Students will: 1.) discuss storytelling, a tradition that is passed down and preserved orally; 2.) examine how storytellers use voice, movement, drama, and music to tell a story; 3.) examine the Indonesian storytelling tradition using rod puppets (wayang golek). 4.) read a summary of the Ramayana or a scene from this Hindu epic; 5.) analyze a character from the Ramayana.
Map of Southeast Asia (above); See "Downloads" (above): Slide descriptions; Synopsis of the Ramayana and Mahabarata; Character Study Worksheet; Video: Indonesian Rod Puppets
Using the slides and accompanying descriptions (see "Downloads above) and Background Information (see "Related Resources" below), and discuss with your students the following questions:
- How is the Indonesian storytelling tradition similar to or different from the storytelling traditions that you are familiar with?
- How does the puppet master (dalang) signal to his audience that a particular type of character is on stage (voice inflection, movement, the level of respect one character shows toward another, and artistic features)?
- Describe some of the puppets shown in the slides. Ask students to guess which character type each puppet belongs to.
- Locate Indonesia on a map. Introduce the Indonesian tradition of rod puppet theater (wayang golek). Using the slides and accompanying descriptions, review the discussion questions (above) with your students.
- Have students read a summary of the Ramayana or focus on a scene from this Hindu epic. Ask students to choose a character from the story.
- Have students Indonesian Rod Puppets (below) to give them a sense of how music, voice, and puppet manipulation come together during a performance.
- Have students do an analysis of their chosen characters using the Character Study Worksheet.
- Next, have students write a scene from the Ramayana from the perspective of their chosen characters.
- Finally, have students act out their scenes to their classmates. Students may wish to collaborate with one another on their performances.