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Harriet Tubman Virtual Residency: Post Performance

Episode Focus Questions: How do theatre artists tell stories that capture our attention? Where do you see the fight against ignorance today?

Overview: Students will create a reflection map that shows their personal journey in watching Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and identify specific choices that the theatre artists made in order to capture their attention. They will then apply the tools they observed in the performance to create their own mini-play that addresses a current-day “fight against ignorance.” 

Students will:

  • Create a Reflection Map that shows their personal journey through the performance of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The map will identify 1.) a memorable moment and the choices the theatre artists made in that moment, 2.) something you learned, 3.) the main message and a moment in the show where that message was expressed, 4.) emotions you experienced personally, and 5.) questions that remain. 
  • Write a list of issues that people are fighting for now. Where do we see the fight against ignorance today?
  • Write a mini-play in 60 words or less that addresses a current issue you care about.
    • 1. Choose a Character: Select a person connected to that issue to be the main character in your play. This might be an activist, a scientist, a journalist, a witness - or a family member or neighbor. You are also welcome to create a fictional character.
    • 2. Write the Message (60 words or less): Decide what the message is that this person would like people to take away. These will be the character’s lines. As the playwright you get to write no more than 60 words for your character to speak, sing, rap, or recite in order to get this message across – so choose the most powerful words you can!
    • 3. Stage Directions: Describe how your character should enter the stage, stand, move or gesture. Playwrights add stage directions in (parentheses) to tell the actor what to do.

Describe the Setting: Describe how you’d like the stage to look. Where does your story take place? Would you like a realistic set, or something simple that just suggests the setting? What kind of lighting would set the mood? Again, borrow from the Harriet Tubman play. What choices were most effective for you – and how could you use those ideas here?

Extension Ideas: 

  • Take time to interview people and research the issues that students have selected.
  • Invite students to produce their mini-plays as live performances, videos, music videos, Tik Tok, etc. How could they share their stories with broader audiences in order to make a real-world impact?
  • Identify “Stories That Change the World.” Discuss which literature, news, personal stories, etc. the students feel have changed the world or saved lives.