We The People Presented by TheatreWorks USA

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1 We The People Presented by TheatreWorks USA A Musical About How to Be a Good United States Citizen We re in the school auditorium. Student Council elections will take place at 3:00 PM. The main character, Dawn Shapiro, is running for Student Council President, but she s having a tough time getting her act together. Her speech is supposed to answer the question What Does My Government Mean to Me? but Dawn is in a panic as she feels that the local mall has more meaning for her than her government. What should she do? Suddenly, with cymbals and drum-roll, appear the Founding Fathers George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin and they are looking like the funkiest rock band ever with their wigs and colonial clothes. They ve come to save the day for Dawn by giving her a crash course in how the Colonies became a nation and how that nation created a government one that still works today. When the Founding Fathers ask Dawn why she wants to be Student Council President, her answer disappoints them; she wants it for her future college applications so she can get into a really good school! But the Founding Fathers don t give up. Through singing, dancing, role playing, a wrestling match, and their own persuasive passion, they teach Dawn (and us in the audience) what she needs to understand her government: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the branches of government, the Congress, how a bill becomes a law, the Supreme Court, the system of checks and balances, and yes! even the Electoral College!! Gradually, Dawn understands that this is indeed an amazing government created by these great men. However, now she feels that she is not ready to be Student Council President! But they won t let her give up on herself. Hasn t she ever helped her school or her community? Has she done enough? What can a kid do for a government anyway? Get ready to enjoy this funny and hip musical helping you learn right along with Dawn!

2 We The People The Beginning Words to the Preamble Can you recite the Preamble to the Constitution? Many good citizens learn and understand this important message of our country s basic rights and freedoms. You can learn these important words, too! We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America. - Preamble of the United States Constitution Can You Name Our Basic Freedoms? This musical will sing and dance the freedoms we all share as United States citizens which are found in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Over the last 223 years, there have been 27 total amendments established. The first 10 Amendments of the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Here are our basic freedoms from the First Amendment: 1. Freedom of Speech to speak our opinion on a subject or topic without government disturbance 2. Freedom of Religion to pray or worship in the way we choose without government disturbance 3. Freedom of the Press to write and publish news, information and opinions without government disturbance 4. Freedom to Petition to gather signatures for a cause or change in government 5. Freedom to Assemble to gather together as a group of people for a purpose without government disturbance

3 The Three Branches of Government The three branches of government were established in the U.S. Constitution to ensure there would be three groups of people that would keep each other balanced so that no one branch or person has more power than the others. This is called Checks and Balances. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH law makers (a.k.a. Congress or Legislators) EXECUTIVE BRANCH law approver (a.k.a. President) JUDICIAL BRANCH law interpreters (a.k.a. Supreme Court Justice) We the people of the United States of America, vote for President and Congress (Senators and House of Representatives). The President of the United States is voted for every 4 years. There are 2 Senators for each state (2 X 50 states = 100 Senators). Senators are voted for every 6 years. There are 435 House of Representatives divided between each of the 50 states. The bigger states have more House of Representatives and smaller states have less House of Representatives. House of Representatives are voted for every 2 years. The Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate of Congress. They hold their jobs for life. The musical We The People will present in an energetic and fun way the three branches of government. Before seeing the performance, review the picture and information by yourself or with your classmates or family. If you understand the United States Government, then you ll really enjoy the performance, AND you ll be a much smarter audience!

4 Learning to Be a Good Citizen Much of this musical s story is about the ways in which our government serves us, its citizens. But we must serve our country, too. We, as United States citizens, have an obligation to give back, to help each other, and to help the political system. Think about and discuss with your class, or with your parents what are your roles as young Americans. Explore your own experiences: + How often do you listen to the news or read a newspaper? Do you know what is happening in our country, both good and bad? + How often do you discuss the news from TV, radio, or the newspaper with friends or family? + What kind of political system or government is at your school? Are you part of it? + Have you done community volunteer work? If so, what did you do to serve others and where? How did you feel about your service?

5 Laws are Created From Ideas or Issues We are Passionate About The main character, Dawn Shapiro, was passionate about making sure there was clean air for all citizens. The Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin) explain how Dawn can write and share her idea for better clean air to a member of Congress. The Congress member (from the Senate or the House of Representatives) can write a bill for all the Congress members to discuss and vote upon. If the bill is voted upon by members of Congress and approved by the President, the bill becomes a law for all U.S. Citizens. Do you have an idea for a new law? Or, do you have an idea of some changes that need to be made in order to make our lives better? Put your thoughts to paper. Try writing a list of ideas you have for new laws. Pick two and explain why you are passionate about fixing that issue.

