Women: Back the Future is an innovative one-woman show which brings to life a diverse group of historical American women role models (e.g.: Abigail Adams, Sacagawea, Bessie Coleman, Lucy Stone, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, Rachel Carson) from the written word, such as journals and diaries. Each character springs alive through song, monologue and movement. Character traits are discussed as the audience experiences each woman's dreams, frustrations, struggles and victories. Participants are challenged to "Reach Out for a Star" in the culminating song which is sung and signed to awaken the power within themselves.
Teachers can name student groups to brainstorm the definition and differences between being an effective and positive or negative "role model". More than 50% of the world's population is women. They have always been vital and active participants in history. What reasons can students list to explain why women are under- represented in history books and in the printed word?
Vocabulary words unique to this performance: Missionary, resourceful, inventive, suffragist, aviatrix, Hidatsa and Shoshone Indians, Environmental pollution, defame
Participants should notice how the women's personalities are established with facial expressions, body movement, and speech pattern. Attention should be paid to innovative costume changes creating transitions between historical time periods. What character traits does each featured woman possess? These women were looking to a future of great change and possibilities. How did they challenge traditional expectations of women of their time? How did these women seek creative solutions to their problems?
What are some of the most important language, reading, and math activities students could do after seeing the performance?
What art activities could the student participate in their classroom?
RECOMMENDED STUDENT RESOURCES TO EXTEND THE PERFORMANCE
I Speak for the Women: A Story about Lucy Stone by Stephanie Sammartino MacPherson; Sacagawea, by Marion Brown; A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt by David A. Adler and Robert Casilla (Illustrator); Eleanor Everywhere by Monica Kulling and Cliff Spohn (Illustrator); Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride: Based on a True Story by Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selznick (Illustrator); What I Had Was Singing: The Story of Marian Anderson by Jeri Ferris; Louise Arner Boyd: Arctic Explorer (Notable Americans) by Durlynn Anema; Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviator by Doris L. Rich; Abigail Adams by Angela Osbourne; Rachel Carson - Voice for the Earth by Wadsworth.
Abigail Adams, An American Woman by Charles Akers; The Book of Women by Lynne Griffin and Kelly McCann; The Book of Distinguished American Women by Vincent Wilson, Jr.; Loving Warriors by Lucy Stone; Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviator by Doris L. Rich; Rachel Carson, Witness for Nature by Linda Lear.