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Children’s Tour

September - December 2013



yracuse 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 30,000 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our community. Children’s Tour Naming Sponsor

General Education Sponsors

John Ben Snow Foundation, Inc.

Lori Pasqualino as “Annabel” in the 2010 Bank of America Children’s Tour: Annabel Drudge... and the Second Day of School. Photo by Michael Davis

Content collection, layout design, and portions written by Kate Laissle

Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director

Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

820 E Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210


Director of Educational Outreach

Lauren Unbekant (315) 443-1150

Manager of Educational Outreach

Kate Laissle (315) 442-7755

Group Sales & Student Matinees

Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Box Office

(315) 443-3275

Syracuse Stage is a global village square where renowned artists and audiences of all ages gather to celebrate our cultural richness, witness the many truths of our common humanity, and explore the transformative power of live theatre. Celebrating our 41st season as the professional theatre in residence at Syracuse University, we create innovative, adventurous, and entertaining productions of new plays, classics and musicals, and offer interactive education and outreach programs to Central New York.


4. Production Information 5. Introduction 6. Teaching Theatre

8. Letter from the Director 9. Synopsis 10. Focus: Bullying 12. Focus: Clowning 14. Focus: Nonverbal Communication 15. Focus: Native American Clowning 19. Syracuse Stage Performance Information EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT SYRACUSE STAGE The Bank of America CHILDREN’S TOUR brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. ArtsEMERGING takes students on an in-depth exploration of one mainstage season production using a multi-cultural, multi-arts lens. The YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL challenges students to submit original ten-minute plays for a chance to see their work performed at Syracuse Stage. The STUDENT MATINEE SERIES provides student with the opportunity for a rich theatrical experience as part of our audience.



Lauren Unbekant



Moria Clinton

Joseph Trevino


Jonathan R. Herter

FEATURING Dustin Kahn The Ringleader Danny Harris Kornfeld The Innocent Carly Blane The Transformer Melissa Beaird The Trickster

Bank of America is one of the leading global supporters of the arts. Our Arts and Culture Program is a critical element of our Corporate Social Responsibility activity. This includes innovative and unique initiatives such as Syracuse Stage’s Children’s Tour, that enable arts institutions and programs to flourish. This enduring commitment to the arts is based on a belief that a thriving arts and culture sector brings untold benefits to economies and societies throughout the world. It is the company’s responsibility, as a major corporation with global reach, to help sustain this vital economic organ.





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!

A few reminders... 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!




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 completely off. 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.


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).


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.



teaching theatre

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 Drama of

that playwrights are mindful of to this day: Plot 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?

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 What visual elements support the play? This could include: puppets, scenery,

costumes, dance, movement, and more.

Other Elements: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern & Repetition, Emotion, Point of view.


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.

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




How are each of these art forms used in this production? Why are they used? How do they help to tell the story? 6

teaching theatre

Most plays utilize designers to create the visual world of the play through scenery, costumes, lighting, and more. These artists use

Elements of Design

to communicate information about the world within the play and its characters.

LINE can have length, width, tex-

ture, direction and curve. There are 5 basic varieties: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag.


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.


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.


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

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).


Have students discuss these elements BEFORE attending the performance and ask them to pay special attention to how these elements are used in the production’s design. Whether your students are observing a piece of visual art (painting, sculpture, photograph) or a piece of performance art (play, dance), allow them first to notice the basic elements, then encourage them to look deeper into why these elements are used the way they are.



a letter from the director

Dear Educator, It is my great pleasure to present The Bully Games, a collaborative effort between Syracuse University Department of Drama and Syracuse Stage. The Bully Games is a newly devised show that centers around four clown characters who have recently discovered an old classroom with a mysterious bully past. Through grit and determination, and hysterical ingenuity these four kids are able to put the classroom back together. . .unfortunately they soon realize that they are susceptible to their own bully like behavior. Through the language of gesture these kids are able to navigate their way through a mine field of peer pressure and intimidation, ultimately succeeding in reinventing themselves and their future. It is my hope that your students will be able to recognize that bullying comes in all forms and that we all share a responsibility in finding pro-active ways to discourage it. We sincerely hope you enjoy our production!


