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EDUCATION

STUDY GUIDE


Study Guide Contents 3.)

Production Information

4.) Introduction 5.)

Letter from Community Engagement and Education Director

6.)

Educational Outreach at Syracuse Stage

7.)

Meet the Director

8.)

Q & A with the Playwright

10.)

About the play

11.)

Scenic Design

12.) Characters

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14.)

for colored girls

15.)

Questions for Discussion

16.)

Elements of Drama

17.)

Elements of Design

SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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

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

Community Engagement & Education Assistant MiKayla Hawkinson (315) 443-1150

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

Box Office (315) 443-3275

Designed by MiKayla Hawkinson

Special thanks to Joseph Whelan, Jonathan Hudak and Lyle Andrew Michael


Robert Hupp Artistic Director PRESENTS

Jill A. Anderson Managing Director Kyle Bass Associate Artistic Director

PRESENTING SPONSOR

BY

Keenan Scott II

SPONSOR

DIRECTED BY

Steve H. Broadnax III MEDIA SPONSORS

CHOREOGRAPHY BY

Millicent Johnnie SCENIC DESIGNER

CO-COSTUME DESIGNERS

LIGHTING DESIGNER

SOUND DESIGNER

Robert Brill

Toni-Leslie James Devario Simmons

Ryan J. O'Gara

Mikaal Sulaiman

PROJECTION DESIGNER

MUSIC BY

S TA G E M A N A G E R

CASTING

Sven Ortel

Te’La and Brother Kamau

B.J. Forman

Calleri Casting

PRODUCTION

SEASON SPONSORS

I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H

Baltimore Center Stage and Brian Moreland and Ron Simons Robert Hupp

Jill A. Anderson

Kyle Bass

Artistic Director

Managing Director

Associate Artistic Director

September 4 - 21, 2019 SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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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 cell phones 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 avoid unnecessary disruption.

SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION


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, it allows us to find ourselves in other people’s lives and grow beyond our own boundaries. We’re the only species 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 and MiKayla Hawkinson Community Engagement and Education

2019/2020 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/or 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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Educational Outreach at Syracuse Stage Children’s Tour

Backstory

Each fall, the Bank of America Children’s Tour brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. Each performance is fully staged with scenery, costumes, and sound. You need only provide the stage, cafeteria, classroom, or any open space. Performances include a talkback with the actors and our helpful study guide for further classroom exploration. Pre- or postshow sessions with our talented teaching artists can be arranged upon request.

Each winter, the Backstory program brings history to life as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. Previous presentations have included historical figures such as Anne Frank, Ace, a Tuskegee Airman, and Annie Easley a human computer for NASA.

YAC: Young Adult Council

Each spring, Syracuse Stage invites Central New York high school students to write original ten-minute plays and other performance pieces for entry in our annual Young Playwrights Festival contest. Our panel of theatrical and literary professionals evaluates each student’s play. Semifinalists are invited to a writing workshop at Syracuse Stage where their plays will be read and critiqued. Finalists will see their plays performed as staged readings by Syracuse University Department of Drama at the annual Young Playwrights Festival. The festival is free and open to the public. 2019 season was our largest year to date with 365 entries.

THE YOUNG ADULT COUNCIL (YAC) at Syracuse Stage seeks to give teens a voice in the programming designed for them while exploring how theatre impacts their lives. The program focuses on peer led discussion and events in addition to advocating for theatre and arts participation to fellow students. The Syracuse Stage Young Adult Council (YAC) is a group of high school students from the Central New York area that meets monthly to create and implement pre-show events that will help inspire the next generation of theatregoers. YAC members can also take advantage of opportunities to learn from professional theatre artists at Syracuse Stage and through workshops, internships, and shadow programs.

Professional Development: Evening Teacher Workshops Professional Development classes for theatre teachers and community members covering a variety of theatre topics and taught by Syracuse Stage professionals. These workshops are designed to increase the skill sets for those working in a theatre setting.

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Young Playwrights Festival

Summer Youth Theatre Experience Come and play with professional teaching artists of Syracuse Stage as we dive into the magical world of creativity and performance. This four-week program for middle school students is presented in collaboration with SALTspace & the Near Westside Initiative.


