c it t ng on d is Cat - Seattle Children`s Theatre

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c it t ng on d is Cat - Seattle Children`s Theatre
His C
at
Expedia
The Muckleshoot Charity Fund
The Norcliffe Foundation
Plum Creek Foundation
The Snoqualmie Tribe
Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund
Wells Fargo Foundation
IKEA Seattle
Season Sponsors:
Dick Whittington and
School Children
Access Program Sponsors:
By Jeff Church
Music by Richard Gray
Presents
Table of Contents
Synopsis .....................................................................................................................................................
State Learning Standards ...................................................................................................................
Writing the Play ......................................................................................................................................
Writing the Music ..................................................................................................................................
A Chat with Ben Baird, Master Stage Carpenter .......................................................................
About the Set ...........................................................................................................................................
About the Costumes ..............................................................................................................................
About the Puppets ...................................................................................................................................
Richard and Dick – The Whittingtons of Fact and Fancy ......................................................
Three Real True-Hearted Cats ..........................................................................................................
Perseverance on the High Seas ........................................................................................................
From Humble Beginnings ..................................................................................................................
Words & Phrases That Might Be New to You .............................................................................
Jump Start – Give This a Try ..............................................................................................................
Drama in Action – Learn by Doing .................................................................................................
Activity Pages ..........................................................................................................................................
Booklist ......................................................................................................................................................
Share Your Thoughts ............................................................................................................................
2
3-4
5-6
7
8
9-10
11-13
14-16
17-18
19-20
21-23
24-25
26-27
28
29
30
31-32
33
34
SYNOPSIS
Be warned: This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers.
Young Dick Whittington, an orphan in England, has heard fantastic tales of the city of London. Three
rough peddlers tell him of a street there paved with gold. They take him to London in return for
pulling their cart, then abandon him in the marketplace. While Dick asks passersby where to find
the street of gold, he accidentally spills the purse of Miss MacGrundy who is chaperoning her young
charge, Alice. Miss MacGrundy accuses Dick of thievery and worse. She orders Hopkins, the butler,
to help her punish him. Alice’s father, Mr. Fitzwarren, arrives and tells
them to release Dick. Taking pity on Dick’s gullibility and recognizing
his honesty, Mr. Fitzwarren offers him a job in his shipping company
and instructs MacGrundy to arrange lodging for the boy in his house.
Hopkins and MacGrundy, however, have no sympathy for Dick and put
him in the attic to sleep. Dick learns from Hopkins that Fitzwarren’s
daughter Alice does not speak—not since the time she went to play
in the attic and was found later, screaming! Dick soon finds out why. At night the attic is overrun with
rats. Dick is unable to sleep, but the next morning he is still expected
to begin his chores.
His first errand is to help Hopkins bring meat from the butcher shop.
Hopkins, seizing the opportunity to get out of doing the chore himself,
gives Dick tuppence (a coin worth two pennies) and sends him off into
the city with bewildering directions. Dick becomes hopelessly lost and
runs into a poor stranger and his cat. Offering Dick tea, the stranger tells him of how the tabby saved
his life. The stranger offers the cat to Dick for tuppence, claiming that it
will bring good luck. Dick loves the cat and gives the stranger the coin.
When he asks for directions home, the stranger declares the cat’s luck
will guide him.
Bells ring out that seem to announce Dick Whittington will be thrice
Mayor of London. Dick feels lucky and the ringing leads him back through
the streets to the Fitzwarren house. Everyone is asleep, so Dick climbs to
his attic. The rats reappear, but Dick’s cat chases them away. Dick sees the
cat is a true friend and gives her a special name—Trueheart.
That morning, Mr. Fitzwarren is relieved to find Dick back safe and sound. Learning that Hopkins and
MacGrundy have put Dick in the attic, Mr. Fitzwarren apologizes and promises to give him a proper
room. Dick introduces his cat and declares the attic rat-free. At this, the long-silent Alice speaks
Trueheart’s name, which fills her father with joy and amazement. Leaving Trueheart with Alice, Dick
goes with Mr. Fitzwarren to the docks to see his trading ship, the Lady Merchant, set sail.
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3
MacGrundy pretends to care for Trueheart, but she secretly puts her into
a box that is sent to be loaded onto the Lady Merchant. She lies to Alice,
saying Trueheart ran away. Alice, however, suspects the truth. She goes
to Dick at the docks and tells him that Trueheart is on the Lady Merchant
which has just sailed. Dick is determined to follow his cat. He convinces
Pinky, a seaman on another ship, the Mariner, which is following the same
course as the Lady Merchant, to hire him as a ship’s mate. Alice and Dick
wave goodbye to each other as the Mariner sails off.
After many weeks, Pinky and Dick dock at the distant port of Cabar.
Asking if anyone has seen Trueheart, Dick is told that the ruler has a cat.
Addressed as the Cabier, this ruler has two rules—no strangers admitted
and no questions permitted. Since Dick is related to the Cabier’s cat and is, therefore, technically not a
stranger, he resolves to speak with the Cabier—without asking any questions.
Following the rules, Dick and the Cabier engage in an elaborate guessing game about Dick’s identity
and purpose. When he finally realizes that Dick has come for Trueheart, the Cabier tells Dick that for
some time rats had been eating up every royal feast. Then Trueheart arrived on the Lady Merchant
and vanquished the vermin. Dick cannot resist asking one vital question: where is Trueheart now?
Because he is so grateful to Trueheart, the Cabier makes an exception to his no-questions rule and
tells Dick that Trueheart has been kidnapped by Bloody Bess the buccaneer.
The Cabier offers Dick his thanks, friendship and a bag of gold, and Dick
sails off after Bloody Bess—alone. Pinky is too terrified to follow.
Finding the pirate ship and stealing aboard, Dick is amazed to see Alice
swabbing the decks. She followed him over the ocean and was captured by
Bloody Bess. She points out Trueheart, held captive in a cage. Dick disguises
himself with the hat of a sleeping pirate, Smeary Smythe, then places a crate over Smythe to hide
him. Just then Bess roars in to rouse the crew. She addresses Dick as Smythe but
senses something amiss. Hearing noises from the crate holding Smythe, Bess
fears the reappearance of her worst nightmare—ghost rats. The crew panics,
but Dick suggests a solution—let Trueheart loose! Bess gives him the keys to the
cage, but Smythe crawls from beneath his crate. Dick confesses his identity and
offers to buy Trueheart back with his bag of gold. Bess takes the gold but makes
Dick walk the plank. Granted some last words, Dick speaks eloquently of how
it is Christmas time back in England—everyone is decorating their village tree
together. The pirates are so moved by memories of home and hearth they mutiny
and refuse to execute Dick. Bess escapes in the Mariner and sails off defiantly.
