Lesson Plan Based on The King and I musical
Objectives: Students will argue against one of the controversial statements about the musical through research, using appropriate evidence, analysis and synthesis.
Aim: Why is the revival of The King and I a successful one? Why is it still relevant?
Do Now: Write freely in your notebook your reactions to the musical. You can share what you like about the musical and what you don’t like about it or you are not certain about certain aspects of the show, etc.
In order for us to have a fair understanding why Lincoln Center Theater revived the musical, we need to look into the history of the LCT’s revivals.
- What types of plays or musicals has LCT revived that caused controversies or brought about tremendous success?
- What do you notice about the LCT’S revivals or new productions? Any particular pattern? Theme? Genre?
- What kind of cultural venue is LCT?
- Who is the producer? What other plays has s/he produced? What does his repertoire represent?
Now, to gain a closer look at why the musical is relevant today, we need to research about the musical itself:
- Who wrote it? What is based on? What impact did the original production of the musical have on the American audience? Today?
- Why is the musical revival nominated for 9 Tony’s?
- How has the production changed compared to its 1956 production? The choice of actors/actresses? The costumes? The set? How do the changes reflect a more contemporary view of the producer’s? What political or cultural messages do the changes bring about? What kind of views does the producer want to share with his 21st century audience?
To argue against an opposing view, we need to do research to gather-
- positive comments theater critics have made about the musical
- negative comments and reasons
- reasons behind controversies
Student Independent Practice
Reflect and connect:
What’s so relevant about the revival? What lessons can we , 21st century young audience, learn from the musical? Make a list of the themes you can infer fromThe King and I, considering the characterization, conflicts, setting, and themes embedded in the lyrics.
Here are some of the themes elicited from student discussion-
- It’s a great challenge to meet different people’s expectations in a changing world(the prince).
- People have different ways of dealing with restrictive circumstances and showing their independence and creativity(wives).
- To make changes is difficult when one still lives in the same cultural and political setting governed by the same ideology ( King).
- It takes courage and sacrifice and fortitude to go against one’s culture and traditions( King).
- It is destructive when people are pulled by two vastly different cultural forces(King).
- Reform takes time and understanding( Conflict).
- Good leadership is based on traditions but willingness to break them when necessary( King and Prince).
Based on our research, here are some controversies surrounding The King and I produced by Lincoln Center:
- The King and I should not have been revived since it is irrelevant to today’s society.
- The portrayal of the King and Siamese women is racially biased and stereotyped.
- The portrayal of Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a play within the play, reflects a racist view toward black people.
- Minority people feel offended by the musical.
End of the Lesson Assessment: Why is the play relevant to you personally?
Homework: Write a response in a well-organized essay to argue against one of the controversies about The King and I. Be sure to include a bibliography.
12TH Grade Play adaptation Story List ( Please see an example of adaptation)
- “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (Avonna)
- “A Distant Episode” by Paul Bowles (Kimberly and Danraj)
- “Say Yes” by TobiaS Wolfe ( Cindy and Shedeene)
- “ A Good Man is Hard to Find” by O’Connor (Victor and Jocelyn)
- “The Yellow Wallpaper” ( Kayla and Alondra)
- ““ The Revolt of Mother”
- “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin (Enaila and Allison)
- “A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner
- “The Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce
- The Lottery Ticket by Shirley Jackson (Jaquan and Denicia)
- “Ligia” by Edgar Allen Poe (Kevin ad Ivan)
- The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell