Beauty and the Beast
Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

As you scroll through this guide you will find curriculum connections, notes from the artist, discussion questions, units of study and more. You will also be able to click on any templates, worksheets and/or graphic organizers. If you wish to create your own lesson plan from the study guide copy, we have created a lesson plan template for your use. We hope you will find this guide to be a useful resource. Should you have any questions or feedback or have inquiries about the use of this guide (which is copyright protected), please feel free to contact Karen Gilodo, Associate Artistic Director, Education at kgilodo@youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

This study guide was written by Claire Rouleau currently performing in Beauty and the Beast. She is also a Resident Artist Educator for YPT’s 2017-18 Season.

THEMATIC OVERVIEW

“Tale as old as time, finding you can change, learning you were wrong…”
– Mrs. Potts

Beauty and the Beast is a well-loved story about transformation and what it is to be human. It fits well into YPT’s 2017/18 season theme of “Finding Yourself”. The characters in this show are struggling to accept themselves and each other within the communities where they live. As Belle and the Prince learn to love, they are able to assist one another in becoming more compassionate versions of themselves.

We hope this study guide will help you to prepare students for the play and more fully integrate the performance into your curriculum. The pre-show lessons encourage reflection and engagement with some of the show’s central themes through creative writing, group exercises and discussion. The activities focus on what it means to be oneself and to shape an identity based on more than one’s appearance. The post-show unit examines the complexity of the relationships in the show and invites students to re-imagine scenarios and choices characters make from the play using scene work, improvisation and visual art.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

  • The Arts (Drama, Music, Dance, Visual Arts)
  • Kindergarten (Belonging and Contributing, Self Regulation and Wellbeing, Problem Solving and Innovating)
  • Social Studies (Heritage and Identity, Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities, People and Environments, The Local Community)
  • Language (Writing, Media Literacy)

Click here for specific curriculum connections.

CHARACTER EDUCATION CONNECTIONS

  • Fairness
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Respect

THEMES

  • Being true to oneself
  • Finding where you belong
  • Self discovery and change through positive relationships

SYNOPSIS

In this ‘tale as old as time’ an Enchantress places a curse on a selfish prince and all his servants that transforms them all, but can only be undone if he learns to love another and earns their love in return. Belle is a young woman from a nearby town, who feels that she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the townspeople. Belle lives with her father Maurice, an inventor who sets off on a trip to a competition to exhibit his latest invention. On his journey, Maurice becomes lost in the forest and stumbles upon a castle. While looking for help he is instead taken prisoner by the Prince (turned Beast). Concerned, Belle searches for her father, finds the castle, and her father who is not in good health. She makes a deal with the Beast to take the place of her father as prisoner. Once in the castle, Belle meets the servants who have all been turned into enchanted objects. Desperate to regain their humanity, the servants try to make Belle feel at home and open her heart to the Prince so that spell can be broken. Meanwhile Gaston, the town hero, is determined to marry Belle and destroy the Beast. What unfolds is a journey of self discovery, exploring what it means to be compassionate and learning to see beyond difference.

HISTORY

This popular story originated as a French fairy tale called ‘La Belle et la Bête’ by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve in 1740. It was later adapted with a focus on moral teaching by another French author and governess, Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont in 1756. Disney’s 1991 film and musical adaptation was a hit and became its first successful attempt to turn their animated films into live theatre with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and the book by Linda Woolverton. This musical opened on Broadway in 1994 and ran for 13 years.

GLOSSARY

Character
A person or animal in a story, novel, or play.

Community
A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, such as social values and responsibilities.

Director
A person who is responsible for the overall production of a show – usually with responsibility for casting actors, leading rehearsals, and collaborating with the designers.

Diversity
Showing a great deal of difference; a variety of kinds of things or people.

Designer
A person who is responsible for the concept and execution of one or more design elements in a show (i.e. props, sound, costumes, lights).

Fairy Tale
A children’s story about magical and imaginary beings and lands.

Illusion
A deceptive appearance or impression.

Moral
A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience.

Responsibility
An obligation; a required action.

Transform
To make a marked change in form, nature, or appearance.

Humanity
Compassionate, empathetic or generous behaviour; also, the quality or state of being human.