Dick, Alice, Trueheart and the crew sail back to Merry Old England just in time to celebrate Christmas
with Mr. Fitzwarren and his company. Even Miss MacGrundy softens a little. A youngster comes up
to Dick to pet Trueheart. Dick senses that this child needs some good fortune and it is time to pass
Trueheart’s luck on, so he gives away his lucky cat. Everyone cheers Dick Whittington, future Lord
Mayor of London!
4
WASHINGTON STATE LEARNING STANDARDS
Dick Whittington and His Cat touches on many themes and ideas. Here are a few we believe
would make good Discussion Topics: Loyalty, Perseverance, Potential and Old London.
We believe that seeing the show and using our Active Audience Guide can help you meet the
following State Standards and address these 21st-Century Skills:
• Growth Mindset (belief that your intelligence and ability can increase with effort)
• Perseverance
• Creative Thinking
• Critical Thinking
• Communication
• Collaboration
Washington State K-12 Learning Standards
Theatre
Reading:
Literature
Reading:
Informational
Text
Writing
Speaking &
Listening
1. The student understands and applies arts knowledge and skills.
1.1 Understands arts concepts and vocabulary.
1.4 Understands and applies audience conventions in a variety of settings and performances of theatre.
3. Theatre: The student communicates through the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts).
3.1 Uses theatre to express feelings and present ideas.
3.2 Uses theatre to communicate for a specific purpose.
4. The student makes connections with and across the arts to other disciplines, life, cultures, and work.
4.4 Understands that the arts shape and reflect culture and history.
4.5 Demonstrates the knowledge of arts careers and the knowledge of arts skills in the world of work.
Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts
Exact standards depend upon grade level, selected text(s), and instructional shifts to meet the standard.
CCSS.ELA - RL.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA - RL.2 Retell familiar stories, including key details.
CCSS.ELA - RL.3 Identify characters, settings and major events in the story.
CCSS.ELA - RL.4 Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
CCSS.ELA - RL.9 Compare and contrast the adventures of characters in a story.
CCSS.ELA - RL.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA - RI.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA - RI.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
CCSS.ELA - RI.3 Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas in a text.
CCSS.ELA - RI.9 Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts.
CCSS.ELA - RI.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA - W.1 Compose a piece in which they tell a reader the topic and state an opinion.
CCSS.ELA - W.2 Compose informative/explanatory text.
CCSS.ELA - W.3 Tell about events in the order in which they occurred and provide a reaction.
CCSS.ELA - SL.2 Ask and answer questions about key details.
CCSS.ELA - SL.3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify.
CCSS.ELA - SL.5 Add visual displays to descriptions as described to provide additional details.
CCSS.ELA - SL.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly.
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5
WHAT IS ARTS INTEGRATION?
A de�inition and checklist from The Kennedy Center’s
Changing Education Through the Arts program.
Arts integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate
understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an
art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.
Some educators confuse any effort to include the arts in their classroom with arts integration.
While all types of arts-based instruction are encouraged, it is helpful for educators to know when
they are engaged in arts integration. To achieve this awareness, an Arts Integration Checklist
is provided. Educators answering “yes” to the items in the Checklist can be assured that their
approach to teaching is indeed integrated.
Approach to Teaching
• Are learning principles of Constructivism (actively built, experiential, evolving,
collaborative, problem-solving, and reflective) evident in my lesson?
Understanding
• Are the students engaged in constructing and demonstrating understanding as opposed to
just memorizing and reciting knowledge?
Art Form
• Are the students constructing and demonstrating their understandings through an art form?
Creative Process
• Are the students engaged in a process of creating something original as opposed to
copying or parroting?
• Will the students revise their products?
Connects
• Does the art form connect to another part of the curriculum or a concern/need?
• Is the connection mutually reinforcing?
Evolving Objectives
• Are there objectives in both the art form and another part of the curriculum or a concern/need?
• Have the objectives evolved since the last time the students engaged with this subject matter?
For more thoughts about this subject and a wealth of useful information
(including lesson plans) go to:
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators.aspx
6
WRITING THE PLAY
By Jeff Church
I started doing theater when I was 15. I formed a summer
theater group in my Colorado community that I kept
up all through college and some years after, while I was
a playwright-in-residence at the Kennedy Center in
Washington, D.C. The whole time I was adapting stories for
the stage. What is adapting and what does an adaptor do?
You take a tale that already exists and dream up ways to put
it onstage. Sometimes you have to get permission from a
publisher and sometimes—if the story or novel was written
a long time ago (as in the case of Dick Whittington and His
Cat)—you can change or add to the story to your heart’s
content. Dick Whittington is a piece of folklore, a story that
has been handed down and told for many years. I felt one
of the things I needed to do to turn it into a play was add
complications in order to make the plot hold the audience’s
interest. Let me just say, adding complications is FUN. You get
to put your main characters in a mess, or invent new characters who frustrate situations so no
one gets what they want very easily and this keeps the action building.
I have always gotten a lot of creative satisfaction taking an existing story and reworking it for
the stage. I try to dramatize the story’s moments in a way that can only be done on a stage, as
opposed to in a film or on television. In the case of Dick Whittington and His Cat, the original
director and set designer worked closely with me on transitions between scenes so Dick could
travel through various locations without cumbersome set changes that would slow things down.
This is important, because Dick goes from the streets of London all the way to a pirate ship
where he walks the plank!
I wrote Dick Whittington when I was in my twenties, but here I am years later, still adapting.
My latest project is adapting a new version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for youth and family
audiences at The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, where I’m Producing Artistic Director. At The
Coterie, we have a program called our Lab for New Family Musicals. We work with Broadway
playwrights and composers to help them create streamlined versions of their large musicals
for professional family theaters. The version of Seussical I directed at Seattle Children’s Theatre
came from our program here in Kansas City. My other work at SCT includes adapting Tuck
Everlasting and directing The Wrestling Season, written by Laurie Brooks.
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WRITING THE MUSIC
By Richard Gray
I love writing musicals! And that is a good thing because
I was never really good at the “Ooo-Baby-Baby” songs
you hear on the radio. I’ve always liked writing songs
about a specific character in a particular situation—the
more distinct the better. And that’s what musical theater
songwriting is all about.
I have written several scores (the musical script for the show)
for Seattle Children’s Theatre, including Little Rock, Time Again
in Oz and Lyle the Crocodile. Each has its own distinct sound
because each set of characters exists in its own world. Lyle the
Crocodile has more of a traditional show-bizzy feel; Little Rock
is influenced by ‘50s rhythm and blues; Time Again in Oz has
more of a lush, contemporary pop, Broadway sound.
