Topic Exploration Pack Devising from a stimulus Prose



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Topic Exploration Pack

Devising from a stimulus - Prose




Topic Exploration Pack 1

Devising from a stimulus - Prose 1

Prose extract: Hansel and Gretel 2

Introduction 3

Additional teacher preparation 3

Activity 1 4

Activity 2 5

Activity 3 6




Prose extract: Hansel and Gretel

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once, when great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily bread.

     Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety. He groaned and said to his wife, "What is to become of us? How are we to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for ourselves?"

     "I'll tell you what, husband," answered the woman, "early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest. There we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them."

     "No, wife," said the man, "I will not do that. How can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest? The wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces."

     "Oh! you fool," said she, "then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the planks for our coffins," and she left him no peace until he consented.

     "But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the same," said the man.

     The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard what their step-mother had said to their father. Gretel wept bitter tears, and said to Hansel, "Now all is over with us."

Source: www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/HanGre.shtml


Introduction


Fairy tales are typically short stories that feature elements of magic or enchantment. They are usually based on folklore and can include a range of fantasy characters including dwarfs, elves, fairies, giants and witches.

Typically short, they frequently tell a story with a happy ending, use styled language, have a logical plot and use set written structures.

Many of these tales have derived from old stories of different cultures and have been passed down through generations, some from the spoken word and others that have been written. This means that variations of similar stories exist. Fairy tales are not realistic stories, nor are they meant to be. They are creative and imaginative depictions of events where ‘anything can happen!’

Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm Brothers are well known for their publications of such stories, some of which are based on traditional stories and others which are original creations. Originally the Grimm Brothers preserved tales that been passed on orally. It was later in their work that they started focusing on stories for children. With their tales of faraway places, simple narratives and stereotypical characters, they created memorable stories for young and old alike.

Hansel and Gretel was of German origin originally and recorded by the Grimm brothers in 1812. It is thought that the story itself originated from the medieval period of the great famine in 1315, a period where people were often starving and driven to desperate measures. Often seen as a cruel story involving courage, love and weakness, Hansel and Gretel is imaginative and gripping, lending itself both to adaptation and variations as seen in opera, ballet, film, and theatre.

Prose as a form of written language attempts to connect with a reader to tell stories and inspire the readers imagination. This means that prose can be a valuable tool for developing creative and artistic work.

Additional teacher preparation


Teachers may wish to use the following questions as a starting point for the topic:

  • What is the appeal of the fairy tale?

  • Why have they lasted so long?

  • Why are they adopted so frequently by artists as a stimulus?

  • What is their relevance in the modern day?

  • Will they continue to be read or heard?

  • Will we continue to pass on stories from today?

The following websites may be used to support students research and exploration.

www.bookrays.com/studyguide-brothers-grimm/style.html

www.history.com/news/the-dark-side-of-the-grimm-tales-

Activity 1


Warm up – ‘Object game’

The group sits in circle and passes round an object which they must use in a different way than its actual purpose. For example, a phone could be used an ice lolly, brush or harmonica. Each person must do something different and the students can be as imaginative as they like. Introduce more objects so that 3 or 4 objects are being passed around the circle.



Discussion – What is a stock character?

As a class create a definition of a stock character. Then discuss some of the stock characters from fairy tales (eg Witches, Princes, Wolves, Giants, Fairies).



Improvisation

Take three stock characters and improvise a scene where they meet. Students should make it obvious who the character is, without actually saying it. The meeting could be at a railway station, café, dentist’s waiting room, for example. Share these scenes with the group.


Group activity

Read the extract from ‘Hansel and Gretel’. Discuss why the children are being sent away by their stepmother.


  • Are her reasons justified?

  • What else could they do?

  • What other reasons might children be sent away from their home?