 “Lefou, I’m afraid I’ve been thinking.”-Gaston

“A dangerous pastime!”– Lefou

PRE-SHOW DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • What does it mean to be one’s true self?
  • What helps someone discover their true self? What discourages someone from being themself?
  • Why do people make judgments based on someone’s appearance?
  • What are some ways to demonstrate love for another person? For ourselves?
  • What makes for a positive community?
  • What is a fairytale? What do all fairytales have in common? What kinds of things do fairy tales teach?

PRE-SHOW UNITS OF STUDY

Pre-Show Warm-Up: Magic Mirror

“Do not be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.”– The Enchantress

“I know how it feels to be different, and I know how lonely that can be.”– Belle

Objective

By engaging in this warm up exercise, students will re-evaluate making decisions based on appearances, and consider how to approach others with an open mind.

Materials

  • A space in which to move

Directions

  1. Ask students to sit in a large circle on the floor.
  2. Call out “Magic Mirror, Magic Mirror, show me everyone…” and insert a non-discriminative, appearance-based qualifier. (Ex: wearing blue, everyone with ponytails, everyone who has black hair)
  3. Explain to students that all those who meet the description of the qualifier, including the caller, must change places in the circle, forfeiting their spot and finding a new one. Whoever is left without a spot, calls out the next qualifier, “Magic Mirror, Magic Mirror, show me everyone…”(Younger students may need the teacher to continue calling out qualifiers, or for groups who may require more sensitivity, teachers are encouraged to continue calling the qualifiers while those in the centre look for a new spot). Encourage those that do not meet the qualifier to observe and try and remember those that do. This portion of the game can continue as long as you like.
  4. At some point as the game unfolds, announce the second portion of the activity and make a change in the qualifying request. No longer is it an appearance-based qualifier, but it can be anything else that is not appearance-based. (Ex: everyone who loves the color purple, everyone who has a pet rabbit, everyone who has moved houses more than once, etc.) Be sure to provide several examples in order for players to grasp the change.
  5. Continue playing with this adjustment for as long as you like and segue into the debriefing questions.

Debriefing Questions

  • What did you learn about others in the first round of the game?
  • What did you learn about others in the second round of the game?
  • Which version of the game did you prefer?
  • Were you surprised about anything you learned?
  • Why do people make judgments based on appearances?
  • What is the relationship between our inward and outward selves?

Magic Mirror Extension: Technology and Social Media (Grades 5-8)

For a challenge, give students only ten seconds to create their portraits, and count them down. You can also challenge students to communicate without words to create their family portraits.

Materials

  • Magazines, Newspapers to be cut up
  • Printed copies of Appendix A
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Distribute the attached worksheet (Appendix A) to students.
  2. Have students create an internet profile as they might like to appear to strangers online.
  3. Ask them to choose and list three qualities that they would like to use to represent themselves to others.
  4. Invite them to choose photos from provided magazines that they might want to use as their own profile picture. Have students hang the profiles around the room, or on a chalkboard and see if it is possible to deduce which belongs to each student as a class.

Debriefing Questions

  • Were there any qualities that came up often on the created profiles?
  • Why did you choose the qualities and photos that you did to represent yourself?
  • How might you have changed the qualities or photos for an audience of friends? Of teachers? Of parents?
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the Prince’s servants are turned into objects that amplify one aspect of themselves, which might be limiting. For example, Cogsworth is very organized and inflexible, therefore he is a clock. Mrs. Potts is hospitable and nurturing, hence an ever-serving teapot. How might the qualities you chose for your profile limit you?
  • The characters in the play don’t get to choose the qualities that come to define them. How is this different from getting to select your own profile picture or bio? Does this ever happen in real life with an image or label being chosen for you?

Pre-Show Exercise: Help! Advice Needed

“Do you think I’m odd?”– Belle

Objective

Through participation in this exercise, students will empathetically respond to the concerns of others using critical thinking and imagination through writing.

Materials

  • Loose-leaf Writing Paper
  • Pens and Pencils
  • Scissors and Tape
  • Printed Copies of the HELP articles in Appendix B

Directions

  1. Distribute a ‘HELP’ article to each student, or read one out to the class to work on as a whole (pending age level). Read the introduction below to introduce the idea of the exercise.
  2. If distributing the articles, ask students to read the pleas for help and advice, and to respond to the best of their ability in the form of a letter. If reading one scenario as a class, read the ‘Help’ column aloud and brainstorm advice together to be included in a group letter.
  3. Once letters are written, we would love to hear what students might advise the characters of the show to do with the problems they face.

