CURRICULUM STUDY GUIDE: Middle & High School Grade Level
ShadowLight Productions is excited to offer this resource to educators, which can be used in a myriad of ways from exploring immigration today, addressing stereotypes and bullying to inspiring students to tell their own stories, and more! The curriculum and activities for the Ghosts of the River DVD can be followed directly or can be used as a springboard to launch in-depth classroom projects.
The collaborative, team building process and the audiences overwhelmingly positive response to ShadowLight’s 2009 shadow play Ghosts of the River inspired us to create this DVD project as a way to spread the work beyond the stage. The play written by Octavio Solís, directed by Larry Reed, with Art Direction by Favianna Rodriguez and live music by Cascada de Flores incorporated actors, shadow puppets, painted or cut-out scenery and music into five vignettes humanizing contentious subjects surrounding immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border and illuminating stories of those who have crossed the Rio Grande throughout time. The artists involved in the hands-on process became connected to the stories and each other throughout the production. Both they and the audience discovered how effective this art form was at building bridges and ‘crossing borders’ to connect to charged or complex issues.
The half-hour documentary Ghosts of the River: Out of the Shadows delves into the true stories behind shadow play. Going behind the scenes and beyond, the film reveals Solís’ experience growing up on the border and some cast members’ first accounts crossing it. Through the poetic lens of Reed’s collaborative, “live animated” shadow medium, Ghosts breaks through stereotypes and breaks down the invisible walls some use to treat migrants as ‘other.’ Whether using the guide to talk about storytelling, social/political issues or collaborative art forms, we’ve tried to make a palette of diverse activities that could fit multiple classroom scenarios.