LCT Lessons

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.

Mini Lesson

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 from The 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:

  1. The King and I should not have been revived since it is irrelevant to today’s society.
  2. The portrayal of the King and Siamese women is racially biased and stereotyped.
  3. The portrayal of Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a play within the play, reflects a racist view toward black people.
  4. 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.

 

Lesson Based on The Oldest Boy

Objectives:  Students will articulate the mother’s reasons why she let her son be taken away to an Indian Monastery to be a Tibetan reincarnated Lama by creating an scene between the mother and her daughter 10 years after the event.

Aim: Why does the Mother let her son be taken to India and become a Tibetan spiritual leader at the age of three?

Do Now:  Reflect back on the play, The Oldest Boy. Which specific scene, dialogues or idea stands out to you, whether because you strongly agree, disagree or still have doubts?

Activities:

  1. Share our reflections on the play. We may disagree with each other’s views. Jot down the views that you disagree.
  2. Let’s take a moment to think logically: why do I disagree with my classmates? What are my reasons? Jot them down. We will respond to each other’s views.
  3. Wrap our discussions about your reactions to the play.
  4. Now, we will focus on the Mother in the play. She is the centrifugal character. Some of you may still wonder why she has given up her son to the Tibetan Monastery in India to be a Buddhist spiritual leader at the age of three. Let’s make a list of her reasons based on your understanding of the play. The reasons can be explicitly stated or implied. You may state the reasons by describing her thoughts, speeches, dreams or internal conflicts, etc.
  5. We will share the reasons you have concluded. Jot down the reasons you hear from your classmates if you agree and add them to your list. Some reasons may not be so explicitly stated, which means that you may need to analyze the speech, thought or dream to help articulate her reasons for giving her son up to the Monastery.
  6. Now, Let’s imagine:  10 years have passed since her son was taken away to the Monastery. Her son is 13 and daughter 10. She feels compelled to tell her daughter why , 10 years ago ,she made the decision.  Also imagine: many things could have happened in 10 years. She may have gotten a divorce, or been visiting her son every year or not visited him since the day she had left India. Create a scene in which the mother will retell the story to her daughter and explain to her why she had let her son go and how she feels about the decision today.
  7. In groups of 4, discuss the possible scenario in which the mother will look back at her decision and try to explain to her daughter why she did it.

Your Task:

Create a dramatic scene in which the mother explains to her 10-year-old daughter why she gave her Tenzin away to a Monastery 10 years ago. Include stage directions, setting, dialogues between the Mother and Daughter and a Monologue by the mother. The scene takes place 10 years later. The setting can be the same as the one in the play or perhaps in Ohio or even India depending on what you believe will happen. The dialogue should only be between the Mother and Daughter and there should be at least one long monologue ( by the mother) that reveals deeply the her  thoughts and feelings about the decision she made 10 years ago. Be mindful that your imaginary scene should be a logical extension of the play.

 

Attach  a written explanation of the scene. For example, why you believe she is divorced or moved to India or remain where she was or why she feels remorseful or proud, etc.

Homework: The scene is due on Monday 12/22. Please type the scene and email it to me by the end of the school day on 12/22.

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