"Follow the Buzz" is one of the stories that toured from 2012-2013. This page is for teachers to use with their students to extend the learning experience and enhance their curriculum. The activities on this page are story specific and are designed as follow-up to the performance. Also see the Study Guide Main Page for activities to prepare your students for the show in general.
A poor worker has a dream of following bees, he sells the dream to his friend who sets out on a journey to discover what the dream means. He finds a rich man and gets permission to dig in his garden beneath the camelia tree. However the rich man tricks him and has his servant dig there first. They discover gold which the rich man keeps. The poor man only discovers a pot full of bees. However when he returns home his wife has had a similar dream also involving bees. Her dream leads them to discover the treasure (mostly books) that is hidden beneath their house.
Have the students retell the story in their own words, pointing out the challenges the main character faces, how he resolves them, and what he learns in the end. One option is to have them tell the story in the form of a storyboard or cartoon.
Common Core State Standards:
Writing Standards: W:3.3, W:4.3, W:5.3
Speaking and Listening Standards: SL:K.2, SL:K.5 SL:1.2, SL:1.5, SL:2.2, SL:2.5, SL:3.2, SL:4.2, SL:5.2
Download a maze for students to complete.
Read the book The Bee and the Dream by Jan Freeman Long (Dutton Juvenile, 1996). How does this version of the story differ from ours? How is it the same? Have students examine the illustrations in the book and determine what scene each one depicts, and what each one suggests about the attitudes of the characters involved.
Common Core State Standards:
Speaking and Listening Standards: SL:K.2, SL:1.2, SL:2.2, SL:2.4
- a type of small flowering tree popular in Asia. One type of camellia produces tea.
- made of clay
- a type of comic Japanese theatre
Common Core State Standards
Reading Literature Standards: RL:K.4, RL:3.4, RL:4.4, RL:5.4, RL:6.4, RL:7.4, RL:8.4
Language Standards: L:K.6, L:1.6, L:2.6, L:3.6, L:4.6, L:5.6, L:6.6, L:7.6. L:8.6
Questions for Discussion
- Who is the hero of this story? Is there a villain? (The poor man is the hero or central character, although we also could say that both the poor man and the poor woman are. There is really no one villain, although the rich man deceives the poor man.)
- What event sets the plot in motion? Think of another story or two that you like, and find the events in them that set the plots in motion. (The event is the dream, which causes the man to go on a journey. )
- Can you think of other stories in which dreams played an important role?
- Why is it strange for the poor man to buy the dream? (A dream is not something you normally buy or sell or give away. It is not a product or a service.)
- How does this story make use of the “rule of three” (things happen in threes in a folktale)? (The man faces three obstacles on his journey: the bear, the river, and the storm.)
- Even though the rich man is dishonest, Japanese custom requires him to show hospitality. How does he do this? (By offering the poor man food and a bath and a place to stay. And then by giving him a little gold after taking most of it.)
- Why do we not tell immediately what the wife found in the secret room? (To keep the audience in suspense)
- Why does the poor man have reason to be both happy and sad as he goes back home? (He did not find the great treasure he was seeking, yet he did get a little gold.)
- Do you agree that the books the husband and wife find are more valuable than gold? Why or why not? (One possible response: knowledge is more valuable than money, because money can be spent, but knowledge lasts -- and it can lead to more money.)
Common Core State Standards
Writing Standards: W:K.8, W:1.8, W:2.8, W:3.8, W:4.8, W:5.8
Speaking and Listening Standards: SL: K.3, SL:1.3, SL:2.2, SL:3.3, SL:4.3
Locate Japan, which the Japanese call Nihhon, on the globe. Compare and contrast it to the United States. How big is it? (about the size of California). How does Japan compare to your state?
Our production borrows elements from several types of traditional Japanese theatre. These theatrical forms tend to follow rather strict formulas in terms of plot, characters, and performance style.
Kabuki is an elaborate performance spectacle featuring song and dance – the Japanese characters making up the word mean "music", "dance" and "skill", although the word may also come from word meaning "strange" or "unusual". These could be very long plays, sometimes lasting for an entire day! (Traditionally, however, the pace begins slow and steadily builds to a rapid conclusion.) The stages can be quite elaborate, with "special effects" built into them, and it's customary for the stage design to feature a walkway out into the audience on which some scenes are played. The actors wear heavy stylized makeup with a white base, deliver their lines in a monotone to musical accompaniment, and at times strike recognizable poses to identify their character types.
Noh makes use of a smaller, less elaborate stage with wooden floors that are polished to allow the performers to make gliding movements, and constructed to resonate loudly when the performers stamp on them. Traditionally, noh presentations also could take up an entire day, with more than one play performed; today, the practice is to perform two of them, with a comic Kyogen interlude. One noh play performed today is actually a translation of a play written in 1916 by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. The performers, who can include women, use a broad style in delivering their lines and making movements, accompanied by musicians. Only the main character (who is often a supernatural being) wears a mask, representing one of dozens of familiar character types.
Kyogen ("KYO-gan") which means literally "wild words" or "mad talk", refers to a type of comedy that developed as an interlude between performances of the more serious Noh plays (or between acts of a single Noh play). Most kyogen plays are short, lasting 15 to 20 minutes, and feature a small cast, generally about 3 or 4, with male actors playing all roles, including female characters. The stories make use of stock characters (often, for example, a master and a servant). The performance style makes use of exaggerated, expressive gestures, and the plays are performed to music.
Objective: The students will act out a familiar story in the style of Kyogen. They will focus on expressive gestures and exaggerated movement.
Procedure: Discuss elements of the performance that were inspired by Kyogen. Break into groups of 4-5 and assign each cast a short story to perform. One person assumes the role of director at the beginning. The director calls freeze during the scene and tags one of the performers. The cast repeats the last line and makes the action even bigger. The person tagged is now the director. Each person must be the director at least once. Explain and demonstrate before breaking into work groups. Allow 5-10 minutes to rehearse in groups and then have each group present their story for the class.
Length: 1 class period (45 minutes)
National Theatre Art Standards
Theatre 5-8.2: Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
Theatre 5-8.4: Directing by organizing rehearsals for improvised and scripted scenes