For Dick Whittington and His Cat, my inspiration came from
rowdy English pub songs and contemporary guitar-driven
bands like Mumford & Sons and Phillip Phillips. Even though I normally write songs on the
piano, for this show I tried to think like a guitar player, using the chord patterns and rhythms
a guitar player might use. My goal was to create a score that sounds like it comes from another
time, but keeps a contemporary edge.
The first thing you do when turning a story into a musical is figure out the best moments to
transform into songs. Personally, I don’t like a lot of passive inner-monologue types of songs,
where a character sings about what they are feeling inside. I look for moments of heightened
action. I like to think that when a character is having something big happen to them, the only
way they can fully express themselves is to sing.
Finally, I like it when people leave the theater humming my tunes. The best compliment I ever
received was, “Rich, you write songs that stick in my craw!” I got a big smile on my face and
said, “Thanks!”
Richard Gray recently performed at SCT as Centipede in James and the Giant Peach. Before that, he
composed scores for SCT’s Little Rock, Time Again in Oz, A Day at the Beach, Kenny’s Window and
Lyle the Crocodile. Other scores include The Light Princess, The Flea and the Professor, Love Is Love,
Cold Turkey, You Saw It on T.V., Forbidden Xmas and It Happened at the World’s Fair. He frequently
performs at the Village Theatre, the 5th Avenue Theatre and…well, a bunch of other places.
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A CHAT WITH BEN BAIRD, MASTER STAGE CARPENTER
Please tell us a little bit about your working process.
As the master stage carpenter I get to wear a lot of hats, both
literally and figuratively. Most people think that I build all the
scenery that you see on stage. It makes sense, my job title
says “stage carpenter” after all, but it is actually the “scenic
carpenters” who build the amazing sets. So here’s a clue—
one of the biggest parts of my job is making sure you don’t
notice me during the play. Sometimes it means I’m dressed
entirely in black, or in some shows I might be costumed like
the actors, but one thing always seems the same—everyone
wants me to cover my head so I blend into the crowd. Each time the location of the play changes, or
a character takes flight, or there’s some kind of magic trick that happens on stage, it’s a good bet the
guy in the hat had something to do with it.
The first part of my job is to work with the director of the show, the scenic designer and the technical
director to help figure out how to make the transitions between locations flow smoothly, so that
to the audience it all seems simple. Sometimes the director wants the audience to see everything
happen. Other times they don’t want the audience to see any of it. I also have to make sure we have
enough people backstage to do all the scenic transitions or find creative alternatives to make the
shifts work with the people we have. Once all the planning is done and we have moved all the scenery
and props to starting positions backstage (which is a big planning job in itself), it is time to make the
stage magic happen.
The best part of my job is that it’s never the same. Every show I do is different from every other.
Sometimes I’m pushing giant set pieces by hand, then in the next I’m pressing a button and
mechanical motors and cables are doing all that hard labor for me. Then I might be flying an actor
attached to a thin piece of aircraft cable through the air or manipulating a puppet while all the actors
are busy doing something else in the show.
What is a particularly interesting or unusual challenge on this project and how are you setting
out to solve it?
Well you see, there’s this boat. Well, it’s not really a boat. It’s a ship. It’s a big ship! It’s in fact such a big
ship, it doesn’t fit easily backstage. So the technical director Mike Hase and I have been talking about
how to make it all work. Mike has to do all the construction drawings for the scenic carpenters to
build this beast of a ship, but the two of us have to figure out how it’s going to move so he knows how
to engineer it.
There are two stage hands planned for this show at this point. I’m one of them and my friend Nick
Lauris, whom I’ve worked with for more than a decade, is the other. When the ship moves there are a
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Scenic units marked with this color move
on and off stage quickly, some of them more
than once, so they may be stored in several
different places during one performance.
The ship in its preshow position,
hiding behind a backdrop
Groundplan of the stage showing storage locations for all the set
pieces. It’s pretty crowded backstage.
The ship in its onstage position,
ready for action
few other things that need to happen at the same time. So it’s unlikely Nick and I can both be free to
move this thing, even if we’re strong enough. It could be moved with a cable and a motor on a track,
but it also has to turn in order to fit between some of the scenery. That means we would have to use
something called a “turtle.” That’s a not-so-fancy word for a turntable that moves while it rotates.
To use the turtle we would need two motors and it takes a lot of complicated engineering to make
it work. Our other option is hiring more stage hands (crew members) in order to move it. But if we
are using stage hands how are we going to hide them? Will it still look magical? So we are looking at
these different options and figuring out which one is the best solution for this particular production. I
guess you’ll have to keep your eyes open and see which way we go.
What in your childhood got you to where you are today?
Two words: Star Wars. I was six years old when I saw that movie and I thought it was so cool. I had
always had a mechanical mind—I loved taking things apart and seeing how they worked. Sometimes
I was even successful in putting them back together. But once I saw that film I wanted to learn about
making movies. My best friend was a few years older than me and had a 16mm camera so we started
shooting our own films. We could create whole worlds with just a bit of cardboard. We could jump
from the ground up onto a roof, just by running the film backward. We could do anything.
As time went on and I got to high school I started working in the theater department, since there was
no film department. Over time I found that I enjoyed the interaction with a live audience even more
than I loved working on movies. I loved hearing the response to the story as it unfolded. I also enjoyed
how each performance was slightly different than the one before. When making a film you sort of
live in a vacuum—when you shoot it you have almost no idea what it will be like after everything is
edited. With live theater, that world just comes to life for the length of the show, and it is magic. Don’t
get me wrong, I still love film, but I live in the theater.
Ben Baird has worked for Seattle Children’s Theatre since 1998. In that time he has worked as an
electrician, prop artisan, shop carpenter, master stage carpenter, crew chief, and the Summer Stage
technical director and scenic designer. He is an active journeymen of IATSE: Local 15 here in Seattle and
also works as a freelance scenic designer and technical consultant in the greater Seattle area.
10
ABOUT THE SET
From Carey Wong, Set Designer
The production notes in the script for Dick Whittington and His Cat say, “Costumes of Olde
England (any century) are suggested.” So it became the job of the director and designers
to choose exactly when the play takes place. The history of that time period would lead to
decisions about the way the set will look.
A character in the play mentions that he has met King George. There have been six Kings
named George in England’s history—the first three ruled from 1714 – 1820, through the
eighteenth century into the beginning of the nineteenth. We chose to set SCT’s production
in the eighteenth-century because it made sense for all the events of the play. It was a time
of new possibilities for ordinary English citizens, one in which noble birth or inherited
wealth wasn’t the only path to personal success and happiness. A country lad like Dick
Whittington could become Lord Mayor of
London, travels to far-flung lands could
result in amazing adventures, and piracy
was still in its golden age.
