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Drama in education enables participants, either during the drama itself, or after the drama in a discussion, to look at reality through fantasy, to see below the surface of actions to their meaning.


-Betty Jane Wagner, Educational Drama and Language


heatreWorks thanks our generous donors to the Education Department. In the 2009/10 school year alone, the support of these donors enabled us to provide arts education to more than 14,000 students and approximately 650 teachers at 88 different schools through our TheatreWorks for Schools programs, the Children's Healing Project at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, as well as 1,300 adult learners through audience enrichment opportunities such as Discussion Wednesdays.

Foundations Avant! Foundation The Leonard C. & Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation The Michelson Foundation The San Francisco Foundation Sand Hill Foundation

Corporate Adaptec Air Systems Foundation, Inc. American Century Investments Foundation Applied Materials, Inc. C.M. Capital Foundation Dodge & Cox Investment Managers Intero Foundation JPMorgan Chase Foundation Luther Burbank Savings Microsoft Morrison & Foerster LLP Robert Half International, Inc. SanDisk Corporation


• For Teachers 2 • For Students: About the Production 3 • For Students: The Role of the Audience



Plot Summary and List of Characters 5 Notes from the Director: Talking to Giovanna Sardelli 6 Producing New Works: Talking to Meredith McDonough About the Author: Rajiv Joseph 8 About the Author: Three Questions with Rajiv Joseph 9


CONTEXT • • • • • • • • • •

America, Post 9-11: The Roots of Stereotypes 10 Activity—America, Post 9-11: The Roots of Stereotypes 11-12 The Middle East: Understanding the Region 13 Worksheet—America, Post 9-11: Making Connections 14 Compare and Contrast: “The Two Americas” 15 Activity—Compare and Contrast: Collage 16 Bullying & Peer Pressure: What You Need to Know 17 Bulling & Peer Pressure: Resources 18 Activity—Redemtion & Forgiveness 19 Worksheet—Understanding Theme 20

RESOURCES • Resources and Additional Reading




he student matinee performance of The North Pool will be held on March 30th, 2011 beginning at 11:00 am at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. The play is approximately 75 minutes long. The play will be followed by a discussion with actors from the show.

Student audiences are often the most rewarding and demanding audiences that an acting ensemble can face. Since we hope every show at TheatreWorks will be a positive experience for both audience and cast, we ask you to familiarize your students with the theatre etiquette described on the “For Students” pages.

HOW TO USE THIS STUDY GUIDE This guide is arranged in worksheets. Each worksheet or reading may be used independently or in conjunction with others to serve your educational goals. Together, the worksheets prepare students for the workshops, as well as seeing the student matinee of The North Pool produced by TheatreWorks, and for discussing the performance afterwards. Throughout the guide you will see several symbols: Means “Photocopy Me!” Pages with this symbol are meant to be photocopied and handed directly to students.

Means “English Language Arts.” Pages with this symbol feature lessons that are catered to California State English Language Arts standards.

Means “Theatre Arts.” Pages with this symbol feature lessons that are catered to California State Theatre Arts standards.

Means “Social Studies.” Pages with this symbol feature lessons that are catered to California State Social Studies standards.




s an audience member, you mostly see the actors on stage. However, it takes many people to make a production possible. From the director to the designers to the stage managers to the carpenters, there are dozens of people working behind the scenes to make the performance run as smoothly as possible.

Here are several people at TheatreWorks who make our productions run smoothly.

MEET...THE DIRECTOR Giovanna Sardelli. It is the director’s job to help guide the actors through the story, blocking the show and working with the actors to figure out where they should be and what moods or tones are appropriate at what times. They also coordinate the lights, costumes, sets, props, and sound with the designers. Giovanna directed The North Pool in TheatreWorks' New Works Festival and the world premieres of Rajiv Joseph's Animals Out of Paper (Joe A Callaway Award, Outstanding Director), All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre), The Leopard and The Fox (Alter Ego), and Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre). She received her MFA from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU and graduated from their Director's Lab. She is on the faculty of the Graduate Acting Program and the Department of Dance at NYU.

One of the things I find so interesting about Rajiv is that he writes imperfect people. Their humanity is revealed in their flaws. He doesn't always make it easy for us to find salvation or resolution and I like that about his writing.

