“Caroline or Change” offers opportunities for connection. Two Louisiana families, the Gellman family and the Thibodeaux family are the “Everyman,” average, ordinary people moving through the day-to-day moments of their lives. “Caroline or Change” connects the day-to-day moments of these ordinary people to pivotal moments in United States history. These connections work to personalize and contextualize the social, cultural and political climates that serve as the backdrop for the play.
This Study Companion expands these points of connection by providing opportunities for further consideration of both national and local events occurring during the time period depicted in “Caroline or Change.” In Background students trace how the national and local social, cultural and political climates of the 1960’s have continued to inform and lead to pivotal contemporary moments unfolding currently in United States history. This begins with personal reflections by playwright Tony Kushner about his inspiration for “Caroline or Change” and follows with timelines and news articles that both chronical and connect pivotal moments in United States history and New Orleans history with the prevailing social, cultural and political climates of the time.
The Tony-nominated “Caroline, or Change” includes change... children, families and monuments. Family Portraits gives students opportunities to share stories about their family and learn about the cultures of their classmates, which may either be the same or different from their own, and create an autobiographical work of art to express what is special about the culture of their family. Children Who Changed the World, 1963 leads students on an exploration of how children were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and the Children’s Crusade of 1963. Children Who Changed the World, 2017 provides students with additional opportunities to explore how children have changed the world, during the Civil Rights Movement and in the modern day.
Lake Charles, Louisiana is home to both the Gellman family and the Thibodeaux family. During Act One, In order to cheer her up, Caroline Thibodeaux’s friend Dotty tells Caroline that a group of teenagers took down a statue honoring a Confederate soldier from in front of the courthouse. Caroline doesn\'t know anything about it because she doesn\'t own a television. She isn\'t happy about the news, saying that it will only cause trouble. This story of the removal of the monument is woven throughout the rest of the play. In Reflections on Monuments students will have opportunities to explore the importance of monuments, why they are created, learn about the Paper Monuments Project and create their own monument. Monuments: Context and Creation give opportunities to further explore monuments as works of art and how monuments embrace the uniqueness of cultural and national identities and honor heritage, culture and national histories (NOTE: This lesson was originally created as part of a collection of arts lessons; additional lessons from this collection can be found here: https://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/library/k-12-arts-resources)
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