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Study Guide


SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

2010 / 2011 EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH SPONSORS

S

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, Backstory performances, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to indepth arts education for our community.

Children’s Tour Naming Sponsor

ArtsEmerging

John Ben Snow Foundation, Inc. Student Matinees

Young Playwrights Festival, Children’s Tour, & Student Matinees supported by

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 by Michelle Scully

Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

820 E Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210 www.SyracuseStage.org

STUDY GUIDE CONTENTS

Director of Educational Outreach

4. Production Information

Lauren Unbekant (315) 443-1150

5. Introduction

Manager of Educational Outreach

Michelle Scully (315) 442-7755

Group Sales & Student Matinees

11. Context & Connections

Tracey White (315) 443-9844

12. In the Classroom

Box Office

(315) 443-3275

14. Syracuse Stage Season Info

Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premiere professional theatre. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 230 plays in 38 seasons including numerous world and American premieres. Each season, upwards of 80,000 patrons enjoy an exciting mix of comedies, dramas and musicals featuring leading designers, directors and performers from New York and across the country, supported by a full-time and seasonal staff of artisans, technicians and administrators.

6. Teaching Theatre 8. Letter from the Education Director 9. About the Play

13. Sources and Resources

EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT SYRACUSE STAGE The Bank of America CHILDREN’S TOUR brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. The BACKSTORY Program brings history to life as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. 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.


SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

PRESENTS

Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher From the story by Henry James Directed by Michael Barakiva

DIRECTED BY Michael Barakiva SCENIC DESIGN BY

Shoko Kambara

COSTUME DESIGN BY

LIGHTING DESIGN BY

Suzanne Chesney

Thomas C. Hase

The Man The Governess

FEATURING

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Curzon Dobell Kristen Sieh


“Theatre brings life to life.” Zelda Fichandler

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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

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Founding Artistic Director Arena Stage, Washington DC

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elcome! 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 unpredictablilty. 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!

Audience

Etiquette

RESPECT OTHERS

Please remind your students that their behavior and responses affect the quality of the performance and the enjoyment of the production for the entire audience. Live theatre means the actors and the audience are in the same room, and just as the audience can see and hear the performers, the performers can see and hear the audience. Please ask your students to avoid disturbing those around them. Please no talking or unnecessary or disruptive movement during the performance. Also, please remind students that cellphones should be switched completely off. No texting or tweeting, please. When students give their full attention to the action on the stage, they will be rewarded the best performance possible.

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).

STAY WITH US

Please do not leave or allow students to leave during the performance except in absolute emergencies. Again, reminding them to use the restrooms before the performance will help eliminate unnecessary disruption.

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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

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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 others. Give them an objective to fulfil despite environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

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 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?

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

WRITING VISUAL ART/DESIGN MUSIC/SOUND DANCE/MOVEMENT

INQUIRY

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

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 do their ages/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. 6


SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

The atr e

Most plays (including New Kid) 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, texture,

direction and curve. There are 5 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 freeform.

FORM is three-dimensional. It encloses space

and fills space. It can be geometric (e.g. 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

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).

APPLIED LEARNING

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. 7


SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

A LETTER FROM THE EDUCATION DIRECTOR

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

Sincerely,

Lauren Unbekant Director of Educational Outreach

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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

The

Turnof theScrew

by Jeffrey Hatcher is based on Henry James’s 1898 gothic novella of the same name. The story concerns a young Governess who ventures to an English country estate to care for Miles and Flora, orphans living under the care of their wealthy but distant uncle. Upon her arrival, the Governess learns of the sudden deaths of the children’s previous caretakers, whose presence now haunts the home and seduces all who remain. It is her gravest charge, the Governess decides, to rid the lingering ghosts from the hallways of the home and the minds of its inhabitants.

About t Authors he

HENRY JAMES, THE NOVELIST: Born in 1843

in New York City, Henry James spent his youth traveling back and forth between Europe and America. At 21 years old, after a brief stint at Harvard Law, James published his first short story, A Tragedy of Errors, officially marking the beginning of his work as a writer. His prolific publications included 22 novels, 15 plays, two full length biographies, and two volumes of childhood memoirs. James died in 1916 in London at the age of 72.

Several Hollywood films have been based upon Henry James’s work, including The Lost Moment and Wings of the Dove.

JEFFREY HATCHER, THE PLAYWRIGHT: Jeffrey Hatcher grew up in Ohio and attended

New York University, where he briefly studied acting before turning his hand to writing. In addition to The Turn of the Screw, his many award-winning original plays have been performed on and off Broadway and regionally across the US and abroad. They include Compleat Female Stage Beauty (which he also adapted for the screen), Three Viewings, Scotland Road, Neddy, Korczak’s Children, A Picasso, Mercy of a Storm, Work Song (with Eric Simonson), and Lucky Duck (with Bill Russell and Henry Kreiger). Hatcher wrote the book for the Broadway musical Never Gonna Dance, based on the film Swingtime, and co-authored with Mitch Albom the stage version of the bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie. A four-time participant at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, he is a member of the Dramatists Guild, New Dramatists, The Playwrights’ Center, and the WGA and author of The Art and Craft of Playwriting.