Theatreworks costume shop before beginning a “build.”

~Giovanna Sardelli


Rebecca Muench. It is the stage manager’s job to make sure that everything runs smoothly during both rehearsals and performances. Once the show opens, the stage manager maintains the artistic vision of the director throughout the run, and calls all thelights sound and scenery changes in the show from the light booth.

I’m so excited about working on this new play. It is set in such a bleak, cinder block environment but at the end there must be a ray of hope, so there will be a ray of light that comes in at the end. ~York Kennedy,

The North Pool Lighting Designer

MEET...THE LIGHTING DESIGNER York Kennedy. It is the lighting designer’s job to set the mood of the play and help create the world of the play using lights.

MEET...THE DRAMATURG Vickie Rozell. It is the dramaturg’s job to research anything and everything about a play. Is a character based on a real person? Do characters reference a specific event in the play? The dramaturg collects information that answers these questions and then shares this information with the actors, director, and designers.

Joshua Rose, TheatreWorks Assistant Stage Manager and carpenter, building a set.




ll the work that goes into a production would mean nothing if there wasn’t an audience for whom to perform. As the audience, you are also a part of the production, helping the actors onstage tell the story.

When the performance is about to begin, the lights will dim. This is a signal for the actors and the audience to put aside concerns and conversation and settle into the world of the play.

The performers expect the audience’s full attention and focus. Performance is a time to think inwardly, not a time to share your thoughts aloud. Talking to neighbors (even in whispers) carries easily to others in the audience and to the actors on stage. It is disruptive and distracting. There is no food in the theatre: soda, candy, and other snacks are noisy and, therefore, distracting. Please keep these items on the bus or throw them away before you enter the audience area. There are no backpacks in the theatre. Walking through the aisles during the performance is extremely disruptive. Actors occasionally use aisles and stairways as exits and entrances. The actors will notice any movement in the performance space. Please use the restroom and

take care of all other concerns outside before the show.

Pagers, watch alarms, and other electronic devices should be turned off before the performance begins. When watch alarms, cell phones, and pagers go off it is very distracting for the actors and the audience. Please do not text during the performance, as it is distracting to the audience members around you.

What to bring with you: Introspection Curiosity Questions Respect An open mind

What to leave behind: Judgements Cell phones, etc. Backpacks Food Attitude

On the left, Blythe Foster, on the right, Cathleen Ridley speak to students after a student matinee performance of To Kill a Mockingbird.


PLOT SUMMARY Please be advised that this play features mature language and discusses adult themes.


he North Pool is a world premeire play by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Rajiv Joesph. The play depicts a real-time conversation between Vice Principal Dr. Danielson and Syrian transfer student Khadim Asmaan. Never leaving Danielson’s office at Sheffield High School, the two get to know each other and uncover the truth about how their lives are interconnected.

During the meeting, Dr. Danielson’s first concern is that Khadim, a recent transfer to the high school, has been cutting class. With both of his parents working in the shipping industry on a trip to Saudi Arabia, no one is home to monitor Khadim but, because he is 18 years old, he is legally allowed to live alone. After a string of pranks and vandalism culminating in a bomb threat, Dr. Danielson is looking for the culprit and Khadim’s suspicious behavior puts him on Danielson’s radar. Dr. Danielson’s next concern is with what he discovered in Khadim’s locker down in an area by the North Pool—clothing, PVC pipe, and bird antibiotics. Khadim has been selling the contraband out of his locker. Deflecting the blame, Khadim focuses on repeating rumors about Dr. Danielson, saying that his fiancé , a former teacher at the school, left him because she caught him watching a DVD showing Lia Winston, Khadim’s classmate and friend, having sex with four students from Sheffield. Khadim continues to accuse Dr. Danielson of having an inappropriate relationship with Lia. In turn, Dr. Danielson produces Lia’s cell phone, which she left in his office on the day she took her own life. The phone is a catalyst, pushing Khadim to divulge the details of the day Lia died. Khadim explains that, in an effort to help Lia get the money she and her family needed, he set her up with a chance to make $5,000 by attending a party. At the party, Lia is violently and sexually assaulted and the incident pushes the already fragile girl to take her own life. With the secret finally out in the open, Khadim lets his guard down for the first time and he and Dr. Danielson find themsleves on a level playing field—both mourning Lia’s death but able to begin to forgive each other for their role in the event.