In the early eighteenth century, the English
painter and engraver William Hogarth
created popular engravings filled with
action and life. They depict people from
all walks of life, often with a comic eye
that exaggerates their mannerisms or
clothing. Hogarth’s engravings seem about
to burst out of their frames or off of the
printed page because of their energy. The
Dick Whittington set combines the style of
Hogarth’s engravings with artwork based
on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century toytheater scenery.
But eighteenth-century visual art is not the
only influence on design. As a new musical,
SCT’s Dick Whittington is also inspired by
William Hogarth’s print Beer Street, 1751
the eighteenth-century play The Beggar’s
Opera by John Gay. Gay set his lyrics to popular tunes, hymns and operatic arias of his day
creating a new style called the “ballad opera” that took the traditions of Italian opera and
transformed them into a more popular sound. In the same way, this production takes the
visual world of the eighteenth century and contrasts it with a musical score that has a
present-day sound to produce a work that feels both historical and of-the-moment.
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Drafting showing
an overhead outline
view of one of
the four periaktoi
(revolving triangular
set pieces) used to
create buildings
for the streets of
London
The building will be on both the front and the back of the
periaktoi, but painted in two different ways. For the regular
street scenes, it will be the color version above. But when
Dick’s journey through the unfamiliar London’s streets gets a
little scarier, the building revolves to show the darker side.
The sketch for one of the buildings
The set design needs to support that mix of styles.
To do that, we start with a number of scenic devices that were common in Renaissance
and eighteenth-century stagecraft. Our set pieces are flat and artificial-looking on
their own, but they are
arranged in a way to create
dimension on the stage.
The London set utilizes
large “periaktoi” or freestanding, three-sided set
pieces that can rotate to
reveal different sides for
different scenes.
Set model for the
London street scenes
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When Dick travels to the exotic port
of Cabar, there are smaller scenic
elements that rotate to reveal
surprising transformations.
The artwork for the pirate ship
is based on toy-theater scenery
designs, but in this case, to bring
the action closer to the audience,
the pirate ship literally breaks
through the picture frame portals
that define the stage space.
Model of the Cabier’s court
Characters and scenes for toy theater presentations of
the Dick Whittington story from about 1840
A toy theater set up with Alice in the background and
Dick carrying his belongings on his way to adventure
All these elements give the
production a non-realistic,
theatrical feel that lets the
characters reflect both
eighteenth-century and
contemporary qualities.
The pirate ship
13
ABOUT THE COSTUMES
By Catherine Hunt, Costume Designer
Dick Whittington is a hero’s journey about a poor boy who, with the help of his cat Trueheart,
ventures to different lands and finally comes back to London a changed, respected young man.
At first we were going to set this play
in Victorian England in the nineteenth
century. But when we started
talking about some of the fantastical
elements of the story, it became clear
that the eighteenth century would
be a more interesting choice. This
is a period of time that doesn’t get
featured as often on stage. We thought
we could let our imaginations really
run wild and do some very theatrical
things that showcase the silhouettes
(shapes) from that time.
For inspiration we looked at art from
the period. The worlds of painters
like William Hogarth and Joshua
Reynolds are exciting and lush, full
of lots of storytelling. We also looked
at the imaginative, larger-than-life
designs of the movies The Adventures
of Baron Munchausen and Amadeus,
both based on people who lived in
the eighteenth century.
The painting David Garrick and his
Wife by William Hogarth, 1764
Sir Joshua Reynolds’ painting,
Lady Skipwith, 1787
An image from the film Amadeus, showing some interesting wigs
Costume sketches of two members of the Cabier’s court wearing interesting wigs of their own
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14
For each place that Dick travels,
we wanted the clothes to be
distinct in silhouette and color.
Sketch of Dick’s costume for the start of the play
In London we are using earthy
tones with splashes of color,
echoing the architecture of the
city. This is the first time we
see Alice and Dick together
so we will show the dramatic
difference in their social class
through their clothing.When
Dick leaves London and goes
to the Cabier’s court, the style
becomes more Prussian in
This painting by François Hubert
Drouais from 1758 inspired Dick’s
feeling, but still very eighteenth
costume. Like the boys in this
century. We have lots of
picture, Dick wears an amazing
dramatic, exaggerated shapes
oversized hat.
and headdresses which Dick
has never seen before. The colors are now more intense—rich
blues, purples, pinks and oranges.
The pirates wear worn-away colors: faded black, grey, navy,
rusty red and dirty white. These are clothes that were once
nice, but have been changed by the sea and the hard work the
pirates must endure.
By the time the pirate ship lands in London, Dick and Alice
have changed into red and green coats and hats for the
holidays. We intended this to show not only the passage
of time, but also that the help of Trueheart and others has
changed them. Dick looks like he could be elected Lord Mayor
of London. His miraculous journey is now complete.
Alice wears this costume when she first
meets Dick. The painting in the top left
corner of the sketch inspired Alice’s dress.
Alice has a far higher social status than Dick at the start of the play. So
Alice wears beautiful blue silk (left) , while Dick’s clothes are made with
rougher, cheaper fabrics (right).
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15
I’m so excited to work in this time period. The
silhouettes of the clothes are unexpected and so
much fun. But I think that people will especially
enjoy the wigs. The hair from this time can really
be outrageous!
Sketch of the Cabier and two of his court, with research
images. Their headdresses definitely let us know that Dick
has traveled far from home.
Dick has changed quite a bit when he returns to London. In the
bottom left corner of the sketch you can see the art that was a
source for this design.
16
Pirates!
ABOUT THE PUPPETS
From Annett Mateo, Puppet Designer
The funny thing about Dick Whittington and His Cat is that almost everything that happens
in the story happens because of the cat, but we don’t really see the cat much. As the story
progresses, Trueheart goes from an ordinary house cat to a larger-than-life rat-defeating hero.
So the director, Allison Narver, decided how we represent Trueheart (and the rats) will change
as the story unfolds.
The first time we see the cat, she is an ordinary looking brown tabby and will be a type of rod
puppet—the actor will control the cat’s head movement with the rod hidden in the puppet’s
body. Usually with rod puppets the audience does not see the puppeteer, but this time they
will because the actor is also the puppeteer. However, they will not see how the actor makes
Trueheart’s head move.
When Dick takes Trueheart home to the rat infested attic, we learn her specialty—exterminating
rats. The rats will be depicted only by using small red dots of light as their eyes. As they are
killed, the eyes will wink out until they are all gone! We won’t see Trueheart during this action,
but we will hear her.
