Thursday, July 7, 2011

Holidays & Kids Plays

There may be no better teaching tool than to involve children in a play, especially when there is no stress and it is actually "play" itself. This year, with no time for rehearsal or learning lines or making costumes, we cobbled together enough historical fact and fun and makeshift costuming to have an absolute ball.
With 12 grandchildren participating, the 2 older teens, who helped with staging and the 10 little ones, ages 2 to 11, we found roles for everyone. A granddaughter, with a chest of treasure, was wrapped in a bathrobe and crowned with foil-covered poster board. Here she is studying the lines of "tax and tariff" King George.
Act I, Boston Harbor, 1773: the teens slide the jon boat into the scene where tea from Great Britain is to be unloaded but the cost is too great.
The colonists suggest that some dress as Indians, to board the ship and throw the tea into the harbor. After the teens pull the jon boat back out of the scene, our little Indian, dressed in dishtowels and with a feather in a headband, sneaks across the scene after the jon boat.
At the close of the scene, the colonists having declared "We'll just drink COFFEE", the participants take their bows.
A last minute thought for distinguishing the founding fathers and players of import was the addition of "powdered wigs" which were nothing more than plastic grocery bags gathered at the back and tied with strips of black fabric. Signs were worn by two of the players identifying them as Paul Revere and Patrick Henry.
A step ladder was used for the church tower in which two lanterns were lit, signifying that the British were approaching across the Charles River and not by land sending Paul Revere to ride his stick pony into the audience whispering to each member to secure their arms because the British were coming.
Having learned recently that Paul Revere was actually arrested by the British and warned them not to go into Lexington allowed us to insert an actual quote of another Colonial prisoner as the Lexington church bells (our dinner bell) rang out, "The bell's a'ringing! The town's alarmed, and you're all dead men."...and our "red coats" fled.
Whereupon our powdered wig clad, Colonial notables gathered to write the Declaration of Independence amid comical comments about it's length.
After some editing by Benjamin Franklin, the three older children read the entire document before the cast gathered for final bows.
It was fun. It was funny, historically accurate and memorable. What a great way to start a 4th of July celebration.

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