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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 Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stuart. The emotions can be more intense because the events are happening right in front of the audience.

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.

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

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.

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.

PHOTOGRAPHS or video taken from the audience can be illegal, disruptive, and sometimes dangerous. These devices, including cell phones, will be confiscated.

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. 5

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.

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 are the relationships among them? 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? 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 characters and the pursuit of their objectives. 6


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 ELEMENTS OF ART 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 such as 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


Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director

Mark Cuddy

Jeffrey Woodward

Artistic Director

Managing Director

Greg Weber

Managing Director

PRESENT

THE PRICE BY

ARTHUR MILLER DIRECTED BY

TIMOTHY BOND

JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 14 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. 38


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

ABOUT THE

PLAY

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT ARTHUR MILLER (1915-2005)

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ith Death of a Salesman on Broadway during the winter of 1949, Arthur Miller began to live — as a playwright who has since been called one of this century’s three great American dramatists, along with Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. Death of a Salesman was not Arthur Miller’s first success on Broadway. Two years before, when his All My Sons opened at the Coronet Theater, Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times wrote: “The theater has acquired a genuine new talent.” The play also won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Donaldson Award (voted upon by Billboard subscribers). Miller noted afterward: “The success of a play, especially one’s first success, is somewhat like pushing against a door which is suddenly opened that was always securely shut until then. For myself, the experience was invigorating. It suddenly seemed that the audience was a mass of blood relations, and I sensed a warmth in the world that had not been there before. It made it possible to dream of daring more and risking more.” He did dare and risk with Death of a Salesman. And he gained more. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, he was catapulted into the realm of the great living American playwrights and also compared to Ibsen and the Greek tragedians. After his graduation from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, young Miller worked as a stock clerk in an automobile parts warehouse for two and a half years until he had enough money to pay for his first year at the University of Michigan. He finished college with the financial aid of the National Youth Administration supplemented by his salary as night editor on the Michigan Daily newspaper.

Before his graduation with a B.A. degree in 1938, he had written a number of plays, winning a $500 Avery Hopwood Award in 1936 and a $1,200 Theater Guild National Award in 1938 for an effort entitled The Grass Still Grows. After having returned to New York in 1938, he joined the Federal Theater Project, but, before his first play had been produced, the Project ended. He worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and wrote radio scripts heard on the Columbia Workshop and the Calvacade of America. He also wrote two books during this period: Situation Normal (1944) and Focus, a novel about anti-semitism (1945). He had not, however, given up playwrighting. In November, 1944, his The Man Who Had All the Luck opened on Broadway but proved to be unlucky. Its unfavorable reception disheartened Miller, and he decided he would write one more play. If that were not successful, he would give up. In 1947 he wrote All My Sons, his first real success, which established him as a significant American playwright. The Crucible, his 1953 Broadway hit, which won a Tony Award, was about witch trials and hangings in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, but reflected the practices of the McCarthy era of the time it was written. The autobiographical tone of After the Fall in 1964 also evoked controversy as well as praise. His knowledge of the Brooklyn waterfront helped to form his characters in A View from the Bridge in 1955, and more of his native city came through in The Price about a New York policeman (1968). Miller also wrote the script for Playing for Time the true-life dramatic special about the experiences of an allwoman orchestra in a Nazi concentration camp, which won four Emmy Awards following its television debut in 1980. In 1987, Miller published his autobiography Timebends: A Life, in which he recalls his childhood in Brooklyn, the political turmoil of the 1950s, and the later half of the century. Miller continued to write until his death, winning the 1995 Olivier for his play Broken Glass — in total a career that spanned six decades. He died of heart failure in February, 2005 at his Roxbury, Connecticut home.

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Biography courtesy www.kennedy-center.org; photo from 1959.


