originally commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company and produced in a developmental production in Goodman Theatre’s 2014 New Stages Festival and received its World Premiere at Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois on October 21, 2016 Robert Falls, Artistic Director Roche Schulfer, Executive Director April 25 - May 13, 2018

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Welcome!

A few reminders...

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 cellphones should be switched off completely. No texting or tweeting, please. When students give their full attention to the action on the stage, they will be rewarded with the best performance possible.

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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.

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).

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.

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.

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Dear Educator, Live theatre is a place for people to gather and experience the joys, triumphs, and sorrows life has to offer. The Syracuse Stage education department is committed to providing the tools to make learning in and through the arts possible to address varied learning styles and to make connections to curricula and life itself. It is our goal in the education department to maximize the theatre experience for our education partners with experiential learning and indepth arts programming. Thank you for your interest and support. Sincerely,

Kate Laissle Interim Director of Education

2017/2018 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, Word to the World, Backstory, Young Adult Council, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our comunity.

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meet the playwright

Andrew Hinderaker’s plays include Suicide Incorporated, Kingsville, Dirty, I Am Going to Change the World, and Colossal. He also was writer on the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. He is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and an ensemble member at Chicago’s Gift Theatre. Hinderaker holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I’m as influenced by Dumb & Dumber as I am by Chekhov and McPherson. I’m the guy who groans when rehearsal’s inevitably scheduled during the Final Four. My work is approachable, and so am I.”

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Characters Brett Schneider as the Magician in The Magic Play at the Olney Theatre Center. (Stan Barouh)

The Magician: a stage magician performing a magic shoe, which is interrupted by the appearance of—and the Magician’s memories of—the Diver and Another Magician

Another Magician: An older magician performing in a Reno, Nevada, casino.

The Diver: A mysterious figure from the magician’s past.

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SYNOPSIS The Setting: A magic show. But like a good magic trick, there’s more than initially meets the eye. Plot Summary: A successful magic takes the stage to perform card tricks and share personal anecdotes, under the illusion that he’s in control. But this time, the deck might be stacked against him. For there are some memories that, once conjured, can’t be made to disappear—and sometimes sleight of hand can’t summon the magic we need the most. Filled with surprising twists and dazzling spectacle, The Magic Play is an exhilarating and poignant exploration of love, loss, and the importance of letting go.

PHOTO: LIZ LAUREN

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Brett Schneider stars as The Magician. (PHOTO: STAN BAROUH)


Writing Styles

Narrative: In The Magic Play, the Magician’s act is interrupted by the Diver and Another Magician, whose presence radically changes the direction of the Magician’s carefully planned routine. The Diver and the Father appear in both memories and in fantasy projections created by the Magician’s imagination. How do memories, the things that we imagine, and the stories we create for ourselves impact our lives? Write a short story in which a character’s current actions are interrupted by a memory or fantasy. How does the memory or fantasy enhance or change the actions of the central character? Informative: Write a review of the performance of The Magic Play that you saw at Syracuse Stage. What parts of the play (the actors’ performances, the set, props, costumes, lighting and sound design, etc.) were your favorites and why? How effective were these elements in telling the story? Back up your claims with evidence and details from your experience of watching the performance.

HARRY A. WINTER AS THE FATHER. (PHOTO: STAN BAROUH)

Argumentative: There is a long-standing tradition of magicians closely guarding the secrets of their performances. Yet many performers have made a career out of revealing these secrets against the wishes of their fellow performers. In The Magic Play, The Magician says, “There’s a reason magicians so carefully guard their secrets. It’s not because they’re sacred. It’s because they’re ugly and crude.” He argues that secrecy protects the beauty of the illusion. Where do you stand in this argument? Do you want to know a magician’s secrets, even if it means that the illusion is ruined for them and others? Or do you value the magician’s code of secrecy? What is gained, and what might be lost, from learning how an illusion is performed? In an essay, argue for your position on the worth of a magician’s code of secrecy or the value of exposing the tricks up a magician’s sleeve.

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Glossary Act: A magician’s performance, the standard tricks and illusions performed in a magician’s signature style. Agency: The capacity of people to make their own decision and choices. Blueprints: The design plans for the production of an object. Cliché: a word or phrase that has lost meaning or relevance due to overuse.

Hack: A worker unskilled at a particular task. Hustler: A person who uses deceitful or dishonest methods to earn money. Illusion: In magic, a performance that is believed to be accomplished through deception.

Conjure: To call upon a spirit to appear.

Lake Tahoe: A large freshwater lake on the border of Nevada and California, about an hour outside of Reno, Nevada.

Craps: A casino game where gamblers bet on the outcome of rolled dice.

Mangling Your Pass: A term for messing up, derived from football.

Cut: Dividing a deck of cards, often used to stifle the deck.

Manipulative: Influencing the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes.

Dai Vernon: A Canadian magician known as “The Professor,” who is famous for his ability with sleightof-hand magic. Dai Vernon’s relationship with his son parables the magician’s relationship with his father.

MGM: A casino in Las Vegas.

Dupe: To deceive or cause someone to believe something that is untrue. Duplicate: To create an identical copy of an object. Face: The side of a card with a character on it, such as the Jack, Queen, and King.“Face” can also be used to describe the character or number side of any card. Facility:The ease of being able to do something well.