Adam Poss as Khadim Asmaan

Remi Sandri as Dr. Danielson

I guess I hope an audience comes away from the play thinking about it and talking about it. The plays that touch me and move me and disturb me always stay with me for a long time. That would be my biggest hope, to have an audience member thinking about what they saw and heard a day or a week or a month later. ~Rajiv Joseph




e asked TheatreWorks’ Director of New Works, Meredith McDonough, about what it is like to work with new playwrights and bring new pieces of theatre to life.

As the Director of New Works, what draws you to a new piece of theatre? What do you like most about producing new plays and musicals?

As the Director of New Works, I'm drawn to plays where the unique voice of the playwright shines through. Whether it's their wacky sense of humor, or their vivid imagination, or their use of poetic language, it is that one-of-a-kind sparkle that stays with me long after I've read the play. In the case of The North Pool, it was the intensity of the situation, and the constant surprises and broken expectations that litter the play that kept me on the edge of my seat, even from that first reading. Any piece of theatre that can keep me that viscerally engaged is one I must produce! When we saw how dynamic the play was as only a staged reading with very little rehearsal in our festival, we knew we wanted to bring it to the mainstage and let everyone in the TheatreWorks audience experience the intensity of the cat and mouse game between Khadim and Dr. Danielson.

What is your favorite part of working with new pieces of theatre? It is that moment when you realize you've found something truly special—that moment of discovering the voice of a writer or a composer that I love most about producing new works. I love being able to work with a writer to hone that story and give them the opportunity to explore new paths to deepen the story they want to tell. Engagement with artists on that level is the best part of my job.

In the case of The North Pool, it was the intensity of the situation, and the constant surprises and broken expectations that litter the play that kept me on the edge of my seat, even from that first reading.

Past New Works include:

Memphis, winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical

Daddy Long Legs,


toured the Midwest last fall with the TheatreWorks cast

currently playing at the Old Globe in San Diego




ew works present a unique challenge for a director, especially when the playwright continues to make changes to the script during rehearsal. We asked the director, Giovanna Sardelli, about this play and the difficult themes it explores.

In the current version of the play there is a third character we never meet, Lia Winston. What happens to her is shocking and touches on the use of contemporary electronic media to sexualize young females. Why is it important to create such high stakes?

We've actually spent the past week of rehearsal discussing what happens to her and adjusting the specifics of the event. What happens to her needs to be shocking on some level to penetrate Khadim and it also needed to be plausible. Reality TV is having an effect on our value system. Just look at The Jersey Shore.

As a female director, what do you feel about what happens to the young student? Though I am the only woman in the creative team, I don't think I felt any differently than the 3 men at the table. I am not only a female director but also a teacher at a University and, though what happens in the play is extreme, when my students share with me some of their experiences in high school I am often shocked.

Is there any metaphorical or symbolic value to the character of the girl and the fact that we never see her, only hear about her? I actually don't look at plays that way and I don't think Rajiv does either. These three characters aren't symbolic or metaphorical to us. They are three human beings. When I read a play I ask myself a series of questions: Do I believe these people? Do I believe this could happen? Do I care? Do I learn something at the end of this journey? While Lia is never seen, she is central to the action and I learn enough about her to care about what happened and to ask questions about how and why.

Do you think that the type of violence that is spoken about in the play has something important to say about high schools today or does it say something more political, or both? I think the issue is much larger than high school. I feel our entire value system is need of an overhaul. The average salary of a teacher in the US is less than $50k. Everyone on a reality TV show makes more than that. You only have to look at how successful its use is in the advertising industry. Until we can honestly answer the questions that teenagers are asking about sex and violence, without fear of repercussions, then we are leaving students to their own devices to come up with the answers. Or at least those students like Khadim and Lia who don't have parents involved and invested in their lives.

connections: In pairs or small groups, discuss the following questions: If your best friend posted a nude photo of herself or himself, what would you say or do? Why? Share your answers with the class. How many would council her/him to take it down? How many would not? Do a quick write on your thoughts about the electronic universe and its impact on self-esteem.