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

AN AMERICAN

MASTER

ABOUT THE

PLAY

QUOTES ON ARTHUR MILLER

QUOTES BY ARTHUR MILLER

He is profoundly, angrily concerned with the immediate issues of our society—with the irresponsible pressures which are being brought to bear on free men, with the self-seeking which blinds whole segments of our civilization to justice, with the evasions and dishonesties into which cowardly men are daily slipping.

Every man has an image of himself which fails in one way or another to correspond with reality. It’s the size of the discrepancy between illusion and reality that matters. The closer a man gets to knowing himself, the less likely he is to trip up on his own illusions.

Walter Kerr, New York Herald Tribune, January 23, 1953

Arthur Miller, in “Arthur Miller Grew in Brooklyn” by Murray Schumach, February 6, 1949

One of the most overriding themes in Miller’s plays… is what might be called the quest for community... It is the tragedy of the industrial world, according to Miller, that the idea of community has withered, atrophied, and the humanistic links connecting man to man have been severely damaged… He sees this theme as really the concern of all great plays: this struggle between what he calls “family relations” and “social relations.”

Society is inside of man and man is inside society, and you cannot even create a truthfully drawn psychological entity on the stage until you understand his social relations and their power to make him what he is and to prevent him from being what he is not. The fish is in the water and the water is in the fish.

Paul Blumberg, “Work as Alienation in the Plays of Arthur Miller,” American Quarterly, Summer 1969

[All] plays we call great, let alone those we call serious, are ultimately involved with some aspect of a single problem. It is this: How may a man make of the outside world a home?

One could say a playwright is not a great playwright unless he can use things—in themselves— thematically, not simply as properties to be touched and then discarded on the way to discovery, but somehow as the discovery itself. At this point, the drama extends itself into poetry, and metaphor swells with movement to a broader, historical reality. Arthur Miller operates in this vision with reserve and intelligence and surprise. Marianne Boruch, “Miller and Things,” Literary Review, 1981

[Miller’s plays] shake us out of complacency and they force us to pay attention to the beauty and the terror of everyday existence. No playwright in the 20th century has explored the emotional connections between the people we misname “ordinary” to greater effect than Arthur Miller. Shirley Neuman, “Arthur Miller: Can’t Make People See Unless they Feel” by Britt Halvorson, The University Record, October 30, 2000

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Arthur Miller, “The Shadow of the Gods,” 1958

Arthur Miller, “The Family in Modern Drama,” Atlantic Monthly, April, 1959

Responsibility is a kind of love. It’s the only thing that prevents total slaughter, violence and nihilism. It’s the connective tissue between the individual and the tribe. It’s not a moral thing to me, primarily; it’s the way people stay sane—what they do to stay sane. Their relation to others keeps them from spinning off into insanity, which is, after all, total loneliness, total disconnection from other people. … Arthur Miller, interview with Joan Barthel, The New York Times, January 28, 1968

How is the playwright’s world view reflected in the characters of The Price?


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

CONTEXT: THE

GREAT DEPRESSION

The items for sale in The Price are artifacts from Victor and Walter’s childhood and memories of their father, a businessman ruined by the Great Depression. His fall, and the ensuing acts of the family, echo into the present. The play is set in the 1960s, but it largely takes place in

THE SHADOW OF THE PAST A merica’s “Great Depression” began with the dramatic crash of the stock market on “Black Thursday”, October 24, 1929 when 16 million shares of stock were quickly sold by panicking investors who had lost faith in the American economy. [See p. 32, “What is a Bank Run?”] At the height of the Depression in 1933, nearly 25% of the nation’s total work force, 12,830,000 people, were unemployed.

Wage income for workers who were lucky enough to have kept their jobs fell almost 43% between 1929 and 1933. It was the worst economic disaster in American history. Farm prices fell so drastically that many farmers lost their homes and land. Many went hungry. Faced with this disaster, families split up or migrated from their homes in search of work. “Hoovervilles” (named after President Hoover – as an insult), shanty towns constructed of packing crates, abandoned cars and other cast

off scraps sprung up across the nation. Industry was badly shaken by the Depression. Factories closed; mills and mines were abandoned; fortunes were lost. American business and labor were both in serious trouble.