When Trueheart is shipped off to sea, Dick’s first stop on his journey to find her is at the
port of Cabar. As the Cabier tells his amazing story about how Trueheart saved the feast,
the place will be overrun with rats and they will all
turn into a giant cat! This will be accomplished by
using two-sided puppets with the rats on one side and
different parts of the cat on the other. The rats will be
painted with ultraviolet (UV) paint which glows under
UV light. As the light changes to regular stage lighting,
the actors will turn the pieces over and arrange them to
create the huge cat.
Research images for Trueheart
Sketch of the puppet body for Trueheart showing the rod to control her head
Continued on the next page...
17
Dick then travels to a pirate ship in search of Trueheart, where we hear Bloody Bess tell her
story about battling an army of ghost rats. The actors will carry long rods with rat puppets
attached to the end of the rods by wires to make these “ghosts” float around the stage. These
puppets are a cross between rod puppets and marionettes because the wires let the actors
control the rats’ movement.
When the adventures are finally over, we see the first puppet once again—Trueheart is back
in Dick’s arms.
The rats in the Cabier scene are painted on one side of separate cat body parts.
All the parts will have rat images on them, even though just a few are shown here
When the body parts are reversed and put in place, they become
a four foot tall cat. The numbers by the handles on the parts
show which actors are holding them—you can see that five
actors work together to create this cat.
18
Sketch of one of the ghost rat rods
RICHARD AND DICK
– THE WHITTINGTONS OF FACT AND FANCY
About four hundred years ago, the folk-tale Dick Whittington and
his Cat began to become popular in England in songs, in books and
on the stage, where it remains popular to this day. There are many
variations of the legend, but a basic version goes like this:
Dick Whittington, a poor orphan from the countryside, sets off
to seek his fortune in London, drawn by the rumor that London
streets are paved with gold. In London, cold and hungry, he falls
asleep at the gate of the home of a wealthy merchant named
Fitzwarren, who gives him a job in his kitchen.
At Fitzwarren’s house, Dick sleeps in a tiny attic room infested
with rats. But Dick owned a cat bought for a penny which he
had earned shining shoes. The cat drives away all the rats.
Engraving of Richard Whittington
with his cat, 1600-1625. The
original had Richard holding a skull,
but it was replaced by a cat as the
legend became popular.
Fitzwarren organizes a trade expedition and has all his servants
send something they own onto the merchant ship Unicorn to
be traded. Dick reluctantly sends his cat. Dick decides to run away. But as he leaves the city,
he hears the bells of Bow Church, that seem to tell him, “Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord
Mayor of London.” So he returns.
Meanwhile the ship Unicorn is blown off course to the coast of Northwest Africa, where a local
ruler entertains the English traders with a feast. Rats attack the feast but Dick Whittington’s cat
drives them all off. Elated, the ruler pays more for the cat than the rest of the cargo combined.
The Unicorn returns to London and Fitzwarren tells the ragamuffin Dick that he is now rich!
Dick marries Fitzwarren’s daughter Alice and joins his father-in-law in business. In time,
Whittington becomes Lord Mayor of London three times, just as the bells predicted.
Jeff Church’s play Dick Whittington and his Cat alters this story in many ways. But that is not
unusual. There have been hundreds of stage versions of the story in Britain, many with wild and
wacky alterations, and more are created all the time.
Now for a few historical FAQs:
Was there really a Dick Whittington?
Yes. At any rate, there was a wealthy London merchant and politician named Richard
Whittington. There’s no evidence that anyone called him “Dick” during his lifetime.
Continued on the next page...
19
Was he thrice Lord Mayor of London?
Yes—in 1397-98, 1406-07 and 1419-20—over a hundred years
before the legend began. Actually, Whittington served four
terms as Lord Mayor, but two of them, in 1397 and 1398 were
right after each other. He also served terms as Sheriff of London
and as a Member of Parliament.
What is a Lord Mayor of London? Is it the same as the Mayor
of London?
Okay, that isn’t actually a Frequently Asked Question, because
few in the U.S. would think to ask it, but in fact the Lord Mayor
of London is not the same as the Mayor of London. The Lord
Mayor of London is mayor of the City of London, which is a
district within London. Today it is usually called “The City” and
serves as the financial district, in the way that “Wall Street”
does in the U.S. The current Lord Mayor of London is Fiona
Woolf, the second woman to have been Lord Mayor out of
almost 700 Lord Mayors.
A statue of Whittington’s cat on Highgate
Hill in London
Did Richard Whittington have a cat which brought him good fortune?
It might be fun to think so, but there’s no evidence that he did. He did move to London from the
countryside—from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, to be exact—and he certainly made a
lot of money after he got to London. He did marry a woman named Alice, who was the daughter
of Sir Ivo Fitzwarren. But the real Richard Whittington was never poor. He was the son of a
wealthy knight, though there is no evidence that he himself
was ever knighted.
This plaque is at St. Michael Paternoster church
Sources:
Why did he become a poor ragamuffin in the folk tale?
Maybe because he funded many projects that helped the
poor people of London, including drainage systems in poor
areas of the city, a hospital ward for unwed mothers, and
some of the first-ever public drinking fountains. In his will
he instructed that his fortune be used to create a charity
that still bears his name and helps poor people in London
today, over 600 years later.
The History of Parliament –
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/whittington-richard-1423
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Whittington_and_His_Cat
20
THREE REAL TRUE-HEARTED CATS
In Jeff Church’s play, Dick Whittington and His Cat, Dick calls Trueheart a “wonder cat.” And so
she is. But real wonder cats are every bit as amazing.
Able Seacat Simon
Trueheart sails over the world on ships, showing off her ratcatching powers. Cats have been doing that for thousands of years.
Simon served on the British warship Amethyst. During a battle in
China in 1949, Simon was nearly killed. But he still comforted the
crew members who were frightened and sick. The ship was cut off
from supplies and running low on food. Rats were a serious threat.
The crew named the largest and boldest rat “Mao Tse-Tung.” Simon,
still weak from his wounds, faced down and killed the rat. He was
presented with an award, a “campaign ribbon” along with the rest of
the crew. Here are the words which came with the ribbon:
Simon
Able Seaman Simon, for distinguished and meritorious service on HMS Amethyst, you are
hereby awarded the Distinguished Amethyst Campaign Ribbon.
Be it known that on April 26, 1949, though recovering from wounds, when HMS Amethyst
was standing by off Rose Bay you did single-handedly and unarmed stalk down and destroy
“Mao Tse Tung,” a rat guilty of raiding food supplies which were critically short.
Be it further known that from April 22 to August
4 you did rid HMS Amethyst of pestilence and
vermin, with unrelenting faithfulness.
As the ship made its way back to Britain, Simon
was also awarded the famous Dickin medal for
animal bravery. He is the only cat ever to win that
medal. There were plans for a ceremony in London
to present him with the medal. The Lord Mayor of
London planned to attend. But Simon died the night
before the ceremony.
Continued on the next page...