ajiv Joseph is an American playwright and finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Born June 16, 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio, to an Indian father and an American mother, Joseph spent his childhood in Cleveland before heading to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to earn a B.A. in Creative Writing. After college, he spent 3 years in the Peace Corps, living in Senegal, Africa, just north of the Gambian border. “Being in Senegal, more than anything else in my life,” Joseph said in the LA Examiner, “made me into a writer. It was my primary form of therapy.” Upon completing his Peace Corps service, Joseph moved to New York to pursue his writing career. He received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University in 2004. His first play, Huck & Holden, premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City in 2005. His Pulitzer Prize nominated play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, opens on Broadway in March 2011 staring Robin Williams. In addition to playwriting, Joseph also teaches in the Expository Writing program at NYU.

Being of mixed race and of Indian descent has influenced my writing, but just as any part of one’s identity can influence their creative work.

Being in Senegal, more than anything else in my life, made me into a writer. It was my primary form of therapy.

From the Los Angeles production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu / Los Angeles Times




heatreWorks Dramaturg Vickie Rozell sat down with playwright Rajiv Joseph to talk about the process a play goes through, from the first idea to the first workshop to the world premiere.

Where did you get the idea for the show? I attended Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio. That high school was and is enormous. There are a series of underground tunnels that stretch throughout the high school and, rumor has it, out into surrounding blocks. Many of these were blocked off with gates. Additionally, after over a year at that school, while walking up a back stairwell that I had never been in before, I peered through a window in a door and saw a pool. We had another huge pool—the South Pool—on the other side of the building, but I was astounded that after being at the school that long, I had never known there was another pool, on the second floor. I asked someone about it, and they told me it was The North Pool. The point being, my high school has always owned a mythic quality in my eyes. I still dream about it, being lost in it, and being surprised that it's bigger than I thought. Places that change you, that stay in your dreams—those places are always bigger than you thought.

When did you start writing the play? I started writing this play five years ago. The story has changed dramatically with each rewriting. It began as a two person play (the same two people as are now in the play). It expanded to a 6 person play. Then went back to two. Then it went to 3 characters. And now, finally it is back to two again. But the story now, and the story 5 years ago, are utterly different.

How much changed during TheatreWorks' New Works Festival last summer? Any examples? (cut sections? Added sections or speeches?) I used the festival to make the play one scene. It was several scenes in the prior draft. I suddenly felt that this was necessary, and it was.

My high school has always owned a mythic quality in my eyes. I still dream about it, being lost in it, and being surprised that it's bigger than I thought. Places that change you, that stay in your dreams— those places are always bigger than you thought.

Any other major changes that have occurred any time in the process? (additional characters cut? Other locations? etc.) We are two weeks from going into rehearsals, and there are several changes I still want to make. I love using the rehearsal process—the interactions with actors and the director—as a time to continually learn more about what I have written, and who these people are. I like writing. I love rewriting.




merica's relationship with the Middle East has long been a complicated one, even before the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11th, 2001. In the 1990s, the United States, along with a United Nations collation of 34 other countries, fought against Iraq in the Gulf War. After the terrorist attacks on 9-11 the relationship became even more complex and the United States went to war with Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. During this time there was a shift in America and around the globe. Security everywhere, in America and abroad, became paramount and identifying threats and those we consider to be the "other" became the focus. It is in a world of heightened security that Rajiv Joseph set his play The North Pool. In a New York Times interview, Joseph said that, "after 9-11, [he] saw such sweeping anti-Islamic sentiment here…Being American, at home and out in the world, became something to write about."

In 2001, the enemy was not a single country but a shadowy group of terrorists who came from many nations. Because all of the suspected terrorists were identified as Arabs or Muslims, many people viewed every Arab, every Muslim, and sometimes every foreigner with suspicion.

~Facing History and Ourselves Because there was no one person to blame, many people simply applied the negative attributes of a select few Arabs and Muslims to the entire population of the Middle East. This sort of stereotyping (placing a label on an individual or judgement about him or her based on the characteristics of the group) is called racial profiling. Like all stereotypes, racial profiling identifies that which is considered "other,” often assigning negative attributes to anyone we deem “different." Martha Minow, a law professor from Cornell University, says, "when we identify one thing as unlike the others we are dividing the world; we use our language to exclude, to distinguish—to discriminate." Not only since 2001 but nearly every time in the past 100 years we have sought to increase the protection of Americans on American soil, some people have looked to racial profiling as a means to bring about increased safety:

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During World War II, 110,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens were interned in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. In the 1940s and 50s, suspected American communists were "blacklisted" and unable to get work. After the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, the Immigration and Naturalizaiton Service was authorized to deport immigrants based on secret evidence.