The American public looked to the Federal Government. Dissatisfied with President Herbert Hoover’s economic programs, the people elected Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. Within one hundred days the President passed into law a package of legislation designed to help lift the troubled nation out of the Depression . Roosevelt’s program was called the “New Deal,” signifying a new relationship between the American people and their government. A few of the more significant of these New Deal programs was the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the WPA (Works Progress Administration), and the NRA (National Recovery Administration). “...we were eating garbage here. And I went out, over to Bryant Park behind the Public Library. The grass was covered with men. Like a big, open air flop house. And not bums — some of them still had shined shoes and good hats, busted businessmen, lawyers, skilled mechanics. Which I’d seen a hundred times. But suddenly, you know? I saw it. There was no mercy. Anywhere.” - Victor Franz, The Price

Homeless line NYC streets — the same fate Victor feared for his father in The Price

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Later on came the creation of the Social Security System, unemployment insurance and more agencies and programs designed to help Americans during times of economic hardship. The new relationship forged in the New Deal was one of closeness between the government and the people: a closeness which had never existed to such a degree before. Although Roosevelt and the New Deal were criticized by many, and seriously challenged by the U.S. Supreme Court, they received the overwhelming support of the people. Roosevelt was the only president in U.S. history to be elected for four terms of office. Despite all the President’s efforts and the courage of the American people, the Depression hung on until 1941, when America’s involvement in the Second World War resulted in the drafting of young men into military service, and the creation of millions of jobs in defense and war industries. The Great Depression tested the fabric of American life as it had been seldom tested before or has since. It caused Americans to doubt their abilities and their values. It caused them to despair. But they weathered the test, and as a Nation, emerged stronger than ever, and we are all better today for their strength and their courage. Article adapted from from www.todaysteacher.com


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

THE LENS OF THE PRESENT Arthur Miller’s The Price was written in 1967 and first performed on Broadway in 1968. America was embroiled in an unpopular war in Vietnam, a war from which an honorable exit would eventually prove impossible, and as Miller noted, “the seeds of a new disillusionment” were being sown. One basic problem for the writer, he observed, “was to try to determine, amid the rapid changes taking place, what was really happening in American life… [as] the traditions of the Protestant work ethic and the idea of rugged individualism were being reconsidered … [and] standards shaped and reshaped by shifting circumstances.” By the end of 1968, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr, voices of reason and conscience, would both be dead, victims of assassins’ bullets. The early idealism of the sixties was waning. It was a fitting time, as the writer put it, for “reappraising the illusions by which man lives.” From The Price Study Guide, Sudbury Theatre Center, Ontario, CA

RESEARCH & DISCUSS What can your class find out about the people and events depicted in the photographs at right? What effect did they have on culture, politics, and philosophy in the 1960s? How do they relate to Arthur Miller’s three observations?

The “seeds of a new disillusionment” sown

The “traditions of the Protestant work ethic and the idea of rugged individualism” reconsidered

A time for “reappraising the illusions by which we live”

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Clockwise from top: 1) Betty Friedan and the feminist movement; 2) The space race and moon landing 3) Robert and John F. Kennedy 4) Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement 5) The Vietnam War 6) Dr. Timothy Leary and the drug counterculture

CONTEXT: THE

1960s


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

CONTEXT: SETTING THE

PRICE

“I used to be president [of the Appraisers’ Association] ... What’s so funny? Listen, before me was a jungle — you wouldn’t laugh so much. I put in all the rates, what we charge, you know — I made it a profession, like doctors, lawyers — used to be it was a regular snakepit. Today, you got nothing to worry — all the members are hundred percent ethical.” - Solomon, The Price

In Arthur Miller’s The Price, the character of Gregory Solomon comes from outside the family with no prior knowledge of the decades-long feud between Victor and Walter. In this way, he represents the audience. While we as spectators uncover bits of evidence to decipher the past, Solomon wades through piles of furniture to determine its value. Solomon is a retired furniture dealer — he purchased used furniture and other items, then sold them for a profit. This was and continues to be a large industry in America. Solomon also prides himself on being a registered appraiser. So....