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Content © 2010 Two Turns Theatre Company


SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

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Characters The Governess

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A twenty-year-old woman who has been put in charge of educating and supervising Flora and Miles at the country estate of Bly. She has had a very sheltered upbringing and little life experience. Her new job puts an immense responsibility on her, since she has no one to supervise or help her. She is extremely protective of her charges and hopes to win her employer’s approval. She views herself as a zealous guardian, a heroine facing dark forces.

Mrs. Grose

A servant who acts as the governess’s companion and confidante. Mrs. Grose, who is illiterate, is very aware of her low standing in comparison with the governess and treats the governess with great respect. Mrs. Grose listens patiently to the governess’s constantly changing theories and insights, most often claiming to believe her but sometimes questioning whether the ghosts are imaginary or not. Mrs. Grose cares deeply about Flora and Miles and consistently defends them against the governess’s accusations. http://www.commonwealtheatre.org/pdfs/Turn_of_the_ Screw_Study_Guide.pdf

Miles

A ten-year-old boy, the elder of the governess’s two charges. He is expelled from school for an unspecified reason, and although he seems to be a good child, he often hints that he is capable of being bad.

Flora

An eight-year-old girl, the younger of the governess’s two charges. Flora is beautiful and well-mannered, a pleasure to be around. She never speaks and Mrs. Grose explains that she has in fact not spoken a word since she and Miles discovered the dead bodies of the former governess Jessel and the valet, Quint.

The Children’s Uncle

The governess’s employer, a bachelor who lives in London. The uncle’s attractiveness is one of the main reasons the governess agrees to take on her role at Bly. The uncle is friendly and pleasant, likely rich, and successful in charming women. He hires the governess on the condition that she handles his niece, nephew, and all problems at Bly herself, without ever bothering him.

Peter Quint

A former valet at Bly. According to Mrs. Grose, he was Miss Jessel’s lover and was inappropriately “free” with both Miles and Flora. The governess believes Quint’s ghost is haunting Bly with the intention of corrupting Miles.

Miss Jessel

The governess’s predecessor. Mrs. Grose describes Miss Jessel as a lady, young and beautiful but infamous. Miss Jessel apparently had an inappropriate relationship with Quint, who was well below her class standing. The governess believes Miss Jessel’s ghost is haunting Bly with the intention of corrupting Flora. Content © DVxT Theatre Company

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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

The James Family and Syracuse By Joseph Whelan

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James Street, Syracuse, N.Y. | Photo Print; Date Created/Published: c1901; Part of: Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection http://www.encore-editions.com/james-street-syracuse-n-y/photo-print

A young governess, newly hired to care for two children on a remote English estate, begins to see apparitions of a man and a woman. She learns the spectral figures she sees once worked as caretakers on the estate. She starts to fear that these revenants intend to harm the innocent children. She knows she must protect them. Such is the tale of mystery and menace fashioned by the great American novelist Henry James in The Turn of the Screw. A spine-tingling theatrical version of this gripping psychological thriller, adapted by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, opens the 39th Syracuse Stage season on September 23 (previews begin September 21). In addition to providing a chance to enjoy James’ famous ghost story, this production of The Turn of the Screw offers an occasion to recall the James family ties to the city of Syracuse. This connection is the subject of a gallery display prepared by Dennis Connors of the Onondaga Historical Association that will be featured in the Storch Lobby during the run of the show. The history stretches back to 1824 when the novelist’s grandfather, William James, a prosperous Albany merchant and banker, bought the 250 acres that constitute much of what is downtown Syracuse today. At the time, the land, known as the Walton Tract, was little more than marshes and swamp, with three and a half buildings and about 250 inhabitants. One visitor said it was so desolate as “to make an owl weep to fly over it.” William James bought the property for $30,000, and with partners John and Isaiah Townsend and James McBride formed the Syracuse Company. The Company employed agents in Syracuse, Moses DeWitt Burnet and Gideon Hawley, and set about draining and grading the land. Streets in downtown Syracuse still bear the names of the partners and agents. By 1830, the property had been divided into 320 lots; some were sold, but many became profit-bearing rentals. At the same time, William James and his partners acquired the Syracuse Salt Company, which also proved quite profitable. William James, who arrived in America from his native northern Ireland with a “very small sum of money,” amassed a fortune said to be second only to that of John Jacob Astor. Initially, the terms of his will for disposing of his fortune excluded Henry James’ father, also named Henry. Henry, Sr. contested and received his share which included all the income-producing property in Syracuse, much of it on James and Salina Streets. “Leisured for life,” as he declared himself, Henry, Sr. led an unconventional life and encouraged his children, notably sons William and Henry and daughter Alice, to freely pursue their interests. The inheritance he passed to them supported their intellectual and artistic pursuits. William became a Harvard professor, physiologist and a world renowned philosopher and psychologist. Alice was a supremely accomplished diarist. And Henry produced some of the most important novels of his day, including that eerie psychological thriller, The Turn of the Screw.