David Cole, a Georgetown law professor, points out, "guilt by association and ethnic profiling encourage sloppy intelligence gathering and impede security efforts."


AMERICA, POST 9-11 ACTIVITY: THE ROOTS OF STEREOTYPES An ethnic group is a distinctive group of people within a country and who share a cultural heritage. Ethnicity can be the basis for feelings of pride and solidarity. But, like race, it can also be the basis for prejudice and discrimination. A prejudice has the following characteristics:

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It is based on real or imagined differences between groups. It attaches values to those differences in ways that benefit the dominant group at the expense of minorities. It is generalized to all members of a target group.

Discrimination occurs when prejudices are translated into action. For example, a person who says that all Mexicans are lazy is guilty of prejudice, but one who refuses to hire a Mexican is guilty of discrimination. Not all prejudices result in discrimination and some are positive, such as all Asian’s are good with math. But, whether positive or negative, prejudices have a similar effect—they reduce individuals to categories or stereotypes. A stereotype is a judgment about an individual based on the real or imagined characteristics of a group.

Read the essay on the following page. Then, discuss the following questions with a partner or small group. Record your answers below: Jeanne claims that even stereotypes that say good things about a community can be harmful. How did they affect the way she felt about herself? How did they affect the way she felt about other people, especially her fellow students?

What are some of the stereotypes about a group (ethnic, religious, or other) that you belong to? How do they affect the way you view yourself and other people?

Is social segregation a problem at your school? If so, what could you do about it?

from Facing History and Ourselves,


AMERICA, POST 9-11 ACTIVITY: THE ROOTS OF STEREOTYPES Jeanne Park is an Asian-American student at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. In this essay, she reflects on how stereotypes have affected her own life, and those of the people in her community.

Who Am I?


or Asian-American students, the answer is a diligent, hardworking and intelligent young person. But living up to this reputation has secretly haunted me. The labeling starts in elementary school. It's not uncommon for a teacher to remark, "You're Asian, you're supposed to do well in math." The underlying message is, "You're Asian and you're supposed to be smarter."

Not to say being labeled Intelligent isn't flattering, because it is, or not to deny that basking in the limelight of being top of my class isn't ego boosting, because frankly it is. But at a certain point, the pressure became crushing. I felt as if doing poorly on my next spelling quiz would stain the exalted reputation of all Asian students forever. So I continued to be an academic overachiever, as were my friends. By junior high school I started to believe I was indeed smarter. I became condescending toward non-Asians. I was a bigot; all my friends were Asians. The thought of intermingling occurred rarely if ever. My elitist opinion of Asian students changed, however, in high school. As a student at what is considered one of the nation's most competitive science and math schools, I found that being on top is no longer an easy feat. I quickly learned that Asian students were not smarter. How could I ever have believed such a thing? All around me are intelligent, ambitious people who are not only Asian but white, black, and Hispanic. Superiority complexes aside, the problem of social segregation still exists in the schools. With few exceptions, each race socializes only with its "own kind." Students see one another in the classroom, but outside the classroom there remains distinct segregation. Racist lingo abounds, leaving many confused, and leaving many more fearful than ever of social experimentation. Because the stereotypes are accepted almost unanimously, they are rarely challenged. Many develop harmful stereotypes of entire races. We label people before we even know them. Labels learned at a young age later metamorphose into more visible acts of racism. We all hold misleading stereotypes of people that limit us as individuals in that we cheat ourselves out of the benefits different cultures can contribute. We can grow and learn from each culture whether it be Chinese, Korean, or African-American.