WHAT IS AN APPRAISER? From the American Society of Appraisers (www.appraisers.org):

An appraisal is a comprehensive report giving an opinion of the value at a given point in time of any sort of property. This can be a business, a diamond, an electricity-generating windmill, a sculpture, a building, or anything else you can think of. To give an acurate appraisal, the professional appraiser begins with research which could include: • Asking clients about the history of the property • Carefully inspecting the property and any relevant documentation • Spending hours researching the property in books and databases • Analyzing comparable sales, if appropriate Why would I have an appraisal done? • To decide how much to insure something for • You’re donating to charity -- how much is it worth on your taxes? • To know how much to ask for something when you want to sell it • To decide how much to invest in an item (Should I have it restored?) • Estate planning (How much will taxes be? How do I split things fairly?)

Official seal of the American Society of Appraisers

In The Price, Solomon is both a dealer and appraiser: he quotes Victor a value and then offers to buy it. The American Society of Appraisers warns consumers to avoid this type of arrangement. The conflict of interest makes it too easy for a dealer-appraiser to deflate his appraisal value so that he/she can buy cheap and maximize the profit. In the play, Walter thinks this is exactly what Solomon is up to. Do you trust Solomon? 43


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

THEME:

MY BROTHER’S

KEEPER

SIBLING RIVALRY

Excerpts from “Adult Sibling Rivalry” from www.psychologytoday.com By Jane Mersky Leder

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estern culture has an obsession with sibling rivalry that began with the story of Cain and Abel and was elaborated by Freud, who labeled and dwelt on the competition between siblings for parental love and attention. It’s colored our perception of sibship ever since. Therapists and lay people alike tend to view the relationship largely as one of struggle and controversy. We have no rituals that make, break, or celebrate the sibling bond. And family experts have underemphasized the sibling relationship, instead concentrating on parents and children and husbands and wives. Small wonder that sibling rivalry is accepted as the normal state of affairs.

There is a consensus among clinicians and developmental psychologists that the sibling bond is complicated, fluid, and influenced by many factors. Parental treatment, genetics, gender, life events, ethnic and generational patterns, and people and experiences outside the family all contribute to the success or failure of a particular sibling connection. To understand how these factors shape the lives of siblings, researchers have begun looking at young siblings within the context of their immediate families. At the forefront of this work is Judy Dunn, whose pioneering sibling studies are being conducted in her native England and in the United States. Through her observational studies of siblings at home instead of in the lab, Dunn’s work presents a radically revised view of children’s abilities and their social understanding. Dunn now knows that from the startlingly young age of one year, siblings respond to disputes between their siblings by supporting or punishing one of the antagonists. These same young siblings are profoundly affected by their mother’s interaction with the other siblings.

“The message is,” Dunn said, “that children are far more socially sophisticated than we ever imagined. That little 15month-old or 17-month-old is watching like a hawk what goes on between her mother and older sibling. And the greater the difference in the maternal affection and attention, the more hostility and conflict between the siblings.” From 18 months on siblings understand how to comfort, hurt, and exacerbate each other’s pain. They understand family rules, can differentiate between transgressions of different sorts, and can anticipate the response of adults to their own and to other people’s misdeeds. By age three, children have a sophisticated grasp of how to use social rules for their own ends. They can evaluate themselves in relation to their siblings and possess the developmental skills necessary to adapt to frustrating circumstances and relationships in the family. Whether they have the drive to adapt, to get along with a sibling whose goals and interests may be different from their own, can make the difference between a cooperative or rivalrous relationship, Dunn insists.

