Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Homeschool and the Theatre

One of the cool things about homeschooling my children and being involved with the Empress Theatre is that we can build our curriculum around the shows we're working on. It can be pretty amazing where this process can take you. For example...

  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is obviously set in 1850 Oregon, so there's that whole slice of Amercian History to cover.

  • Seven Brides is based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Binet called "The Sobbin' Women" which is a wonderful way to get into the writings of Binet. "By the Waters of Babylon" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster" are a couple of my personal favorites.

  • "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is cited as an "unofficial" legal case in The United States ex rel Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff (54 F.R. D. 282 - 1971), which opens up discussions about legal jurisdiction and procedure. Can a man actually sue Satan?

  • Binet's story, in turn, is based on The Rape of the Sabine Women, from Plutarch. This opens up the history and mythology of the founding of Rome.

  • The notion of bride kidnapping has been practiced in many parts of the world, and still is in some parts of the lower steppes of Asia and parts of Africa. This is a stepping off point for discussions of different marriage customs, morals, and scruples. Did you know that the tradition of carrying the bride across the threshold dates from the custom of kidnapping her first?

  • The "rape" in The Rape of the Sabine Women means to abduct or kidnap, and has nothing to do with the modern meaning of sexual violation, which leads to discussions of how our language changes over time. Since it comes from the same Latin root (Raptio) that is the source for "rapture," "rapine," "rapacious," "ravish," and "raptor," we can expand vocabulary.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

So here's this week's trivia question, just for Leisa: Be the first to tell me who painted the picture accompanying this post, and where it hangs and you'll get two tickets to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

1 comment:

Ginny Williams said...

Tad, I did not know all this history behind one of my favorite musicals. thanks for sharing that, and gives me some reading material this summer.
I too have found it fun and exciting to base a large portion of our homeschool off of Empress productions. since getting involved with the Empress, my son has directed some of our learning in that direction because it is something he is interested in, and we get our "Arts" subject all at the same time.