Lauren Unbekant Director of Educational Outreach



Plot Summary


Many years had passed since the last bully game, known as -“The Spit Wad Wars”, destroyed all of the classrooms throughout the land. Because of The Spit Wad Wars, children were no longer able to attend school. . . it had become too mean and too dangerous. Children rarely even played together – there were some kids that didn’t even know other kids existed. Then one day four inquisitive kids. . .one at a time, discovered a mysterious room. . . unbeknownst to them it was a classroom from many years ago. . . Upon entering this strange place each kid explored it’s treasures. . .a large rectangular board with strange dusty white marks on it, a strange long pointy thing, small dusty black rectangle blocks. tables and chairs, a spinning ball on a stand, metal cans, etc. – none of these things made sense to the kids, although they found fun things to do with the objects. Through exploration and play the kids put the class room back together. . .at least in their own estimation of what that might be. They then began to set-up and play the game of “school”. The game of school included role playing. They would also need a teacher, a smart kid, a trouble maker, etc. Their game eventually broke down into a tug of war of power which got a bit nasty – almost reigniting history and replaying the last bully game. The Bully Games will explore through games of status and role playing how bullying impacts each character’s wellbeing. The clowns eventually learn how to get along with each other in a proactive and creative way – ultimately giving them the tools to change their circumstances.

The CLOWNS: (These are also their bully types) The Ringleader – The leader, the decision maker, likes his/her position of high status no matter the cost. The Trickster – The trouble-maker, the instigator – likes to stir things up, very good at shifting blame. The Transformer – This clown is very mercurial, Takes sides with whoever is most popular. The Innocent – Will never start anything, often takes the blame for something he/she is not responsible for,– stays silent.



focus: bullying

What is Bullying? 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. These actions are intentional on the part of the aggressor. Children should understand that if they feel emotionally or physically harmed, then the situation is bullying.


Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent as students gain increased access to computers and smart phones. With cyberbullying, students often do not feel safe even at home. Before computers and cell phones, students could return to their homes and be safe from aggression for a few hours. Now the torment can continue through websites such as Formspring, Tumblr, and through direct texting. Cyberbullying can include spreading rumors, issuing threats, calling names, sharing private pictures, impersonation of someone’s online identity with malicious intent, and persistent harassment of a person through multiple forms by using multiple screen names.


In 2011, two-thirds of middle school faculty and staff reported that they witnessed bullying frequently in their schools. A few years earlier, 89% of middle school students interviewed had witnessed an act of bullying, and 49% said they had been a victim of a bully. In 2009, 20% of high school students reported being bullied at school during the previous twelve months. The National Association of School Psychologists estimates that over 160,000 students miss school each day because they fear being bullied. Preventing bullying in our schools will not be a quick fix nor does it have a simple solution. In the best schools, every adult, no matter the position or job title recognizes and accepts the responsibility of role model and educator. Every adult takes the matter of bullying seriously, and sees it as a responsibility to prevent it when possible and to intervene if it arises. If students see the administration standing up to bullies, they too can become empowered to stand up to bullies on their own. Information from The Bully Project and Embrace Civility



focus: bullying

How can you help? • Help others who are being bullied. Be a friend, even if this person is not yet your friend. Go over to him/her. Let him/her know how you think they are feeling. Help him/her to talk to an adult about what just happened. (Just think for a moment about how great this would be if someone did this for you when you were being picked on or hurt!)

to an adult who can help. •Reach out to new people at your school. Introduce them to your friends and help them feel comfortable. Imagine how you would feel leaving your friends and coming to a new school.

• Refuse to be a “bystander”. If you see friends • Stop untrue or harmful messages from or classmates laughing along with the person spreading. If someone As parents and students, hurting someone else, tells you a rumor that as teachers and members tell them that they are you know is untrue or of the community, we can contributing to the sends you a message problem. Let them take steps -all of us -to that is hurtful to someknow that by laughing help prevent bullying. one else, stand up and they are also bullying President Barack Obama let the person know this the victim. is wrong. • Respect others’ differences and help others • Get friends involved. Let people know that to respect differences you are an upstander and encourage them to be one too! • Wth a teacher or principal’s support, develop a bullying program or project that will help re• Make friends outside of your group. Eat duce bullying in school. Bring together a team lunch with someone who is alone. Show sup- of students, parents and teachers to meet and port for a person who is upset at school by talk about bullying on a regular basis and share asking them what is wrong or bringing them stories and support.

Activity Have students write a poem about their thoughts on bullying. What does bullying mean to them and what does it look like? Have them take both the perspective of the person who is being hurt and the person who is bullying. In groups or 3-5, have students act out their poems. As a class, try to come up with solutions on how to defuse situations and solve problems.



focus: clowning

Clowning History A Timeline An example of a Commedia character costume & mask Masks from Greek & Roman Performances

Ancient Greece & Rome Clowning took place in Pantomime form at different theatre festivals

Slapstick & Commedia Del’arte Touring troupes of clowns played stock roles in many locations. Each character had a specific costume, mask and attitude that was his/hers alone.

2920 B.C.E.

1550’s-1700’s C.E.

1300’s - 1700’s C.E.

1890’s - Current

Court jesters Part trickster, part friend to royalty. Jesters told the truth to royalty, sometimes in a mean way, when no one else could.