Introduction

Dear Students,

In our upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast, our characters are all on different personal journeys, struggling to stay true to themselves in the midst of problems and conflict. Below they have enclosed requests for your help and advice about the challenges they are facing. Please write back when possible with your thoughts and advice!

Many Thanks,

YPT

Pre-Show Culminating Activity: Design Challenge

At YPT, most costumes, props and sets are constructed in the basement of the theatre in the shops. Design and construction take many months of planning, research, creativity and collaboration. The director, who is the primary visionary for a show, and designers, who work to make the director’s vision real, must come together to address the challenges of the show they bring to life.

Objectives

Through participation in this exercise students will engage in creative problem-solving in relation to specific design elements and challenges of this production of Beauty and the Beast.

Materials

  • Markers, crayons or other writing utensils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Plain 8.5×11 sheets of paper

Directions

  1. Discuss the roles of a designer and a director in making a theatre production come to life.
  2. Encourage students to consider some of the challenges they might face to realize the imaginary elements of Beauty and the Beast live onstage. Prompt them to consider what the characters might wear, and how the world of the play would look, sound and feel.
  3. Ask students to choose one of the challenges below that the creative team at YPT may have encountered. Invite them to use their imaginations to invent a solution. Put it on paper, craft a design and welcome students to present their creative solutions to the class.

Beauty and the Beast Challenges:

  • You are directing the production of Beauty and the Beast. The story involves many characters but you only have 12 actors to work with. How do you tell the story involving townspeople, castle objects, wolves and main characters with so few people? How do you make the stage look like a busy “small provincial town” with a group of 12?
  • You are designing the costumes for Beauty and the Beast. Many characters in the story begin as part human/part object. How do you communicate this through their costumes and makeup? How do they transform from object to human?
  • You are designing the set for Beauty and the Beast. The story takes place in a few different locations: in a small town, a forest and in a huge castle. How do you represent different locations onstage?

POST-SHOW DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Why is the curse placed on the Prince? Why is it also placed on his servants?
  • What does the Prince learn in order to break the spell? Why does he need Belle to help him change?
  • What motivates Belle, the Prince and the townspeople to change?
  • Which character changes the most over the course of the play? Who changes the least?
  • What responsibility do we have to one another, to help each other be our best selves?
  • Why were Belle and her father, Maurice, made to feel like they didn’t belong among the townspeople?
  • What makes people fear difference?
  • Where do we see forgiveness in the play?
  • What does it mean to live “happily ever after”?

POST-SHOW UNITS OF STUDY

Post-Show Warm Up: Object Transformation

Objective

Through this exercise students will creatively and quickly work as a group to make physical transformations happen with their bodies.

Directions

  1. Divide students into groups of three to four.
  2. Assign each group a different object (Ex: car, TV, washing machine, etc) and ask them to work together to create such an object with their bodies.
  3. After each group has established what the configuration of bodies for their object looks like, ask them to share it with the entire class. Have the rest of the class (still in their small groups) copy what is being demonstrated. Together you are building a physical vocabulary of objects to use in the game
  4. Next, ask students to move around the room freely and disregard the group they were in, but to remember the poses necessary to create each object if called.
  5. Begin by calling out one of the objects. Students must make new groups on the spot to transform into the pose they learned for this object. If anyone is left out, or a group is missing a person to complete their object, challenge them to transform into a new object and add this physicality to the vocabulary for the game. The better the group making goes, the fewer additional objects to learn and remember.
  6. This can continue for as long as students are engaged and energized.

Debriefing Questions

  • What were some of the challenges of the game?
  • Was it easier to put together the object poses you had all learned together, or to create a transformation on the spot? Why?
  • How does this game reflect the challenges of changing in real life? Of breaking patterns of learned behaviour?

Post-Show Exercise: Communication Tactics (Grades 2-8)

“Just as long as you get what you want in the end!”– Lefou

Objective

This exercise challenges students to consider healthy modes of communication within varied relationships with others, and respectful approaches to resolving conflict through improv and scene work.

Directions

  1. Divide students into pairs.
  2. Within each group, have one person be ‘A’ and one person be ‘B’.
  3. Ask A to sit on a chair. Ask B to do everything they can (without being physical) to convince A to forfeit or leave the chair. Encourage them to behave as though it is of great importance, or create a fictional scenario with high stakes. It is A’s objective to try and stay on the chair for as long as they reasonably can.
  4. After B has had some time to try and get the seat, ask the partners to switch roles. Continue the game until A has had adequate time to try out some tactics.

