Aloha: Postcards from Polynesia Resource Guide

This audience guide is intended to be a tool to use as a means to enrich your experience at The BiTSY Stage. Here you will find activities that will prepare you for our show as well as fun things to do and talk about once you’ve seen our production.

We hope this will deepen your understanding and enjoyment of theater in general.

The Easter Island Heads

Pre-Show Questions/Activities

Preparing for your visit:

1. Have you ever been to a theater before? What can you expect? How is being at a theater different than watching a movie or a TV show? How does having live actors change the experience?

2. Do you watch a TV show the same way you would sit at a theater? How is it different? How is it the similar?

3. What do you think it means to be a good audience member?  What are some ways we can show our appreciation for the performers? How can we ensure that our behavior doesn’t disrupt anyone else’s enjoyment of the show?

4. What do you think a play is? How would you define it?  What things do you think you need to know/have in order to put on a play? 

Our Production

1. Aloha: Postcards from Polynesia is an adaptation of several Polynesian myths.  What is an adaptation?  Can you name an adaptation of something you’ve seen?  Did you know that many Disney cartoons are adaptations of very old stories?  Why do you think people would adapt stories?  If you could adapt a story you already know, what story would you choose?  How would you adapt it?  Play?  Movie? TV Show?  Book?  Describe how you would tell the story in your own way.  

2. Our story is a myth.  Myths often explain why certain things are the way that they are in nature.  Each culture has its own myths.  See if you can find one to explain something such as why the sun and moon share the sky or why giraffes have such long legs.  Read one with someone and then try making up a myth of your own.  Perhaps you can explain why the leopard has spots, why the days are longer in the summer, or why rain comes from the clouds.

3. Our stories are set on various Polynesian islands.  Each has its own unique culture including different languages, music, and dance that are heavily influenced by the landscape and nature around them. How do you think life is different on an island in the Pacific Ocean than it is in our land-locked state of Colorado?  Imagine you were writing a song about life on an island.  What kinds of things would you write about?  Try writing the verse of a song.  Will it be about the beauty around you?  Your daily life?  The ocean? It can be about anything you can imagine!  What about your dances?  If you were surrounded by the ocean and had tropical flowers all around you and the day was filled with breezes off the sea, how do you think it would influence the movement in your dances?  Create some movements that you think would reflect your surroundings.  Teach them to someone in your family or a friend and see if you can put a few of them together.


Traditional Fire Dance

Post-Show Questions/Activities

1. In the beginning of our story, Aunty tells the young girl about leis, garlands of objects that are worn.  They are most often made of flowers, seeds, and nuts and each has a meaning.  They are made with love for the wearer and are a sign of affection.  Think of someone in your life you are close to and pretend you are giving them a lei for a special occasion.  What do you think that would be?  A birthday? Achievement?  Holiday?  What objects would you string on their lei?  Since you’re using your imagination there is no need to limit yourself to the objects islanders use.  Perhaps you would include a toy dinosaur for your little brother because you know he loves them, or a tea bag for your grandmother who always makes you a cup when you’re sad.  Draw a picture of your lei and consider sharing it with the person you designed it for.

2. Maui talks about how some cultures viewed him as a god (“those who believed I saved the world”) and some saw him merely as a man (“which was a relief”).  Why do you think he says it was a relief?  What would it mean if you were a god or goddess among humans and had to save them?  Based on the stories you saw; do you think Maui was more like a god or a man?  What are the differences between the two? What can a god do that a mortal can’t? What are the positives about being each? What do you think the challenges would be?  

3. Maui receives a powerful gift from the sun – fire.  Ancient people of various cultures have stories about how they managed to get fire.  Why do you think this is?  How would the world be different if we didn’t have fire at all?  Think about a modern-day object that the world would be completely different without.  Computers, cars, elevators, anything you can think of.  Now pretend you had no idea how this was invented and create a story to explain how it came to be.  Share your story with someone.  You could create a small storybook, turn it into a song, or even act it out.

4. The last thing Maui says to us in the story is “It is always wise to be as generous as you can.”  Do you agree? What happens when you are generous? Is it different when you are generous with your time than it is when you’re generous with your money?  Or your food?  Your talents?  Your thoughts?  Can you think of a time when someone was generous to you?  How did it make you feel?  What do you think of this person?  Is it important to you to be generous?  Are you more generous about some things than others?  Why do you think this is?