Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wild Swan and Ugly Ducks!


Kindergartners ventured out to the Morris Lawrence Building at WCCC.  We purposely arrived early so that we could sneak out back and observe the scenic landscape.  We were also attempting to see some real geese or ducks prior to our Wild Swan Theatre production of "The Ugly Duckling."  After waiting and listening and looking at a very empty pond (save for a few ripples of water and some lily pads) we concluded that our feathered friends must have already flown south.  We saw no evidence of them at all and the brisk morning air provided a clue as to why they were gone.  

We decided to observe some of the other wild life growing around the pond's edges.  We also decided that we were indeed observing a "pond" versus a "lake" because the body of water was smaller than a lake and was enclosed on all four sides.   We looked closely around the perimeter of the pond and discovered cattails, a  small cluster of purple flowers, and a curious plant with "banana-like" pods growing from it.   Some of the pods were fully closed and prickly while others were open and/or adorned with fuzzy "tails" attached to a tiny seed.   Upon further examination, we realized that even the gentlest touch would detach the seed from its fuzzy "propeller."  (We planted the detached seed just in case it could not make its flight-filled  journey by itself.)

After our outdoor exploration, we had plenty of time to find our seats and get comfy before a wonderful rendition of the Ugly Duckling (originally written by Hans Christian Anderson.)  This delightful play was filled with beautiful singing, intrigue, and lots of humor and fun!  

When the play was over, we went to the stage and were able to take a closer look at the set design.   We noted the artist's use of "continuous" line and patterning and  pleasing composition.  The real finale of our trip, however, was being able to meet the cast members- the Ugly Duckling/Beautiful Swan, Mama Duck and the duck siblings, and the musicians (oneof whom even wrote the original music for the Wild Swan production.)  

Lyrics of The Ugly Duckling sung by Danny Kaye from the movie Hans Christian Anderson

There once was an ugly duckling With feathers all stubby and brown And the other birds said in so many words Get out of town Get out, get out, get out of town And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack In a flurry of eiderdown That poor little ugly duckling Went wandering far and near But at every place they said to his face Now get out, get out, get out of here And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack And a very unhappy tear







All through the wintertime he hid himself away 
Ashamed to show his face, afraid of what others might say All through the winter in his lonely clump of wheat Till a flock of swans spied him there and very soon 
agreed You’re a very fine swan indeed!   A swan? Me a swan? Ah, go on! And he said yes, you’re a swan Take a look at yourself in the lake and you’ll see And he looked, and he saw, and he said I am a swan! Wheeeeeeee! I’m not such an ugly duckling No feathers all stubby and brown For in fact these birds in so many words said The best in town, the best, the best The best in town Not a quack, not a quack, not a waddle or a quack But a glide and a whistle and a snowy white back And a head so noble and high Say who’s an ugly duckling? Not I! Not I! 


Later in the day, the Kindergartners saw a snippet of the Hans Christian Anderson movie with film actor Danny Kaye singing "The Ugly Duckling" song to a child with a shaved head.   We reflected on the clip and how it might feel to be called "ugly" and why the young man may have had a shaved head.  He are some of their comments:

"I hope nothing in here (our cassroom) gets called ugly because I don't like hearing ugly a lot.  It hurts my ears a little."-  Nico

"I don't like to hear 'ugly' either.  It hurts people's feelings." -Lily 

"It's not nice just to say... You like say.. I go into a wedding and you see one person say,  'Hey, you are ugly.'  That would make them feel bad."-Marcel

"I agree with that." - Spenser

"Just because you're bald... it doesn't mean you're ugly.  It means you don't have any hair.
If your body is a different shape than another person, it doesn't mean you're ugly, it just means you're different.  It not your responsibility to say things about other people,  It will make them feel bad.  It's not nice to call people ugly."-Noa 

"It's not your job to say that someone is ugly and its not necessary"-Aditi

"My dad wants to be bald...real bald. It's not your business to tell anyone that you're ugly."
-Zoey

"The little boy was bald because a doctor 'shavened' him.... because he had sickness."
-Spenser



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