Meet the Director Steve H. Broadnax III

I believe that Thoughts of a Colored Man by Keenan Scott II aims to expand the definition of the 21st-century man of color beyond the oversimplified stereotypes that are often presented. As a man of color, I know too well that these distorted images have the dangerous potential to limit our humanity; often leaving us in search of who we indeed are. My goal through this theatrical experience of language, music, and dance is to give insight into the black male in search of their most dominant selves trying to escape demise. Holla!

World Premieres: Mud Row by Dominique Morisseau, Travisville by William Jackson Harper, Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (also author), The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall, Everybody Black by Dave Harris. Theatre includes: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Play House, People’s Light, Hattiloo Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre Company, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Apollo Theatre (NYC), Classical Theatre of Harlem, Atlantic Theatre (NYC), Detroit Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, The Black Theatre Troupe (Phoenix, AZ), Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Moore Theatre (Seattle), Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, National Arts Festival in South Africa, and The Adelaide Arts Festival Australia. The Hip Hop Project, an award-winning, full-length, original play directed, choreographed, and conceived by Steve, has toured nationally and was showcased at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. Other writings include the award-winning American Taboo and Camouflage (Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist). Training: Conservatory of Fine Arts Webster University (B.F.A.), Penn State University (M.F.A.). Steve is currently a professor of Theatre and associate artistic director for outreach at Penn State University. Visit www.stevebroadnax.com

–Steve H. Broadnax III SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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Q & A with the Playwright Keenan Scott II

With the world premiere of Thoughts of a Colored Man at Syracuse Stage, playwright Keenan Scott II begins an exciting journey that could lead to a New York production. Producers Brian Moreland and Ron Simons, veterans of Broadway, have aspirations to bring the play to the City after it completes its run at Baltimore Center Stage. Scott spoke with Lyle Andrew Michael about the play.

LAM: How did your personal experience influence you in writing this script? KS: I’ve lived in New York and in Maryland. I’ve lived in the inner city, a suburb, and a rural area. This play is influenced by my upbringing and the things I have experienced in and out of my community in these locations. LAM: What sort of world do you want to take the audience into? KS: I want this to be a snapshot of a community. While I do not ever want to tell an audience member how to feel,  I want viewers to see the characters exist as they do in their community as they intertwine through it. Depending on your background, every audience member will leave with something different.

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 PLAYWRIGHT KEENAN SCOTT II PHOTO: BRENNA MERRITT


KS: I grew up hearing that black men don’t know how to articulate themselves. So, I wanted to create a piece, being a poet, where the black man can express himself and articulate his emotions in a safe place. I thought about the emotions that I go through, of feeling angry, lustful, depressed, and I realized these are not thoughts and emotions that are unique to me, but something that all human beings go through and feel. As you journey through this piece, you will see that these men are multifaceted. LAM: The last voice we hear is Passion’s. KS: I probably identify most with Passion. He symbolizes hope. I believe he serves as the pseudo-narrator who sets the tone for the piece. So it’s important for the last message and voice to be from a place of hope. LAM: How do you feel the term “colored” has evolved over the years? KS: I think the term “colored” has come to be used differently by people over the years. For instance “people of color” is  a common term now. In Thoughts of a Colored Man, I use “colored” to spark a visceral reaction  like it did during the civil and pre-civil rights days. Also, playing into the allegorical labeling  of the characters in this play, these are not just emotions and thoughts of a “colored” man, but “human” feelings and experiences.  LAM: What made you choose fall and Brooklyn in the presentday as the setting?

KS: I chose fall to be specific and to help further the creation of this world. And personally, it’s my favorite season. Being a native New Yorker I wanted to ground the piece there. I picked Brooklyn because I live in Bed Stuy (Bedford Stuyvesant) currently and the true world of this piece started to come together while living there. The gentrification that has been happening there serves as a representation for what’s going on all over the United States right now and cities around the world. LAM: What do you feel you have to learn from the world premiere of the play at Syracuse Stage and Baltimore Center Stage? KS: The audience responses. I have been writing and working on Thoughts of a Colored Man for twelve years. Sitting alone with my thoughts and ideas for this time has been rewarding. I’ve grown a lot working on this piece. I am most excited about hearing the response from the community at large, and then applying new work based upon the response. My work as an artist is never complete. It is a living, breathing script. I hope that each night the show is performed, a person will learn something new about my community and where I’m from. LAM: When did you take an interest in writing plays? KS: I never studied playwriting in an academic space. I was a theatre major at Frostburg State University with a concentration in acting. I am a self-taught playwright. I realized I had a knack for poetry, storytelling, and songwriting, which led me to become a SLAM poet at age 15 in Washington, D.C. I would say one can’t be a playwright without understanding the process of acting, just as an actor cannot be an actor without understanding the process of directing and writing.