from Facing History and Ourselves,




he North Pool is the story of a high school student from the Middle East living in America. In his conversation with Vice Principal Dr. Danielson, Khadim Asmaan's ethnic background becomes an important topic of discussion. Born in Damascus, Syria, Khadim spent an extended period living in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh. Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and is the largest city, with a population of 7 million people. In the city, as in all of Saudi Arabia, Islam is the most widely practiced religion. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are prohibited by law from practicing their religion in public. Saudi Arabia shares a border with both Jordan and Iraq and is the largest Arab country in the region. It also has the largest oil reserves in the world and is the world's largest exporter of oil. Saudi Arabia is also considered the birth place of Islam and home to its two holiest sites—the Masjid Al-Haram mosque in Mecca and and the Masjid Al-Nabawi mosque in Medina. Although Khadim spent a large amount of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, he considers himself Syrian. Syria is also a country in the Middle East, bordering Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq. It has a long history, dating back to the second century BC when the Romans controlled the area.

The capital of Syria is Damascus, also known as the “City of Jasmine.” According to archeologists, people have been living in the area since between 8,000 and 10,000 BC. The city is designated as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site for being “an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture, or human interaction with the environment.” Present day Syria has been the focus of controversy, as they are part of a 50 year old dispute over land with Israel. In 2006, Syria and Israel engaged in a 34-day military conflict over the land, resulting in many deaths and injuries.

Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria


AMERICA, POST 9-11 MAKING CONNECTIONS Take this short quiz about Arab Americans. Afterwards, discuss your answers with your classmates. Did everyone have similar answers? Did everyone have different answers? SHORT ANSWER 1. When you hear the term “Arab,” what words or images come to mind?

2. List three countries from which Arab Americans have immigrated. 1. 2. 3. 3. Name a prominent person of Arab descent for each of the following fields: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT SCIENCE SPORTS 4. List 3 words with Arabic origins. 1. 2. 3.

TRUE OR FALSE 1.______________Most Muslims in the U.S. are Arab Americans 2.______________Arab Americans live most in urban areas. 3.______________Most Arab Americans speak a language other than English in their homes.

from the Southern Poverty Law Center at


COMPARE AND CONTRAST “THE TWO AMERICAS� A letter from Ashleigh Hill, TheatreWorks for Schools Programs Manager.


was 14 when I first went to public school. Coming from a school of just 300 students total, I found myself in a school where the freshman class alone was 400 people. It was immediate culture shock. It felt like my universe, the world I knew about, had expanded over night. The first week was rough and confusing but it was nothing compared to the second week. The year was 2001 and September 11th was the second Tuesday of the school year. Before then, my understanding of the world around me was limited to the happenings of my small home town. The attacks on September 11th brought the scariest part of the world slamming into my consciousness. America, the seemingly safest place in the world, was now vulnerable and all of us living there became vulnerable as well. There were 3000 miles between my house and New York City, but that day everything suddenly felt much closer. I felt small. Before 9-11, tragedies like this always happened somewhere else. They were "over there" and since I was "right here" I wasn't in danger. The attacks on September 11th proved that wasn't true. Now, nearly 10 years later, I find it hard to remember what life was like before 9-11. I remember it in bits and pieces and things always seemed much simpler than they are now. After 9-11, things became infinitely more complex and complicated. I often feel like I live in 2 Americas, separated by a huge, dark chasm. Here are the beginnings of my collage of the two time periods.

Create your own collages in the activity on the next page.


POST 9-11



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Do research on two recent decades: 1986-1996 and September 2001-2011. Create collages that encompass each time. These collages might include clips from newspaper articles, images of sports teams, quotes from people who were born or died during the period, movie posters, images of politicians, album covers, etc. Once you’ve have created a collection of images from each time period, chose one of the two decades and, based on the images and quotes you researched, do a quick write about the material you’ve chosen. 1) list ideas about a person that might live in or with this material. 2) write down some of the thoughts that this person might be thinking. 3) think of a situation that this person might be in because of the material. Create a monologue from your quick write. A monologue is a speech given by one person. Share your monologue with a partner and do some rewriting if necessary. Present your monologue to the class. Once you are done, pass around the collage that inspired your monologue. As a class, compare and contrast collages. What is similar in each collage? What is different? Does each time period have a certain focus? What can we learn about the time period just from these collages?