6 Lines to Listen For and Interpret and Try for Yourself Each character in this performance has lines to speak called dialogue. DAWN (to the Founding Fathers) You guys know a lot about history I should be taking notes! Read and discuss the lines from the script of We The People. Try the following activities: Read the lines from this cutting a short portion of lines from the script from the performance. Read the lines carefully. Discuss the meaning of the lines and what is going on for each of the characters. Discuss what the characters may be doing while speaking these lines. Discuss how the lines may be delivered to the audience through expression in your voice. Look for clues like question marks, exclamation marks, or pauses Try saying the lines aloud with expression, feeling, and gestures. Practice the lines in different ways to discover how each line can effectively be shared with an audience. Practice delivering the lines with a classmate or friend, then present to others. Remember- all capital letters mean that lines are sung! GEORGE WASHINGTON It s not history to us we lived it! BENJAMIN FRANKLIN But we re not done yet. Cause at the end of The Constitution we wrote the most important thing of all. THOMAS JEFFERSON WE GAVE OUR CITIZENS A BILL OF THEIR RIGHTS THE MOST IMPORTANT FREEDOMS THAT WE COULD GIVE, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WE WROTE IT UP TO HELP PROTECT ALL THE FOLKS, TO MAKE A PLACE WHERE WE MIGHT ALL WANNA LIVE. JOHN ADAMS THOSE TEN AMENDMENTS HELPED ESTABLISH THE RULES AND GUIDE OUR COUNTRY AS WE GOT ON OUR WAY, GEORGE WASHINGTON THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS THERE TO GIVE US THE TOOLS TO FORM THE BASIS OF THE WHOLE USA. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN That was so smart of us.

7 Who Works To Make a Performance Happen? Several key people worked very hard to bring this performance to Clowes Memorial Hall. Look over the jobs and how the person or persons prepared this awesome show for you! Playwright I write the words spoken in a play, musical, or adaptation. Director I make decisions about how a play will look, sound, and be presented on stage. Designer I create the sets, props, and costumes for the actors. Actor I create an interpreted character by speaking and moving on stage for the audience. Stage Manager I make sure lighting and sound work, and that props, sets, and costumes are in the correct place for the performance. Theatre Manager I make the arrangements for you and your teacher to attend a performance at Clowes Hall. Would you ever want to try ACTING? DIRECTING? BUILDING SETS? DESIGNING SETS? WORKING BACK STAGE? DESIGNING COSTUMES? CREATING PUPPETS? WRITING A PLAY? To see a short clip of We The People, visit These people have been creating, deciding, organizing, and practicing so you can enjoy the performance of We The People at the Butler Arts Center, Clowes Memorial Hall.

8 Now you ve seen We The People After coming to see a play or dance or musical performance, it s a great idea to discuss what you ve seen and heard at the performance. Everyone has an opinion about a live performance, and your opinion is IMPORTANT, too! Discuss with your class, your teacher or your parents how you felt about the following parts of the musical: 1. What was your favorite scene or part of the performance? Why? 2. Did the costumes worn by the characters make sense in the performance? 3. Were the set and props believable or work well in this performance? 4. Did the actors chosen for the parts do a good job in their roles? 5. Was the script written well by the playwright? Could there have been changes made to the script? 6. How were sound effects and lighting used to enhance the performance? 7. Did you have to use your imagination to enjoy the show? 8. Did you enjoy the performance? Why or why not? How would you rate the performance on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being one of the best performances you ve ever seen? You may have a different opinion from someone else about this performance, and that s fine. Every critic has an opinion, and good critics give reasons why or examples for their opinion. Here s what every critic must answer about a performance: Would you recommend this performance to your friends? Thank you for coming to see a performance at the Butler Arts Center, Clowes Memorial Hall. We hope you ll come back to see another wonderful and engaging performance! Visit our website at for upcoming events! If you liked the performance We The People, tell others all about it! Ty Sutton Executive Director Donna Rund Arts Education Manager Allie Combs Assistant Education Coordinator Written and edited by Donna Rund Designed by Butler University Butler Arts Center, Clowes Memorial Hall Education Department 4602 Sunset Avenue Indianapolis, Indiana

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