The third and culminating performance with Frank Theatre teaching artists Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer was February 26th in the South Ridge School forum. Students had been working for six weeks on storytelling activities, theatre games, building on writing skills and dissecting a story to find meaning – all of which aided them in the re-telling of The Pied Piper retold by the 3rd-4th grades, Three Strong Women retold by the afterschoolSTEAM students, 3rd-4th Grades, Anansi Searches for a Fool, Grade 7 Design and Anansi Plays Dead Grade 7 Design students.
Original music was performed by students as well which was composed by Twin Cities musician and educator Marya Hart. Lyrics were written by the students during a writing activity.
In the story of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” The town of Hamelin was full of rats and were unable to do anything. Even the cats were not able to kill the rats. One day, a fellow came to town called the Pied Piper. He went to the Mayor and asked him, “What will you pay me if I free your town of every single rat?” The mayor offered 10,000 coins. Happy with the offer, the Pied Piper started playing his pipe. Hearing the shrill, keen note, every rat came out from its hole and started following him into the water and waited till every rat had drowned.
Now the town was free. After all the rats were dead, the Pied Piper returned and asked the Mayor for his money. The Mayor said that he could only give him twenty pounds for such an easy job. Pied Piper wanted to teach him a lesson. This time he played a different tune. Hearing his music, the children came out of their houses as the Pied Piper led the children far, far away. The Mayor sent his men to look for the piper and bring the children back but none could find the lost children.
In the story of the “Three Strong Women” tells of Forever-Mountain is a famous wrestler, smug and rather conceited–until he meets Maru-me. Along with her mother and grandmother, she shows him what real strength is. Under their tutelage, he gains not only physical prowess, but the humility of the truly strong. This version of the Japanese tall tale is filled with sly humor and witty exaggeration. The lesson of kindness being stronger than hate.
In the story “Anansi Searches for a Fool” the lazy Anansi, the famed West African trickster figure, decides to go fishing, he looks around for a fool he can convince to do all the work. Imagine his surprise when hawk, also known for his cleverness, offers to accompany him. Anansi continues to trick his other friends and family until they have had enough and run him out of town. This Ashanti folktale, which illustrates the point that “When you dig a hole for someone else, you will fall into it yourself,” is a humorous story of a trickster being caught in his own trap.
In the story, “Anansi Plays Dead”, There was a famine in the land and Anansi thinks about only himself. He began to plot out how he could have the best crops for himself. Usually West Africans always give the richest part of the animal to the “leader” or father of the house. Its kinda like the social class but modified/conformed to family ranked. So he tricks his family into thinking he is dead and they bury him in the richest part of the garde. Every night he sneaks out and eats until full. Eventually he is found out by his family and he feels so embarrassed. “From that day until now, Anansi has not wanted to face people because of their scoffing, jeering, and that is why he is often found hiding in dark corners.” When you have committed a crime in the town you are held to be very shameful. West African usually disowns people that they put to shame.
Background to the trickster Anansi/In west africa, a spider name Anansi wanted to be the owner of all the stories known in the world but the sky god names Nyame was the owner. Anansi asked Nyame can he buy them from him but Nyame told him that the price was too high. The price was 3 things and if Anansi were to complete them then he would be the owner of all the stories. Nyame needed to have hornets(Mmoboro), the great python(Onini), and the leopard (Osebo). Anasi didnt have any problems with capturing these 3 things because he tricked all of them.He made them all believe that he was helping out when he really wasn’t. When he had them in his ownership he called them foolish for falling for his trick. Nyame pronounced Anansi the owner of all stories and any man who told a story would have to acknowledge him.
Considerable effort was made by South Ridge teachers, district office administration and Frank Theatre teaching artists to provide this opportunity. By the Minnesota State Arts Board approving this Art’s Learning grant South Ridge was provided the opportunity.
The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency that stimulates and encourages the creation, performance, and appreciation of the arts in the state. The Arts Learning grant program offers funding for projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. Arts and culture are central to Minnesota’s educational system and lifelong learning opportunities. The arts develop creative minds that maximize new opportunities and find solutions to life’s challenges. In Minnesota, the arts industry is an integral part of the economy. Because of the arts, Minnesota communities are successful, dynamic, attractive places to live and work.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.