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Study Guide Contents

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

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

3.) Production Information

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

Box Office (315) 443-3275

Written by Len Fonte

4.) Introduction 5.) Letter from the Education Director 6.) About the Play 7.) Breaking World Records 8.) Greek Gods 9.) Electricity! 10.) Bullying & Empathy 11.) Projects 12.) Questions for Discussion 14.) Elements of Teaching Theatre




Robert Hupp Artistic Director Jill A. Anderson Managing Director

College of Visual and Performing Arts Kyle Bass Associate Artistic Director


Ralph Zito Chair, Department of Drama




Kathryn Walat DIRECTED BY

Matt Chiorini MALE VIOLET

Quinn Hemphill



Dominic Martello

Danny Polevoy





Dionna Vereen

Tommy Montgomery

Camille Theriault





Alex Petersen

Lindsey Voorhees

Kevin O’Connor

Rebecca (Bex) Hoi



Greg Mytelka

Nate Coffey

September 18 – December 6, 2018 SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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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.



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.


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 opporutnity for us to connect with more than just our own story, to find outselves in other peoples lives, and grow beyond our own bondaries. We’re the only specices 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 Community Engagement and Education

2018/2019 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 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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About the Play Miss Electricity is the story of a fifth-grade girl named Violet who is determined to show the world, not to mention the kids at school, just how special she is. How can she focus on something like learning the state capitals when she’s trying to become famous? With the help of her assistant Freddy, she sets out to break a world record, any world record, but keeps facing obstacle after obstacle. Frustrated with not being special and facing bullies Connie and Billy, Violet becomes accidentally extraordinary when she is struck by lightning–twice–and gains control over all things electric. Under the name Miss Electricity, Violet zaps her way through circuits, bullies, and schoolwork. But does she really control electricity? Or is maybe Freddy more friend than assistant? With the help of Athena, the goddess of wisdom,Violet learns that being a good friend is special in itself and that maybe her mom does have a point about learning the state captials after all.

Violet - I don’t want to read about gods, I want to be one, Freddy. A goddess. Or a super hero. Or a rock star - a queen bee. Cleopatra! Or a ninja. Or the world’s greatest...! Freddy - Something!




Breaking World Records GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS On 1November 10th, 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries, went on a shooting party in Ireland. After missing a shot at a golden plover, he became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the red grouse (it is the plover. ) That evening, he realized that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe’s fastest game bird. Beaver knew that there must be numerous other similar questions debated nightly throughout the world, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records. He realized then set out to make such a book. Beaver’s idea became reality when Guinness employee Christopher Chataway recommended University friends Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London. The twin brothers were commissioned to write what became he Guinness Book of Records in August 1954. After the founding of The Guinness Book of Records, the first 198 page edition was bound on August 27, 1955 and went to the top of the British best seller Ashrita Furman, holder of the most Guinness World Records, sets a new record by runlists by Christmas. The following year, it launched in the US, and sold 70,000 ning a mile balancing a baseball bat on his hand in the fastest time. copies. Since then, Guinness World Records has gone on to become a record ASHRITA FURMAN breaker in its own right; with sales of more than 100 million copies in 100 different countries and 37 languages, Guinness World Records is the world’s Ashrita Furman has captured the public’s imagination by breaking Guinness World best selling copyrighted book ever. Records under outrageous conditions and in the most exotic places. He currently holds more than 120 Guinness records, including the official record for holding the most records! Since setting his first record of 27,000 jumping jacks in 1979, Ashrita Here are some records to break: has broken more than 300 records overall.

Most leapfrog jumps in one minute by a team of two - 57 Most baked beans eaten with a chopstick in 1 minute - 71

What compels this 56th old health food store manager from Queens, New York, to perform these fantastic feats? “I’m trying to show others that our human capacity is unlimited if we can truly believe in ourselves,” he says. Ashrita maintains that while some of his records may draw more laughter than respect, each one requires a great deal of determination, concentration and fitness. -From https://www.ashrita.com/about/


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Greek Gods

In Miss Electricity, Violet thinks she gains the power to control all things electric. Her friend Freddy suggests that Zeus may have played a part. The ancient Greeks told stories about their gods. These stories are called myths (short for mythology, or stories about gods.) Stories about the ancient Greek gods are still told today. Each storyteller told the stories in their own way, but whatever power and personality a god had was consistent from story to story.