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he North Pool tells the story of a young Syrian boy navigating his way through high school in America. At the center of this story is a secret about a female classmate, Lia Winston. Pushed into a corner through peer pressure and bullying, Lia feels there is no way to escape the situation in which she finds herself. Sadly, this sort of story is not uncommon in American high schools. Many teens feel pressure from their parents about how they should do in school, pressure from their friends and peers about how they should behave, and even pressure from the media about how they should act and look. This sort of pressure is called peer pressure and it is a form of bullying. Dan Olweus, creator of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, defines bullying as "being exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons‌.He or she has difficulty defending himself or herself [from these negative actions]."

There are many types of bullying:

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Verbal bullying including derogatory comments and bad names. Bullying through social exclusion or isolation. Physical bullying such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting. Having money or other things taken or damaged. Being threatened or forced to do things. Racial bullying. Sexual bullying. Cyber bullying (via cell phone or internet).

People who are bullied often experience depression, low self-esteem, health problems, poor grades, or suicidal thoughts and these effects can last long into their future. If you have ever been bullied, you aren't alone. A study done by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation showed that 83% of girls and 79% of boys report having experienced some form of harassment in their schools and 58% of students indicated that this harassment was physical. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, in a study of 16,000 American 6th-10th graders, nearly 60% indicated that they'd been subjected to rumors and almost 56% reported that they'd been hit, slapped, or pushed.

connections: after the show Lia Winston goes to extremes to be accepted by her peers. She cavalierly gives up her body, having sex with multiple students, to gain acceptance among her peers. Unfortunately, she ends up simply being used by the other students at the school. Knowing how her story unfolds, what things would you want her to know? In 2 pages or less, write a letter to Lia, giving her any information you think she should have had before going to the ravine. Be specific in your advice."




ullying and peer pressure exist everywhere, no where is immune. If you ever find yourself a victim of bullying know that you aren't alone. There are places to get help, even if all you need is someone to talk to. Below is more information on where you can seek help and advice.

Stop Bullying Now!

The US Department of Health and Human Services offers movies, games, and information about bullying and how to prevent it. More at

PACER Center's Teens Against Bullying

The National Bullying Prevention Center at the PACER Center has resources on how to spot bullying, how to spot it, and what you can do. More at

Youth Frontiers

Youth Frontiers is a non-profit organization that works with schools to make more positive school communities. More at

Eyes on Bullying

Eyes on Bullying is a tool kit to help parents and caregivers of school age children address bullying. More at

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

Dan Olweus is one of the leading experts in bullying prevention. He designed a program for schools to address and prevent bullying. More at

The Ophelia Project

The Ophelia Project serves youth and adults who are affected by relational and other non-physical forms of aggression, giving them tools, strategies, and solutions. More at


I-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to educating and empowering youth to make their internet experience safe and responsible. More at

Ryan Patrick Halligan Memorial

A memorial website for Ryan Patrick Halligan, a 13 year old boy who committed suicide after being the victim of cyber bullying. Information on cyberbullying, laws, and additional resources are available. More at


The Kristin Brooks Hope Center runs the National Hopeline Network, a 24/7 crisis hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE. Information and resources for veterans, college, students, spanish speakers, and more is available. More at




he North Pool ends on a note of forgiveness. But what exactly does that mean? The dictionary defines forgiveness as: 1a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for b: to grant relief from payment of 2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)

In pairs, talk about the act of forgiveness:

l l l l

When have you seen an act of forgiveness in your life? Have you ever said, "I'm sorry" to someone? Was it hard or easy? Have you ever received an apology? How did accepting an apology feel?

Take a poll:

l l

How many students felt forgiving was easy? How many hard? How many students felt receiving forgiveness was hard? How many felt it was easy?

Tally the results and then discuss them. What do we know about forgiveness based on the class’s responses?

connections: Read the lyrics to Redemption Song by Bob Marley. As a class, discuss the idea that forgiveness could mean freedom. Why? What other ideas do you think are contained in this song? Hand out Post-It notes. Write one or two sentences or phrases about a moment in your life where you saw or experienced forgiveness or unforgiveness. Write an impression, a sound, some words that you heard or said. Put these Post-Its in a hat and have each student pick a note and, in popcorn style (at random), have the students read out their Post-It note creating a poem as a class. Discuss the poem. What words or phrases stood out during the reading? Did the poem evoke any emotions or images? If there is time, split the class into small groups and have them create spoken word pieces or raps using the lines they pulled from the hat. Present these to the class.