Modern Clowns With the start of movies, clowning reached even larger audiences. Tramp Clowns, like Charlie Chaplin (below), started the idea of what we think of clowns today.

Court jester & King from an Illuminated Bible 1460 C.E.



focus: clowning

Types of Clowning Trickster

In many types of clowning, there is a character called the trickster. This character uses wit and pranks to both influence other characters and stay out of trouble. Trickster characters set examples about what not to do, while still being funny. There are types of trickster figures everywhere! They include Loki from Norse mythology, Hermes from Greek mythology, Charlie Chaplin, Bugs Bunny, Peeves from the Harry Potter series, Bart Simpson, and Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Shape shifters are another clown type: they can become whatever they would like to be whenever they want, changing to benefit themselves.

Questions Did you notice a trickster or shapeshifter in The Bully Games? What makes the character a trickster? What makes them a shapeshifter?


Moria Clinton’s costume design for The Trickster

Activity Have students create an animal character to become. Ask them to walk around the room as if they were that character, walking how the character would walk and saying hello to each other as the character. Ask the students to then think of tricksters. Encourage them to continue to be the character they thought of, but this time as a trickster. How does their movement change? What types of sneaky things would their character do? Once they have become a trickster version of their animal, have them shapeshift and become the opposite! What does the opposite of a trickster look like to them? 13

focus: non-verbal communication

Non-Verbal Communication: The Language of Gesture What is non-verbal communication? Non-verbal communication is a way to say without words how you are feeling, your attitude, your likes and dislikes. Instead of words, you use your body and facial expressioni to convey emotion. The pictures on the right show different facial expressions which show emotions. Even without the words beneath the pictures, do you think you would be able to figure out what emotion the picture was trying to show?

Questions How do you know when someone is feeling badly? What about happy? What did you learn about nonverbal communication after seeing The Bully Games? Did you understand the story without any words? Give some examples of how the characters from The Bully Games communicated with each other without words. Who havs the power in the show? How do you know? What are the non-verbal cues of power?

Activity Without using words, show what being sad looks like, or being happy looks like. Once you can show an emotion and other people can guess your emotion, try showing an attitude. What kind of attitudes can you show? What does it look like to be confident? What about proud? How can your whole body be shy? Using that attitude, ask for something you want or need, but don’t use words!



focus: native american clowning

Clowning Tradition in Native American Culture (Pueblo Clowns) Pueblo clowning is part of a religious ceremony. The clowns act as a combination of jester and priest, inspiring laughter through absurdity. They also can add greater depth to a religious service by using the contrast of their antics to the religious rights. Pueblo Clowns exhibit opposite of societal norms. Stealing food, venerating those that society normally repels, riding horses backwards, complaining of the cold during a heat wave, and other similar actions show observers the hidden rules of society. Through these absurd actions, societal norms are strengthened and a unity is created within the community. By laughing at the absurd actions of the clowns, the audience members implictly agree that the clowns actions are ridiculous and should not become normal. These clowns wear easily recognized costumes of horizontal black and white stripes with horns attached to their heads, as you can see in the pictures to the right.

Questions Did the costumes you saw onstage remind of you the pictures of Native American Clowns? In learning about Pueblo Clowning, how do you think the characters onstage were similar to those characters in Pueblo tradition? How were they different? How does the costume desgin on the left compare to the historial images above? How are they similar? How are they different?

Activity Costume design of The Ringleader by Moria Clinton

Can you incorporate what you’ve learned about clowning, bullying, and non-verbal communication to tell a story about helping to stop bullying?



sources and resources

TEACHING THEATRE/ARTS TheatreTeachers.com http://www.theatreteachers.com/ ArtsWork.com http://artswork.asu.edu/ ChildDrama.com http://www.childdrama.com/lessons.html Educational Theatre Association http://schooltheatre.org/ Kennedy Center http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons.aspx Viola Spolin http://www.spolin.com/

The Bully Games Study Guide SOURCES AND RESOURCES Read more about bullying, cyberbullying, and how you can help:


http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/info-facts.asp http://www.thebullyproject.com/tools_educators http://www.embracecivility.org/reports-issue-briefs/issue-briefs/educators-guide/ http://www.stopbullying.gov/image-gallery/what-you-need-to-know-infographic.html http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/ui367.pdf Read more about clowning and non-verbal communication: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/e/early-pantomime/ http://www.hrepic.com/Teaching/GenEducation/nonverbcom/nonverbcom.htm http://www.nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/861/pueblo-clowns http://www.clownbluery.co.uk/?page_id=164 Videos on bullying and clowning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbBDO_nsuqs


Bring the whole family to

at Syracuse Stage 820 E. Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210

December 7th at 11am and 1pm All tickets $8 Box Office: 315.443.3275

Profile for Syracuse Stage

The Bully Games Study Guide  

The Bully Games Study Guide  

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