Zeus was the king of all the gods. Zeus ruled the entire universe - no one was mightier than the mighty Zeus. Magically, Zeus was the only god who could throw lightning bolts. He could shape shift, and look like anybody. As king, he had powers that came from being king of all the gods. He was dominating, powerful and could be terrifying when angry. His symbols were the thunderbolts, the eagle, and the scepter, or rod.

Athena was a powerful and popular goddess in ancient Greece. Athena did not have a mother. She was born directly out of Zeus’ brain, which is how she received her remarkable cleverness. She is sometimes also considered the goddess of war because Athena had the power to give skill, courage, and victory in battle to those who deserved it (in her opinion.) The other gods counted on Athena to be fair. Zeus admired Athena for her wisdom, kindness, and understanding. She was very competitive and is often pictured with her helmet and a spear. She carried Zeus’s shield, called the aegis. She is often seen with her bird, the owl.


Electricity! Electricity is the most widely used form of energy. Its uses range from the miniature batteries that operate your phone to huge motors that power trains and ships. Electricity operates our lights, runs our refrigerators and powers motors. It first must be changed to other forms of energy such as heat, light or mechanical to be useful.You can’t see electricity but you can see what it does - like when you turn on a light. Here are some words about electricity you might like to know: Amps The measurement of the flow of an electric current through a conductor. Conductor A substance or material that allows electrons, or electrical current, to flow through it.

Lightning Lightning is pure energy. It can be frightening and dangerous as well as one of nature’s most beautiful displays of power. Lightning is usually associated with thunderstorms. Thunderstorms form as masses of warm air rise up into the atmosphere. Sometimes this activity is matched by the downward movement of heavier, colder air from the atmosphere. As this movement of air is happening, an imbalance of electrons in the clouds occurs as the air particles rub against one another creating friction. Some particles lose electrons and become positively charged (+) and other atoms gain electrons and become negatively charged (-). The exchange of electrons between charged atoms in the cloud attracts positive charges from the ground. When this attraction is strong enough, the electric charge is released in a large rush of voltage, or moving electrons, called lightning. The electricity in your home is supplied by the same type of electron exchange, only its flow is controlled through a conductor.

Circuits A complete or partial path followed by a flow of electric current. Watts A unit for measuring electric power. Volt 1 Kilowatt = 1000 watts. A unit for measuring the force used to produce an elec1 Megawatt = 1,000,000 watts. tric current; the push or force that moves electric current through a conductor.


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Bullying & Empathy

Bullying is very complex and does not just mean a bigger person hitting a smaller person. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, bullying is when a person or student is emotionally or physically harmed by another person or student. Bully behavior includes what is called an “imbalance of power” when a person with more power or social capital, such as being physically stronger or more popular, tries to hurt a person with less power. By doing this the person with more power normally hopes to feel more powerful by taking someone else’s power away. Physical bullying can include hitting, kicking, and shoving. This aggression can either be done in an obvious way, such as in front of a teacher, or in a hidden way, such as hidden on a playground. Emotional bullying can include name calling, using bad words toward a person, gossiping, or excluding people on purpose from games or groups. Almost everyone at some point has both exhibited bullying behavior and had bullying behavior used on them. It is important to focus on empathy as a way to see how our actions can hurt people, even when we don’t mean to.

How can you build empathy? 1. Labeling Feelings: Ask children to describe and label how they might feel in these three different bullying situations: • If they saw someone being bullied • If they were being bullied themselves • If they bullied someone Explain that bullying can lead to strong feelings, such as anger, frustration, and fear. While it’s okay to feel these feelings, it’s never okay to react by doing violent things, such as intentionally hurting someone. Say that if we all work together to prevent and stop bullying, no one in our group will ever need to experience these feelings as a result of bullying.

Prompt students that while at first it might be fun, since we’d all agree on everything, eventually it would get boring. Since we would never try anything new, every race would end in a tie, etc. Explain how the differences among us make our group stronger, more interesting, and better able to do different things. Discuss the fact that bullies may bully other children simply because they are different—they try to make differences seem like bad things or weaknesses, rather than the strengths they are.