In groups of four, improvise a scene where two children are sent away from their home. The scenario should be based on the discussion and do not need to stick to the story in the fairy tale. Examples could include children who are in trouble or at risk, families who are in the armed forces, their house could be unsuitable for various reasons, a new stepmother feels she can’t cope, the children decide to run away. Share these scenes with the class. In groups, hotseat the characters who must answer in role, stating how they are feeling at this moment in time.

Role on the wall

Discuss the characters in Hansel and Gretal. Create a role on the wall for each character. This can be done in small groups or as a whole class activity. Consider the tensions and external influences on these characters as well as their internal thoughs and feelings about the situation they are in.



Devised task

Devise a scene based on an everyday argument between members of a family, in groups of two to four. This could be about the children not doing enough to help in the house, the stepmother not getting on with one of the children, or the father and stepmother not agreeing on disciplining the children. The scene should build up and not start with shouting and arguing. Share these scenes and discuss if the tension noticeable.


Activity 2

Warm up – Story games

One student starts with ‘Once upon a time…’. The next student continues with ‘there was a ….’ , The story continues around the circle with each student taking over the story. Students should only say one sentence or short phrase each before the next person continues. To make this activity more challenging, students can be restricted to saying only one word each.


Discussion

Read the extract of Hansel and Gretel. Discuss what may happen next in the story.



Group activity

In small groups devise one scene to develop the story further. One person in the group could act as a director and the others actors. The scene should show what happens that next day, when the children are sent away.



Narrator activity

What is the role of a narrator?

Change the scene created earlier to include a narrator. The student who was directing could then take on the role of narrator, or some groups can be split up to be narrators in other groups.

How does this change how the story is performed?


Activity 3


Improvisation

In pairs, choose a character from any fairy tale and improvise a scene which is set in modern times. This could be the Wolf demanding rent from one of the three little pigs, Sleeping Beauty in therapy session for loss of memory, ‘Beast’ giving tips on how to become more appealing and more confident. Spotlight performances. Can the audience work out who their chosen character is?



Discussion

Read the full story of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and brainstorm some of themes of the story. For example power, relationships, poverty or innocence. (This can be set in advance of the lesson as a homework task) Discuss how these themes are presented in the story and how each character relates to, or experiences, the theme in the story.

In small groups, devise four tableaus which represent different themes. Use thought tracking to share with the audience the characters thoughts and feelings in the scene.

Group activity

In groups of four or five create a performance based on the story of Hansel and Gretel. This should not be a literal re-enactment of the story, rather a representation of ideas and themes previously explored and including the techniques previously used. A narrator can be used although this is not essential and the scene needs to show the tale with appropriate atmosphere and tension.

Share these scenes and discuss their effectiveness in portraying the themes taken from the fairy tale.



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We’d like to know your view on the resources we produce. By clicking on ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ you can help us to ensure that our resources work for you. When the email template pops up please add additional comments if you wish and then just click ‘Send’. Thank you.

If you do not currently offer this OCR qualification but would like to do so, please complete the Expression of Interest Form which can be found here: www.ocr.org.uk/expression-of-interest

Looking for a resource? There is now a quick and easy search tool to help find free resources for your qualification:
www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/find-resources/
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We’d like to know your view on the resources we produce. By clicking on ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ you can help us to ensure that our resources work for you. When the email template pops up please add additional comments if you wish and then just click ‘Send’. Thank you.

If you do not currently offer this OCR qualification but would like to do so, please complete the Expression of Interest Form which can be found here: www.ocr.org.uk/expression-of-interest

Looking for a resource? There is now a quick and easy search tool to help find free resources for your qualification:

www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/find-resources/
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We’d like to know your view on the resources we produce. By clicking on ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ you can help us to ensure that our resources work for you. When the email template pops up please add additional comments if you wish and then just click ‘Send’. Thank you.

If you do not currently offer this OCR qualification but would like to do so, please complete the Expression of Interest Form which can be found here: www.ocr.org.uk/expression-of-interest



Looking for a resource? There is now a quick and easy search tool to help find free resources for your qualification:
www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/find-resources/
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