21
Simon looks like he means business
Holly
Dick Whittington makes a long, dangerous journey to recover his cat. This is a true story about
Holly, a cat who made a long, dangerous journey to recover her people.
In November 2012, Bonnie and Jacob Richter of West Palm Beach, Florida, were camping near
the Daytona International Speedway. One night, their cat Holly bolted from the motor home.
After searching for days, the Richters returned
home catless to West Palm Beach, which is 200
miles away from Daytona.
Holly reunited with the Richters
Two months later, on New Year’s Eve, Barb
Mazzola noticed a cat in her backyard in West
Palm Beach. The cat could barely stand, and
struggled to even meow. Her pads were bleeding.
Over six days, Ms. Mazzola and her children cared
for the cat, putting out food. Eventually the cat
came inside.
They named her Cosette after the orphan in Les Misérables. They took her to a veterinarian, Dr.
Sara Beg. Dr. Beg noticed the cat was very thin, and had back claws worn down from walking
on pavement. Dr. Beg also found a microchip implanted in the cat that proved that Cosette was
really Holly. Barb Mazzola wanted to keep Cosette, and cried when she found out the truth.
The Richters cried, too, when they saw Holly again.
Scientists don’t know how Holly did it. Animals who migrate
sometimes smell their way home. Some can sense the earth’s
magnetic fields and use that sense to guide them. Some are
guided by the position of the sun. Cats can find their way
around familiar places using sight and smell. They figure out
clever shortcuts all the time. But they do not migrate. Some
scientists think Holly may have caught a distant smell. Some
think she walked along the coast, keeping the highway to her
right and the ocean to the left.
A path Holly may have taken to get home
Holly’s is the most recent story of a cat returning home over a long distance. But it has happened
before: In 1989, Murka traveled 325 miles home to Moscow, Russia from her owner’s mother’s
house. Ninja returned to Farmington, Utah, in 1997, a year after she and her family moved to
Mill Creek, Washington. In 1978, Howie, an indoor Persian cat in Australia, ran away from the
relatives his family had left him with. Howie traveled 1,000 miles back to his family’s home.
Continued on the next page...
22
Room 8
Trueheart appears rather mysteriously in Dick’s life. And she
seems to have no trouble surviving on her own when they are
separated. There are lots of real cats like that. One of the most
famous was Room 8.
In 1952 a cat wandered into an elementary school classroom
in Echo Park, California. He walked on the students’ desks and
ate some of their lunches. Then he disappeared at the end of the
school day. But he came back the next morning. The children
Room 8 resting while the class recites
named him Room 8 after the room he had first wandered into.
the Pledge of Allegiance
He kept coming back, every single school day, for more than 10
years! Nobody knew where he went at night or during weekends and
vacations. But he was always there to greet the students every fall
when school began. He became the school mascot. One child a year
became the honored “cat feeder.”
Room 8 checking a student’s
work on a typewriter
Room 8 grew famous. He got thousands of letters from all over the
country. The children at the school answered all the letters, signing
them with a rubber-stamp paw print. The principal of the school wrote
a book about him, A Cat Called Room 8. Teachers at the school still read
this book to new students every year. You can see a mural of Room 8 on
the walls outside the school, and his paw prints are in the sidewalk.
After he died, The Room 8 Memorial Foundation began to provide
shelter and families for homeless cats. They are still doing so today.
Sources:
Purr ‘n’ Fur website, with many cat stories, including those of Seacat
Simon and Room 8 – http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk
New York Times reporting on Holly’s journey –
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/one-cats-incredible-journey
Room 8 Memorial Foundation Website – http://www.room8cats.org/
The mural outside Elysian
Heights Elementary School
The Room 8 picture book A Cat Called Room 8, Virginia Finley and Beverly Mason, illustrated by
Valerie Martin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1966, ISBN 0-399-60085-X, LCCN 66-14332.
23
PERSEVERANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS
“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”
- Louisa May Alcott
In Jeff Church’s play Dick Whittington and His
Cat, Dick Whittington makes mistakes. He
puts his faith in liars. He believes impossible
stories. He rushes into danger without a plan.
The plans that he does try don’t work out well
(like putting a bag of gold under his coat to
impersonate a hunchback pirate).
But he also has qualities that help him
succeed. His open-hearted courage wins him
friends. And he has perseverance. He keeps
on going, risking everything in his quest to
regain his cat, Trueheart.
An engraving of mutineers setting Bligh and some of his crew
adrift from HMS Bounty
Dick learns that Trueheart has been taken by the pirate Bloody
Bess, the “demon of the sea.” So Dick takes off after Bloody
Bess at night in a small boat. Nobody will come with him—they
are too scared. In the end his success seems incredible. But
surprisingly, even more amazing small boat voyages have taken
place in real life.
In 1789, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Lieutenant
William Bligh and took over his ship, the Bounty. Bligh and
eighteen men loyal to him were forced into a small boat.
They had very few supplies. One of the men was killed by
Polynesians. But Bligh managed to lead the boat and the rest of
Portrait of Lieutenant William Bligh
the men to safety. The voyage lasted 47 days and covered 3,618
miles. Bligh was not a popular man. He was harsh. Like Dick Whittington in our play, he was
often a poor judge of other people. But he was a great navigator. And he had perseverance.
So did Ernest Shackleton. He led an expedition to Antarctica in 1914. But in October 1915, his
ship Endurance was crushed by ice. Shackleton and his 27 companions camped on floating
ice. They drifted north on the ice for months. When the ice broke up they made their way in
the ship’s lifeboats to Elephant Island, which was uninhabited. Shackleton decided to sail one
of the lifeboats with a small crew to the island of South Georgia where there was a whaling
station. That island was almost a thousand miles away. They had to sail through 60-foot waves
Continued on the next page...
24
No, this photograph isn’t crooked. It shows
crew members of the Endurance working to
save supplies from the ship as it is sinking
slowly beneath the ice
and hurricane-force winds.
The voyage lasted 16 days. But
the boat reached the south
side of South Georgia Island.
Shackleton and two others
hiked across mountains to
reach the whaling station on
the northern side. Here he was
able to get help for the people
still on Elephant Island and to
return them all home without
losing one human life. Like
Dick Whittington, Shackleton
made mistakes. But, also like
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Dick Whittington, people
trusted him. And he had perseverance.
So does Katie Spotz. In 2010, she rowed a boat across the
Atlantic Ocean. From Africa to South America. By herself.
She was 22 years old, the youngest person ever
to row across the Atlantic. It took her 70 days,
5 hours and 22 minutes. She had to deal with
equipment breakdowns and a fire on board.
She found it hard to sleep because the boat
was tossed around at night by ocean waves.