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About the Play “ This piece fuses the technique of poetry, prose, and dialogue. It’s rooted in spoken word and has the spirit and energy of SLAM poetry. The poetry shouldn’t be forced. The language is jazz, meaning there shouldn’t be a distinctive cadence. The rhythm and internal rhyme should be found, but not over done. The language of this piece should be grounded and should not sound presentational. At times characters break the fourth wall during parts of this piece. The kaleidoscope of men in this play is diverse in every sense of the word.” - Keenan Scott II The event happens in one full day all at different times. A day in the life of 7 black men ca.dence noun a modulation or inflection of the voice fourth wall noun the space which separates a performer or performance from an audience jazz noun a type of music of black American origin characterized by improvisation, syncopation, and usually a regular or forceful rhythm, emerging at the beginning of the 20th century. Brass and woodwind instruments and piano are particularly associated with jazz rhythm noun a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound

•SLAM Poetry a form of performance poetry that combines the elements of performance, writing, competition, and audience participation.

Create your own SLAM poetry Choose a topic you are passionate about, write a poem and explore how you would add performace elements to this piece.

Time

It is a beautiful breezy Friday fall day, present day.

Location

Gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York 10

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Scenic design “ The world of this play is grounded in New York (in theory it could be any city experiencing gentrification). The set should reflect the present-day, the moments of now. It should contain as much or as little as needed to support the present world of the play to allow imaginations to run wild, but this world should be established with mixed media. These scenes should be woven together with a musical soundscape and movement.” - Keenan Scott II

gen.tri.fy

verb renovate and improve (a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste.

The set of Thoughts of a Colored Man was created by Robert Brill. Brill was inspired by the EVERYBODY project by Tibor Kalman and Scott Stowell. This project was placed in Times Square in 1993 and was left open to interpretation to the public. Brill used this as inspiration to create a multi-level billboard for Thoughts of a Colored Man. The background in white with the word COLORED in black, bold lettering across the center. Actors will perform from the top, middle, and lower platforms throughout the play. The beauty of the billboard is that it leaves a clean slate, it can help create a dialouge for viewers.

 INSTALLATION VIEW OF THE EVERY-

BODY PROJECT BY TIBOR KALMAN AND SCOTT STOWELL, CONCEIVED AS PART OF THE 42ND ST ART PROJECT, 1993.

Can you think of any monuments or art projects that have been erected recently and how it made you feel? What do you think the motivation was behind that installation? What are some common themes and art installations that have been placed in major cities over the past few years?

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Characters The characters are seven allegorical or symbolic titles.

Passion

Early 30’s, a scholar from the inner city. A true urban guy. He is a Queens native and New York to his core. A smart, seasoned guy who has seen a lot in his life and is very intune with the world around him. He has an articulate, but edgy presence. He possesses the spirit of ancestral orators. Must be rhythmically inclined with Rap and/or Spoken Word.

Love 18, A boy of mixed black and white heritage. “Young” in every sense of the word. He even dresses like the youth of now. Should have a forward energy. Needs to be well versed with the language of poetry. Sneaker head. Must be fair skinned, more than anyone else. That contrast has to be seen.

Lust

20, Brooklyn native and sounds every bit of it. Charming and naturally flirtatious. Pure hearted. As carefree as he is reckless. He has a way with words in an unrefined way. He is highly sexual and addicted to women and has enough confidence to go around. Must fully adapt SLAM poetry style during poetic scenes.

Happiness Early 30’s, a upper middle class man from upstate New York with a white collar job. A man who happens to be gay, but his sexuality does not rule his life nor does he wear it on his sleeve. Refined and polished look and demeanor with Ivy League Schooling. A Brooks Brother man. He’s externally unapologetic, but deeply caring internally.