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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

Discussion Topics

1. What are some of your favorite scary stories or movies? How are they similar to The Turn of the Screw? In what ways are they different? 2. Are the ghosts of Quint and Miss Jessel real, or do they exist only in the imagination of The Governess? How would changing your interpretation also change the way you feel about the story?

3. What do you think happens to Miles at the end of the story? Why does he collapse? 4. In the Henry James novella, Flora can speak and after she leaves Bly, the reader never knows what happens to her. In Hatcher‟s adaptation, the trauma of discovering Miss Jessel‟s body has made Flora mute and the audience learns that she spends her remaining days in an insane asylum. Why do you think that change was made? 5. Think about a favorite book or short story. If you wanted to put that story on the stage, what kinds of things would you have to change? Would that make the story better or worse, in your opinion? 6. As he adapted the story for the stage, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher specifically chose to write it for one actress to play The Governess and one actor to play all the other roles. Why do you think he did this? How would it change your interpretation of the story if you saw actual children playing Miles and Flora and actual adult actors playing Quint and Miss Jessel? 7. The play takes place indoors and outdoors, in the city and in the country. How are lights or set pieces used to create these different places on one stage? What other ways can you think of to achieve this effect? © Commonweal Theatre Turn of the Screw Study Guide http://www.commonwealtheatre.org/pdfs/Turn_of_the_Screw_Study_Guide.pdf

The play ends with a lot of unanswered questions. Did the Governess go mad, or were Quint and Jessel really haunting the children? What did Miles do to be expelled from school? Did the Governess kill Miles, or was his death the result of something supernatural?

Activity: The Trial of the Governess

TAKE IT TO COURT! Divide your class into three groups. One group will defend the Governess and argue that she has committed no crime; her actions were justified as the children and the estate were clearly haunted by Quint and Jessel. Another group will prosecute the Governess, arguing that ghosts are not real and that young Miles died by her hand. The third group will serve as the jury and must carefully consider the cases and evidence presented by both sides. Your teacher will assume the role of the magistrate and will maintain order in the court and sentence the Governess according to the jury’s decision. Use the text as evidence to support your case (the script can be purchased at dramatists.com). Both sides are free to call characters in the play as witnesses (improvised by members of your group), but remember your opponents have the right to cross examine your witnesses as well. The jury’s job is to remain unbiased and reach a conclusion based solely upon the cases and evidence presented by each side. The majority of the jury must all agree on a ruling. 12

Content © 2010 Two Turns Theatre Company


LEARN MORE...

SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12

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ChildDrama.com http://www.childdrama.com/lessons.html

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ArtsWork.com http://artswork.asu.edu/arts/teachers/resources/theatre1.htm

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TEACHING THEATRE/ARTS

Educational Theatre Association http://schooltheatre.org/ Kennedy Center http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons.aspx Viola Spolin http://www.spolin.com/ Princeton Online Art Lesson Plans http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/Files/elements.htm

SOURCES AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES The Turn of the Screw, Henry James, First published 1898. Henry James: The Mature Master, Sheldon M. Novick, Random House Publishing, 2007 The Turn of the Screw: A History of its Critical Interpretations 1898-1979, Edward J Parkinson, 1991 The Henry James Resource Center: historyspark.com/james/ History of The Turn of the Screw Critical Interpretations: www.turnofthescrew.com The Turn of the Screw Performance Guide, Joseph McCormack and Lisa Mitchell, Two Turns Theatre Company: http://twoturns.com/pages/images/TOTSPerformanceGuide.Brevard.V1.pdf http://www.twoturns.com/ The Turn of the Screw Study Guide, Tindyebwa, Mumbi, DVxT Theatre Company: http://www.dvxt.com/documents/turn_of_the_screw_study_guide.pdf http://www.dvxt.com/ The Turn of the Screw Study Guide, Commonweal Theatre Company http://www.commonwealtheatre.org/pdfs/Turn_of_the_Screw_Study_Guide.pdf http://www.commonwealtheatre.org/

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SYRACUSE STAGE TURN OF THE SCREW STUDENT STUDY GUIDE 2011-12


The Turn of a Screw: A Ghost Story