Debriefing Questions

  • Did anyone succeed in winning the chair from their partner?
  • If so, what tactic worked? What did they do to get their way?
  • What tactics didn’t work?
  • What do you do to get what you want?
  • Does this change from person to person? How so? With parents? Teachers?

Post Show Exercise: Re-Scripting (Grades 2-8)

“Control your temper!”– Mrs. Potts

Materials

  • Printed copies of the attached scenarios (Appendix C)

Directions

  • Divide students into three groups.
  • Distribute copies of one of the three scenarios to each group.
  • Ask students to read through each scene and identify what each character wants and how they are trying to get it (as in the Communications Tactics activity leading up to this part).
  • Invite students to practice performing the scene as written.
  • Next, ask students to re-invent the scene with each character using a different approach to getting what they want.
  • Invite students to present both the first, original version of the scene, and the second adaptation. Discuss the differences.

Debriefing Questions

  • What kind of behaviour did you change in the second version of the scene? Was it more or less effective?
  • Why do the characters behave the way they do, in the original version of the scene?
  • Is there a noticeable change from the first scene to the second? If so, what does that change look like?
  • What emotions came up in the scenes?
  • What are some ways to manage our emotions or responses to others in our own lives?

Variation: Re-Scripting (Kindergarten-Grade 1)

Objective

Students will engage in discussing emotional regulation by critically thinking about a story and exploring it through drama and music.

Materials

  • Space to move
  • Printed copies of emotion signs and the scenarios (Appendix C)
  • Emotionally charged music. (Ex: Haunted house sounds for ‘Scared’, Slow moving classical tune for ‘Sad’, upbeat pop hit for ‘Happy’, Drum heavy stomping or pounding for ‘Angry’.)

Directions

  • Attach an emotion sign to each wall in the room, and identify them with students; Happy, Sad, Angry, Scared.
  • Read out one of the scenarios below, or create your own to stimulate thought about how emotions arise and how we respond to different scenarios. For each scenario, ask students “how they feel when…” and instruct them to move toward the emotion sign they most identify with that situation.
    Examples of scenario: “How do you feel when…”

    • all the lights are off in your bedroom and you hear monster sounds coming from under the bed?
    • you are served your favorite kind of ice cream for dessert?
    • your teacher gives you piles and piles of homework so you can’t go outside to play?
    • your parent or caregiver has to go away on a trip for work?
    • it’s your birthday and you get the gift you have always dreamed of?
    • a friend hides a snake in your shoe as a joke?
  • Play an angry sounding song and ask students to show you what it looks and sounds like to be angry while moving around the room. Do the same with the remaining three emotions.
  • After exploring dramatizing the emotions with body and voice, read the scene scenarios from Appendix C. Encourage students to join you in acting out the emotions in these scenarios (Ex: the Beast roared with anger).

Debriefing Questions

  • Do you ever feel really big emotions?
  • What happens when you feel really sad, mad, scared or happy?
  • How does it affect other people when you feel this way?
  • What are some ways to take care of your emotions and other people?

Post-Show Culminating Exercise: Keeping the Rose Alive

Objective

Students will reflect on how to be loving, compassionate and fair towards others and themselves, while reflecting upon strategies demonstrated in Beauty and the Beast. They will also employ creativity and artistic vision to create their own work of art.

Materials

  • Printed copies of the rose handout (Appendix D)
  • Scissors
  • Markers, Watercolors, Crayons, Pastels, any art materials available.

Directions

  • Distribute rose handout to students.
  • Prompt students to reflect about three ways they can “keep the rose alive” everyday:
    1. How they can love themselves.
    2. How they can love another person
    3. How they can love the world or their community.
  • After students have written in their answers, or had assistance writing their answers, encourage them to decorate and embellish their rose however they are inspired.
  • Please send photos of your roses to YPT, we would love to hear your ideas and see your creations.

APPENDIX

APPENDIX A: Magic Mirror

Click here to download.

APPENDIX B: HELP! Articles

Click here to download.

APPENDIX C: Re-Scripting Images & Scenarios

Click here to download.

APPENDIX D: The Rose

Click here to download.

SOURCES

Ontario Elementary Curriculum (Kindergarten, The Arts, Physical Education, Storytelling)

Oxford Dictionary Online

Wikipedia – Beauty and the Beast, the Musical

Adapted from ‘How to Write a Fairy Tale’