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Characters Anger

Mid to late 20’s, a Harlem native. A former collegiate basketball player, a jock, but he is an academic in disguise. He carries a chip on his shoulder. Has a rawness to him. Must have the energy of SLAM poet during poetic scenes.

Depression

Mid 30’s, an astute survivor. A true neighborhood guy at heart. Highly intelligent and steady; equally comfortable in a pair of sneakers or a bespoke suit. At times he can be socially awkward.

Wisdom 60-65, a man of dark complexion, African born. An immigrant to the United States. Accent is no longer as heavy. Heavy thinking man. Regal and confident, but equally humble. He possesses a strength only age can bring. Calm presence. A male version of Dr. Maya Angelou.

Women

Two black women occasionally accompany the characters, weaving in and out of the men’s stories with movement. They should be trained dancers. WOMAN 1 is older than WOMAN 2. They are to represent an array of women and their relationships and interactions with the men of this play. They should serve as a present spirit and backbone throughout the piece.

Ensemble

All characters on stage together form the ensemble. All actors in this world are black in race, heritage, culture, and experience. The cast should be diverse in complexion and size to fill as much of the spectrum as possible.

-Character descriptions courtesy of playwright Keenan Scott II. Design by Toni-Leslie James and Devario Simmons. Illustrations by Gloria Young Kim.

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for colored girls for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf Written by Ntozake Shange Premiered in 1976

In a world of sexism and racism each woman has the chance to passionately tell her story of survival. for colored girls is a play of seven separate explorations of a women’s self represented through colors of the rainbow. “ for colored girls was meant for women of color. The poems were addressing situations that bridged our secret (unspoken) longing. for colored girls still is a women’s trip, and the connection we can make through it, with each other and for each other, it is to empower us all.” Shange states. Keenan Scott II’s piece Thoughts of a Colored Man is in part inspired by for colored girls along with the works of Nikki Giovanni, Suzan-Lori Parks, Katori Hall and Langston Hughes. Style

Choreo-poem style. Poetry, song, and movement to tell the story. Creates a raw, emotional, down to earth feel for the piece. Much like SLAM poetry.

“ We discover that by sharing with each other we find strength to go on. The poems are the play’s first hint of the global misogyny that we women face.”

- Ntozake Shange

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Post show discussions: 1.) What imagery resonated with you? 2.) Dependant upon your age. Can you reflect on some of the characters as being apart of your past self? Do you think some of the characters will be emotions you tap into later on in life? What thoughts, memories, disappointments and dreams could you connect with? 3.) How do you feel the music and choreography helped to support the play? 4.) What is one thing you can do out in your community to help encourage others to better understand race, heritage and culture? How do these stories reflect the relationships in your community? 5.) How can this play aid in the goal of building empathy?

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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. effect 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

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.

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 and Repetition, Emotion, Point of view. 16

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INQUIRY

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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MAR 11 - 29

By Reginald Rose | Directed by James Still Co-Produced with Indiana Repertory Theatre

By Peter Shaffer | Directed by Robert Hupp Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama

ANGRY MEN

NOV 22 - JAN 5

Disney’s

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Music by Alan Menken | Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice | Book by Linda Woolverton | Directed by Donna Drake Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama

JAN 22 - FEB 16

THE WOLVES

By Sarah DeLappe | Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson | Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama

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AMADEUS APR 15 - MAY 3

ONCE

Book by Enda Walsh | Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová | Based on the Motion Picture Written and Directed by John Carney | Directed by Mark Cuddy Co-Produced with Geva Theatre Center

MAY 27 - JUN 14

YOGA PLAY

OFF SUBSCRIPTION

OCT 9 - 27

SEP 4 - 21

THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN WORLD PREMIERE

By Keenan Scott II | In association with Brian Moreland and Ron Simons | Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III | Co-Produced with Baltimore Center Stage

APR 1 - 5

COLD READ

A FESTIVAL OF HOT NEW PLAYS

Playwright-In-Residence Octavio Solis Solo Performer-In-Residence Bill Bowers Featured Local Playwright Charles Martin Curated by Kyle Bass

By Dipika Guha Directed by Robert Hupp

SEASON SPONSORS

315.443.3275 SYRACUSESTAGE.ORG

Profile for Syracuse Stage

Thoughts of a Colored Man Study Guide  

Thoughts of a Colored Man Study Guide  

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