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Continued on next page


Continued from previous page

Parents’ relationships with each of their children are very closely involved in sibling rivalry. As Dunn’s work reveals, from one year on children are acutely sensitive of how they’re being treated in relation to their siblings. When a parent shows more love, gives more attention, or is unable or unwilling to monitor the goings-on between children, it is often the siblings and their connections that suffer. Even though the social awareness and development of children is far more sophisticated than imagined, children don’t possess the ability to understand who or what may have turned them against one another. Most rivalrous adult siblings aren’t able to see the total picture, either. Even when parents do their best at loving and respecting all of their children, the influence of siblings on one another can be enormous. Brothers and sisters spend more time together during childhood than with their parents, particularly today when nearly 60 percent of mothers with children under age 6, and 75 percent of mothers with children age 6 to 17, work outside the home. If the siblings are close in age and/or the same gender, the greater the potential for intense relationships. Studies have shown that of the three sibling pairs, sister/sister pairs are the closest and brother/brother pairs are the most rivalrous. (Identical male twins tend to be the most competitive.) Sisters are the traditional kin keepers in our society and have a real commitment to keeping the relationship going. They are, according to sex-role expectations, more adept at expressing themselves on a personal level and in sharing their intimate feelings. Brothers, on the other hand, are more conflicted. Their childhood time together tends to be more competitive, and often that competition is carried into adulthood, exacerbated, it seems, by parental and societal expectations of men.

SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

What makes brother/brother ties so rivalrous? Gold has launched a new study that is not yet completed. But she has found a consistent theme running through the interviews she’s conducted thus far. “The thing that rides through with brothers that doesn’t come across in other sibling pairs is this notion of parental and societal comparison. Somehow with boys, it seems far more natural to compare them, especially more than with sister/brother pairs. Almost from day one, the fundamental developmental markers--who gets a tooth first, who crawls, walks, speaks first--are held up on a larger-than-life scale. And this comparison appears to continue from school to college to the workplace. Who has the biggest house, who makes the most money, drives the best car are constant topics of discussion. In our society, men are supposed to be achievement-oriented, aggressive. They’re supposed to succeed.” Sibling relationships are not fixed, however; they change dramatically over the years. Key life events in early and middle childhood can bring siblings closer together--or split them further apart. Dunn found that such events as a mother’s illness and, in one case, a mother’s death prompted siblings to be tremendously supportive of one another and to close ranks in the face of stress. The transition to school, on the other hand, diminishes the relationship between older and younger siblings. Similarly, life events in adulthood– leaving home, getting married, tending to an ill parent, grieving over a parent’s death, adjusting to an empty nest-have the power to significantly alter the connection between siblings or to reinforce old rivalries. “There is sibling rivalry; it does exist,” says Deborah Gold, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and sociology and senior fellow at the Center for 45

Aging and Human Development at Duke University. “But it needs to be put into perspective, so that brothers and sisters don’t think they’re weird if they get along well.” For Gold and others, like Stephen Bank, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of psychology at Wesleyan University, getting along well with our siblings is a “birthright.” Rivalry is not a natural state of necessary; it does not merely “come forth from a innate wellspring of black-hearted malice.” Rather, bitter conflict is originally the “fault” of a “disturbing family situation” in which parental actions or inactions play a large part.” Not necessarily, insists Judy Dunn, Ph.D., professor of human development at Penn State University. She parts company “a bit” from the idea that we have a “birthright” to get on well with our siblings. “We don’t choose our siblings,” Dunn says. “There are personality differences that can be very striking and, If you’re stuck growing up with someone day-in and day-out who grates and irritates and provokes, then it seems very understandable that, even without the huge importance of competition for parental love and attention, some siblings don’t get on well.”

How do these issues play out between Walter and Victor in The Price? Do you have a sibling? If so, what is your relationship with him/her/ them like? How could it improve? What would you like it to be as adults? What can you do to work toward that goal?


SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

THEME:

BROTHER/ /BROTHER

STATUS

In The Price, Walter is a doctor. Victor wanted a career in science but put off his education to care for his father while Walter was at medical school. To make ends meet, he became a police officer. How do these two different professions (and perhaps more importantly, how they entered them) affect the relationship between the two brothers? COMPARE the jobs of doctor and police officer. What are their daily tasks? What is their broader purpose in society? What sort of training is needed for each? How are they similar? How are they different? Which would you prefer? Why? What parts of the jobs would you like? Dislike? Why? WHY might someone want to become a doctor? What personality traits come to mind — both negative and positive? What about for a police officer? How did Victor and Walter end up in their professions? What personality traits do they display that are in line with your image of their professions? Which of their traits differ from your image? WHAT do the phrases “white-collar” and “blue-collar” mean to you? What are some different ways a white-collar professional might view a “blue-collar” professional, and vice-versa? In the end, do you think these phrases are meangingful or meaningless? Why? THE average salary for a doctor in the United States is around $160,000.* For police officers, it is around $49,000.* Why do you think there is such a big difference? Do you think it is justified? Do you think either group deserves more? Less? Why? How does this sort of salary difference affect the relationship between Walter and Victor? Would it affect your relationship with your brother or sister or best friend? WHY do you think Arthur Miller chose to make one brother a doctor, and the other a cop? They spend very little time in the play speaking about their jobs, but how does it affect their relationship on an unspoken level? Try writing a scene between two characters with very different jobs. The scene can be about anything in the world so long as there is some kind of conflict between the characters. Try not to let the scene be about their jobs, but let their differences come through in the subtext (the unspoken or implied communication) of the scene. * Salary information from www.payscale.com, based on national averages across a variety of specialties and years of experience.

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SYRACUSE STAGE 2009-2010 SEASON STUDENT STUDY GUIDE

SOURCES

&

ON THE WEB

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ON THE PLAY & PLAYWRIGHT PBS AMERICAN MASTERS [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/none-without-sin/56/] THE ARTHUR MILLER SOCIETY [http://www.ibiblio.org/miller/] BIOGRAPHY.COM [http://www.biography.com/articles/Arthur-Miller-9408335] ARTHUR MILLER QUOTES [http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/arthur_miller.html] NY TIMES 1968 REVIEW [http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/11/12/specials/miller-price.html] SUDBURY THEATRE CTR STUDY GUIDE [http://clients.50carleton.com/STC/web3/Education/ThePriceByArthurMiller.pdf] GUTHRIE THEATRE STUDY GUIDE [http://www.lexhamarts.org/theater/200511/GuthrieStudyGuide.pdf]

ON THE ERAS THE GREAT DEPRESSION RESOURCES FOR EDUC. EXCELLENCE [http://free.ed.gov/keywords.cfm?keyword_id=216&res_feature_request=1] EDUCATION WORLD RESOURCES [http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson147.shtml] FROM KENNESAW STATE UNIV [http://webtech.kennesaw.edu/jcheek3/depression.htm]

THE 1960s HISTORY COOPERATIVE [http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ht/38.1/levy.html] UNIV OF HOUSTON RESOURCES [http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/resource_guides/content.cfm?tpc=30] SOC STUD & HISTORY TEACHERS BLOG [http://multimedialearningllc.wordpress.com/tag/1960s/]

ON THE CHARACTERS’ PROFESSIONS THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF APPRAISERS [http://www.appraisers.org] THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION [http://www.ama-assn.org/] PORTRAYAL OF DOCTORS IN FILM [http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17338.php] LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER RESOURCES [http://www.policeemployment.com/resources]0.0425 in HISTORY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT [http://www.realpolice.net/articles/police-history/history-of-law-enforcement.html]

47


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.

.....................................

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

The Price by Arthur Miller  

The Price by Arthur Miller- Study Guide

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