Now discuss the many ways children are similar to one another. For example: All children eat, sleep, grow, and have 2. Similar & Different: Discuss the main ways that children feelings. And, most importantly, all children feel hurt when are different from one another. Prompt them with exam- they are bullied. ples, if needed. • Some children are big, and others are small. Summarize by explaining that we should all agree to ap• Some children run fast, and others run slowly. preciate our differences, recognize that no one likes to be • Ask, “What would our group be like if we were all the bullied, and never bully someone simply because he or she is same?” different, stop untrue or harmful messages from spreading. If someone tells you a rumor that you know is untrue or 10



sends you a message that is hurtful to someone else, stand up and let the person know this is wrong. 3. Helping Others Feel Better: First, use these questions to discuss with the group what children can do to help others feel better: • How can you know how someone else feels? Possible answers: Listen to what they say, ask them how they feel, look closely at their face and body, watch what they do • How can we recognize when another child is feeling bad or left out? Possible answers: Making a sad face, not laughing when others laugh, crying, not looking at anyone, playing alone • How can we cheer up children who feel bad and help them feel better? Possible answers: Pay attention to them, pat them on the back, ask them if they’d like to play with you

Create your own characters Explore different ways of making characters like a costume designer does. Think of your favorite character from a book, what do they look like in your mind? What type of clothes do they wear? How do they do their hair? Draw what you think a character looks like, or think of different clothes that Violet and Freddy could wear.

Write a Review After students have outlined the story and discussed the production elements, they can write reviews. Have them read their reviews aloud or post them online for other classes to read and respond. Reviews usually include the following: • • • •

a brief summary of the story comments on the quality of the play itself a description of the costumes and set and a comment on whether these were interesting and appropriate comments on the actors’ character portrayals and on the director’s skill at pulling the whole thing together

Be a Good Friend • Ask the children to think about how Miss Electricity dealt with friendship. Ask what someone in the show did that made him or her a good friend or a bad friend. • Write on the board, “To have good friends, you must be a good friend.” Ask the children to explain that statement and to tell you why they either agree or disagree with it. Ask them to think of ways that good friends treat each other. List their answers on the board and discuss each one. Compare their list with the one on the opposite page. • Divide the class into groups of four or five. Each group’s task is to choose one group member to play the role of a new kid in class. The new kid’s challenge is to try to gain acceptance into the group. After the role-plays, discuss with the class how it felt to be the new kid and how it felt to be part of the “in-group.” Discuss some of the different ways of “breaking in” to a new group. Break a World Record! There are many world records that elementary-age students can try to break, the Guinness Book of World Records has some great lesson plans here: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2018/3/kids-can-break-a-guinness-world-records-title-in-their-science-class-517525 How about some classroom records? Here are a few to try: • Most sticky notes put on a face in one minute (Current record is 58) • Most Tennis balls balanced on one hand for at least five seconds (Current record is 26) • Most coins stacked into a tower in 30 seconds (Current record is 51) • Fastest time to assemble a Mr. Potato Head while blindfolded (Current record is 16.17 seconds) SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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The Presentation

The Story

Have students respond in small groups or conduct a group discussion based on questions such as:

Students can respond verbally or in writing to questions such as:

• Why did the playwright use songs in the play? What does the music bring to the story? • Was the play funny or serious? How did that affect the story? • How did the actors use movement and voice to create their characters? • The designers made many choices when they created the set and costumes for Miss Electricity What did their designs add?

• How would you describe each character in this play to someone who has not seen it? • How did each of them change during the play? • What parts of the play are specific to where the characters live? Could this story take place where you live? Why or why not?



1. Write on the board, “To have good friends, you must be a good friend.” Ask the children to explain that statement and to tell you why they either agree or disagree with it. Ask them to think of ways that good friends treat each other. List their answers on the board and discuss each one. Compare their list with the one on the opposite page. 2. Have the children look for examples of friendship behaviors in magazines or make pictures of them (see our list in “How to Be a Good Friend” at the top of this column). Then have them use the pictures to create a classroom collage. They could also contribute slogans or mottos about friendships. 3. Divide the class into groups of four or five. Each group’s task is to choose one group member to play the role of a new kid in class. The new kid’s challenge is to try to gain acceptance into the group. After the role-plays, discuss with the class how it felt to be the new kid and how it felt to be part of the “in-group.” Discuss some of the different ways of “breaking in” to a new group. 4. Ask the children to think about how a movie or TV show dealt with friendship. Ask what someone in the show did that made him or her a good friend or a bad friend. 5. Brainstorm ways kids can be more tolerant and accepting of each other. Write them on the board. Then have the children work in small groups to create posters about accepting others. Display the posters in the classroom hallway.


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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:



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.


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

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.


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Profile for Syracuse Stage

Miss Electricity Study Guide  

Miss Electricity Study Guide  

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