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Gig: A short-term job, often used to describe a oneoff event or performance.

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Misleading: Giving a wrong or false impression. Plant: An audience member known to the performer, who has agreed to fulfill specific tasks during a show. Patter: The scripted, fast-paced speech by a performer during a routine, often used to distract the audience. Raising the claim: When a magician adds to the promise of how the trick will end, often making seemingly impossible or risky claims that raise the audience’s expectations.

Reno: Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is the second-largest city in Nevada. Like Las Vegas, it’s known for its casinos, gambling, and stage shows. Scheming: Making secret, often underhanded plans. Self-Working: A trick in which a magician follows a set procedure, often speaking the steps of the trick aloud to the audience. Self-working tricks are often based on a mathematical principle of how cards in a standard deck will repeat if the deck is cut. Sleight-of-Hand: Fine motor skills used by magicians to perform close-up magic, especially card tricks. Slots: Slang for a slot machine, a coin or token operated gambling machine. Standard Deck: A set of playing cards containing 52 cards, divided into four suits, and labled numbers 2-10, Jack Queen, King, and Ace. Suit: A category of cards. There are four suits in a standard deck of cards: Clubs, Spades, Diamonds, and Hearts.Traditionally, Clubs and Spades are black, and Diamonds and Hearts are red. Trials: In sports, the pre-competition matches that decide which athletes will proceed in the competition. Trick Deck: A set of cards that has been altered by a magician for use in sleight-of-hand magic. Warm-Up: Stretches and exercises completed before beginning a work or athletic competition.


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. affect 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

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 & Repetition, Emotion, Point of view.

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

WRITING VISUAL ART/DESIGN MUSIC/SOUND DANCE/MOVEMENT

activity

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 affected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

INQUIRY

How are each of these art forms 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.

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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.


Pre-show Questions:

Post-show Questions:

1. The Magic Play is not a typical stage production; it blends elements of a magic show with a traditional theatrical performance. Volunteers may be asked to join the Magician onstage, and sometimes the Magician will ask for your help in putting on the show in other ways. However, there will be times the show plays out as a more traditional production. How do you expect these different ways of engaging with the story to be communicated to the audience? How will a participatory element change your experience at the theater?

1. Spoiler alert! The final illusion in the play is improvised by the Magician in every performance; the volunteer from the audience is not a plant, and their requested magic trick is unique to them. The Magician must enact a potentially impossible trick at the whim of the audience. During your performance, what trick was requested? Was it a real piece of magic or an impossible wish? Was the magic successful at accomplishing the trick, or did it fall flat? How did the final illusion impact the performance? How does the knowledge that the trick is improvised change your impression of the show?

2. The Magician begins The Magic Play by asking the audience to turn off their phones and clarifies his request by stating, “If you have all now turned off your phones…You’re saying that whatever’s about to happen will be worth being unreachable.” In our tech-driven world, being without your phone can seem very challenging, even if it’s only temporary. What are the benefits of putting down your phone at the theater, and why is it so hard for some people? Can you imagine ways that cell phones could be par of the performance, and not a distraction?

2. A magic show asks the audience to take a leap of faith and put their trust in the performer, but as the Magician notes, the audience has “no reason to trust me.” In The Magic Play, the audience sees the relationships between the Magician and the Diver, and the Magician and the Other Magician, from different characters’ perspectives. Who did you end up trusting and why? Did you believe that the Magician was always trustworthy?

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THE THREE MUSKETEERS ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS | BY CATHERINE BUSH | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP CO-PRODUCED WITH THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA

NEXT TO NORMAL MUSIC BY TOM KITT | BOOK AND LYRICS BY BRIAN YORKEY | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP | CHOREOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY SALATINO | MUSICAL DIRECTION BY BRIAN CIMMET

JANUARY 24 - FEBRUARY 11

SEPTEMBER 20 – OCTOBER 8

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME BY SIMON STEPHENS | ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY MARK HADDON DIRECTED BY RISA BRAININ CO-PRODUCED WITH INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 12

THE WIZARD OF OZ BY L. FRANK BAUM | WITH MUSIC AND LYRICS FROM THE MGM MOTION PICTURE SCORE BY HAROLD ARLEN AND E. Y. HARBURG WITH BACKGROUND MUSIC BY HERBERT STOTHART | BOOK ADAPTATION BY JOHN KANE FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SCREENPLAY | DIRECTED BY DONNA DRAKE CHOREOGRAPHY BY 2 RING CIRCUS MUSICAL DIRECTION BY BRIAN CIMMET CO-PRODUCED WITH THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA

A RAISIN IN THE SUN BY LORRAINE HANSBERRY | DIRECTED BY TIMOTHY DOUGLAS | CO-PRODUCED WITH INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

FEBRUARY 21 – MARCH 11

NEW FOR 17/18

COLD READ: A FESTIVAL OF HOT NEW PLAYS APRIL 5 - 8

THE MAGIC PLAY BY ANDREW HINDERAKER | DIRECTED BY HALENA KAYS | CO-PRODUCED WITH THE ACTORS THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE & PORTLAND CENTER STAGE

APRIL 25 – MAY 13

NOVEMBER 29 – JANUARY 7

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