Flying fish slapped her in the face. Unlike
Katie Spotz at work
Dick Whittington, William Bligh and Earnest
Shackleton, she had a radio. She could have
called for rescue at any time. But she didn’t.
She made it on her own. Success does not
always go to the strongest, or the fastest or the
smartest. It often goes to the one who refuses
to give up.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
- Nelson Mandela
Katie in the living quarters
of her 19-foot boat, Liv
25
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Richard Whittington, the real-life Dick Whittington,
did not start out poor. But some other Lord Mayors of
London did. Brook Watson, an orphan boy, was sent
to live with his uncle, a merchant. The uncle went
bankrupt. Brook went to sea as a sailor. When he was
13, a shark bit off his foot. Brook Watson became Lord
Mayor of London in 1796.
There are many real-life rags-to-riches stories in the
world. And more are being created all the time. See
if you can match up these descriptions of childhoods
with each person’s name and achievements on the
next page.
John Singleton Copley’s painting of a shark attacking
13-year old Brook Watson
#1: I was born into a poor farming family. Because we did not have enough food to feed everyone,
some of my brothers and sisters were given away by the family. The land my family farmed was
flooded and a plague broke out. The plague killed everyone in my family, except for me and one of
my brothers. For years I was a wandering beggar.
#2: I was born in a one-room cabin, made out of logs. My father was a farmer who lost all his
land in court cases. My mother died when I was nine years old. I had to do hard physical work all
the time I was growing up. I was only able to go to school for a year.
#3: I was born in a one-room cottage, which my family shared with another family. My family
borrowed money to move to America, hoping things would be better. Growing up, I worked in a
cotton mill for 12 hours a day, six days a week, for one dollar and twenty cents a week.
#4: I was born to an unmarried teenage mother. She moved away and left me with my
grandmother shortly after I was born. I lived with my grandmother for six years. We were so
poor that I often wore clothes made of potato sacks. I moved back with my mother when I was
six. I tried to run away when I was 13 and she sent me off to live with my father.
#5: My parents were poor farmers who had been slaves most of their lives. I was the first in my family
to be born into freedom. My parents both died by the time I was seven years old. I married when I
was 14, but my husband died when I was 20, leaving me with no money and a two-year-old daughter.
#6: My mother was a housekeeper. My father, a poor rice farmer, moved out of the country to
find work when I was nine years old. I would see him once a year. I walked barefoot on a dirt
road so that I could go to school.
#7: My family moved to a trailer park in Bellingham when I was six. I acted in plays at school
and Seattle Children’s Theatre in the summer. At 15, I moved with my mother to Los Angeles to
become a professional actor. For a while, we lived out of our car.
Continued on the next page...
26
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I taught
myself law and became a lawyer without ever going to law school. Later, I went into
politics and was elected president. I had to lead my country through a terrible war in
order to keep it together and to free the people in it who were kept as slaves.
MADAM C.J. WALKER, FIRST FEMALE SELF-MADE MILLIONAIRE IN THE U.S.: I got a
job working as a washerwoman in my brothers’ barbershop. I made a dollar a day, but
I learned about hair products. Eventually I began my own hair and beauty products
company. My products were popular all over the United States and in many other
countries. I gave most of my wealth away to charity and to advance civil rights.
DADO BANATAO, HIGH-TECH ENTREPENEUR: I did well in school. I got a degree in
Electrical Engineering in the Philippines and became a pilot and design engineer for
Boeing. I studied at the University of Washington and Stanford University, where I met
Steve Jobs. I founded three technology companies, selling one of them in 1996 for $430
million. I support students in the Philippines with scholarship programs.
THE HONGWU EMPEROR OF CHINA, FOUNDER OF THE MING DYNASTY: I joined a
rebel army and rose rapidly through the ranks. I fought to free my country from the
Mongol invaders who had ruled us for a hundred years. I drove them out and became
emperor. I used my power to help poor people, remembering that I had once been
one of them.
HILARY SWANK, ACTOR: I won two Oscars for Best Actress, one for playing the young
man Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, and another for playing a boxer named Maggie
Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. I received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in
2007. I also played Amelia Earhart in the movie Amelia.
ANDREW CARNEGIE, SCOTTISH-AMERICAN INDUSTRIALIST: I worked my way up
in a telegraph company and invested in railroads, bridges and oil wells. I built the
Carnegie Steel Company, which I sold in 1901 for $480 million. I then spent the rest of
my life giving money away, founding libraries, a university, museums and institutions
dedicated to promoting world peace.
OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: I got a job in radio when I was still in high school,
and began co-anchoring the local evening news when I was 19 years old. I began
hosting my own talk show in Chicago, and founded my own company and television
network. I am North America’s only African-American billionaire.
#3 = Andrew Carnegie
#2 = Abraham Lincoln
#1 = Hongwu Emperor
27
#7 = Hilary Swank
#6 = Dado Banatao
#5 = Madam C.J. Walker
#4 = Oprah Winfrey
ANSWERS:
WORDS & PHRASES THAT MIGHT BE NEW TO YOU
What? A little scruff like you? – dirty person
See if you don’t get tuppence just for cheerin’ people up a bit. – two pennies
Come here, you guttersnipe! – child who lives in the streets of a city
Brazen little ragamuf�in.
brazen – bold, rude
ragamuf�in – poor child dressed in rags
He doesn’t look like a cutthroat to me, Miss MacGrundy. – murderer
There are others of us who are not inclined to kindhearted falderal. – nonsense
And you’ll see her if you accept my proposition for work. – offer
It’s a mite cold, but tea nonetheless. – little bit
…and plummeted on the blighter’s head. – unpleasant man’s
Thrice Lord Mayor of London… – three times
I know I don’t have the best accommodations for you. – housing
Ain’t you a mite scrimpy to be a ship’s mate? – small
No wind in the sails, no grub in the hatches. – food
Oh, it’s a puzzle, an intrigue! – mystery
It was only seven moons ago, on a hot and sultry evening. – extremely hot and humid
Has no one ever told you there is an exception to every rule? – case where it doesn’t apply
Ambusher, bushwhacker, and bloodiest buccaneer ever to blight the Arabian Sea!
ambusher, bushwhacker – both words mean someone who attacks without warning from a
hiding place
buccaneer – pirate
blight – spoil
Arabian Sea – northwestern part of the Indian Ocean
Mister Smythe, what’s our dead reckoning? – estimated position
Mister Smythe, go a-stern and check our course. – towards the back of the ship
Fetch me a lemon. I think the scurvy’s catching up to me eyes. – disease caused by lack of vitamin C.
Scurvy was once common among people like sailors who were on ships at sea for a long time without
any fresh fruits and vegetables to eat.