Redemption Song by Bob Marley Old pirates, yes, they rob I; Sold I to the merchant ships, Minutes after they took I From the bottomless pit. But my hand was made strong By the hand of the Almighty. We forward in this generation triumphantly. [Chorus:] Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom? 'Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs, Redemption songs. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds. Have no fear for atomic energy, 'Cause none of them can stop the time. How long shall they kill our prophets While we stand aside and look? Ooh! Some say it's just a part of it; We've got to fulfill the book. [Chorus:] Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom? 'Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs, Redemption songs. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds. Have no fear for atomic energy, 'Cause none of them can stop the time. How long shall they kill our prophets While we stand aside and look? Yes, some say it's just a part of it, We've got to fulfill the book. Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom? 'Cause all I ever had: Redemption songs. All I ever had: Redemption songs. These songs of freedom, Songs of freedom.




t the end of The North Pool, both Khadim and Dr. Danielson face an important choice—do they continue to blame themselves for Lia Winston’s death or do they begin forgive themselves? The ability to forgive, especially in times of grief, is often difficult.

Read the following excerpt from the Project Happiness Handbook. Here, Aaron, a student from the U.S. reflects on the book Man's Search for Meaning by Vicktor Frankl. Then, write a response to Aaron’s paragraph. Do you think you could do what Vicktor Frankl did? Why or Why not? What can Khadim and Dr. Danielson learn from Vicktor’s example? Even in the incredibly inhumane and horrific situations there is always some potential for self-realization and unbelievable good. That thought always surprises me, no matter how many times I hear it. Viktor Frankl was a Nazi death camp survivor, yet after this horror, Frankl was not a broken man of lost faith. He somehow realized a new human potential in the midst of such despair. He makes me consider the possibility that even in the most devastating conditions, there is great opportunity for the human spirit. In his book, Man's Search for Meaning, he brings forth the notion that even though we cannot choose our circumstances, as conscious humans we have the ultimate power to decide our reactions to those circumstances. Granted, it takes a remarkable person to realize this when staring at hopelessness in the face, but the thought that it is possible can give hope and sustain one's faith in humanity. In reading his story I saw that even in the bleakest circumstances, with the right response, we can still find our humanity and ultimately happiness. from

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RESOURCES AND ADDITIONAL READING Baghdadi, George. "New Era in U.S.-Syria Relations?" Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. 15 Jan. 2001. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. Cole, David. "Liberties in a Time of Fear." The New York Times 25 Sept. 2001. Print. Gorov, Lynda. "Afghan Community in Fremont Angry, Uneasy." The Boston Globe 24 Sept. 2001. Print. Green, Andrew. "Why Syria Is America's New Target." Latest News, The Guardian. 17 Apr. 2003. Web. 02 Feb. 2011. "Harassment Free Hallways: How to Stop Sexual Harassment in Schools." American Association of University Women. 2002. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. "Identity, Religion and Violence: Us and Them | Facing History and Ourselves." Facing History and Ourselves. Web. 19 Jan. 2011. <>. Inskeep, Steve. "Young Muslim Americans Struggle with Identity." NPR News: Morning Edition. NPR. 14 Sept. 2006. NPR : National Public Radio. Sept. 2006. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. Lineger, Maria, and Randy Taran. Project Happiness Handbook. 2009. Print. Minow, Martha. Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990. Print. Monji, Jana. "Talking to the Man Behind the Tiger: Rajiv Joseph - Los Angeles Theater Reviews |" 13 June 2009. Web. 10 Jan. 2011. Nasel, PhD, Tonya R., Mary Overpeck, DrPhD, Ramani S. Pilla, PhD, W. June Ruan, MA, Bruce Simons-Morton, EdD, MPH, and Peter Scheidt, MD, MPH. "Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth." The Journal of the American Medical Association 285.16 (2001). The Journal of the American Medical Association. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. Tan, Safa Suling. "The Muslim News." The Muslim News. 24 Nov. 2006. Web. 20 Jan. 2011.


The North Pool Study Guide  

Teacher and student guide for TheatreWorks' world premier production of The North Pool, by Rajiv Joseph.