I now ask for your last thoughts or recollections. – memories
I’ll take every penny of every booty we ever plundered for this mutiny!
booty – stolen property
plundered – stole
mutiny – refusal to obey orders
28
JUMP START
Ideas for things to do, wonder about, talk about or write about before or after you see
Dick Whittington and His Cat.
Can you think of a time something not so great happened to you but it turned into a good thing?
Act like a cat. Act like a magic cat.
Imagine a huge cart filled with all sorts of things from your home. What’s in the cart? Mime pulling the
cart with enthusiasm. Mime pulling it after you’ve been on the road for days.
Why is Miss MacGrundy so mean?
Why does the Cabier have rules about who can talk to him and how they have to talk to him?
Make a toy boat with recyclable things you can find at home—milk cartons, water bottles or egg cartons,
for example. (Ask permission before you use anything.)
Add one more adventure to the story. What might happen to Dick, Alice and Trueheart when they are all
together?
The sound of church bells helps Dick find his way home. What other sounds might he hear as he walks
through the city? Remember, this is before there were cars or airplanes or trains. What sounds does he
hear when he is on a ship in the ocean?
How much of Dick’s good luck is because of Trueheart and how much is because of his own actions?
Tell someone a long list of directions to someplace in your neighborhood. Have them repeat the
directions. Keep adding directions. See how many they can remember. Then it’s your turn to have them
tell you a list. How many can you remember?
If you could go anywhere you wish (real or imaginary), where would it be? Describe the place and the
people who live there.
What makes Alice brave enough to go off and follow Dick on her own?
If this story was Dick Whittington and His Dog, how would it be different? How about Dick Whittington
and His Hamster?
Retell the story from Trueheart’s point of view. What adventures did she have on her own?
Write a letter from Alice to her father explaining why she left home and what happened to her.
What would have happened to Dick if Mr. Fitzwarren hadn’t given
him a place to live?
Will Dick be a good Lord Mayor? What kinds of things do you think
he will do for the city?
What animals might be lucky to have around? Why?
Draw a map of the trip you take from home to school.
Did the Stranger tell Dick the truth about Trueheart?
Make up a song about being on a pirate ship. Sing it while you pretend
to swab the deck, hoist the anchor, raise the sails or steer the ship.
29
DRAMA IN ACTION
This is a customized Dick Whittington and His Cat Dramashop*
exercise for you to try.
EXERCISE: Trueheart’s Next Adventure
GRADES: Age 5 and up
TIME: 10 minutes
SET-UP: This exercise works best in an open space
SUPPLIES: Piece of paper and pencil for each pair of students
INSTRUCTIONS:
Trueheart the cat journeys from a London attic to the Port of Cabar and then is kidnapped and held
captive aboard a pirate ship. But what new adventures await Trueheart now that she has been
given to a young child by Dick Whittington? In this exercise students will work with a partner to
imagine what Trueheart will be up to next.
Pair up the students. Ask them to get out a piece of paper and a pencil. Give them five minutes to
work with their partner to identify three things that might happen to Trueheart now that Dick
Whittington has given her to a young child. (Younger students can simply agree on their ideas
without writing them down.) Supportive prompts may include:
• Does Trueheart clear rats out of a new place? Where?
• Is Trueheart lucky for the young child? How?
• Does Trueheart travel to a new place? How does she get there?
Next have the partners select one idea to make into a frozen tableau. Explain that they will each
be a character in the tableau, so they should use their faces to show expression and their bodies
to show action.
Prompt all the pairs to make and freeze their tableau on the same cue. Note aloud similarities
and differences you see. Next, either have each pair present their tableau to another pair or to
the entire group.
*A Dramashop is an interactive drama-workshop that Seattle Children’s Theatre offers to schools and community groups
through our Education Outreach Program. Dramashops explore the themes, characters, historical context and production
elements of SCT Mainstage plays. Professional SCT teaching artists work with students for an hour, fleshing out themes
and ideas through dynamic theatre exercises. Dramashops can occur either before or after seeing the play and can be held
at SCT or at your location. Students get on their feet in these participatory workshops, stretching their imaginations while
learning about the play.
For information about bringing a Dramashop to your classroom or community group, email [email protected]
30
WONDER CAT
Trueheart is a “wonder cat” who brings good luck to those she meets.
Draw what Trueheart looks like to you.
Write one lucky thing Trueheart might help you do or find in your life.
Alice’s
Quest
Alice goes on her own amazing adventure to reunite with
Dick and Trueheart. Fill in her story by imagining and
writing the answers to these questions.
How does Alice get away from her
home and Miss MacGrundy?
What does Alice do when her ship is
attacked by pirates?
How does Alice become a member
of a ship’s crew?
What does Alice do when she
realizes Bloody Bess has Trueheart?
BOOKLIST
For Children & Young Adults:
Fiction
Dick Whittington and His Cat
Marcia Brown
Non�iction
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World
Jane Yolen
Whittington
Alan Armstrong
Mapping and Navigation: Explore the History and
Science of Finding Your Way with 25 Projects
Cynthia Light Brown
Puss in Boots
Jerry Pinkney
Explorer (Eyewitness Books)
Rupert Matthews
Kidnapped
Robert Louis Stevenson
Oh Rats! The Story of Rats and People
Albert Marrin
From carrying the plague around Europe to
being a tasty dinner to sniffing out land mines,
this book is full of facts and curious tidbits about
the ways rats have interacted with people, and
the effect rats and people have on each other.
Stowaway
Karen Hesse
Got Geography!
Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
A Curious Collection of Cats
Betsy Franco
This wonderful collection of visual poems,
told in bold colors and images, explores
the personalities of cats from napping to
pouncing.
Palace of Spies
Sarah Zettel
In 1716 London, an orphaned sixteen-year-old
girl from a good family impersonates a lady-inwaiting only to discover that the real girl was
murdered, the court harbors a nest of spies,
and the handsome young artist who’s helping
her solve the mystery might be a spy himself.
Booklist prepared by Tamara Saarinen
Pierce County Library System
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Engaging young people with the arts is what we are all about at SCT. We hope that the Active
Audience Guide has helped enhance and extend the theater experience for your family or your
students beyond seeing the show.
We’d love to hear your feedback about the guide. You can email your comments to us at [email protected]
Educators, your input is very valuable to us. Please take a moment to go online and answer this
brief survey: http://www.instant.ly/s/Uw6W6
Thank you for your support.
Seattle Children’s Theatre, which celebrates its 40th season in 2014-2015, performs
September through June in the Charlotte Martin and Eve Alvord Theatres at Seattle Center. SCT
has gained acclaim as a leading producer of professional theatre, educational programs and new
scripts for young people. By the end of its 2013-2014 season, SCT had presented over 230 plays,
including 110 world premieres, entertaining over 4 million children.
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