Post-Show Questions for Discussion and Activities

Note to Educators: Use the following assignments, questions, and activities to have students evaluate their experience of the performance of The Mad 7, as well as to encourage their own imaginative and artistic projects through further exploration of the play in production. Consider also that some of the pre-show activities might enhance your students’ experience following the performance.

  1. The Power of One In addition to his work on The Mad 7, Yehuda Hyman has previously explored “The Seven Beggars” tale through a separate theatrical piece entitled The Mad DancersThe Mad Dancers similarly tells the story of Elliott Green and his journey in search of himself, yet features a cast of seven actors.  Ask your students to reflect upon The Mad 7 as a solo performance piece, and then comparatively as a play for multiple actors.  Then ask them the following questions:

    • What, do you imagine, are the challenges of solo performance? 

    • What are the pleasures of watching one actor embody multiple characters?

    • What, if anything, cannot be done or achieved in a solo performance?

    • What in the nature of The Mad 7 (e.g., narrative, theme, characters) recommends it for solo performance?  Explain your answer.  [Following student contemplation of this question, you might have the class read or reread aloud Part 4 of the “Interview with Yehuda Hyman,” which focuses upon the past development of the piece and the playwright-performer’s decision to make it a solo performance piece.]

  2. Meditating on The Mad 7.  Following their attendance at the performance of The Mad 7, ask your students to reflect on the questions belowYou might choose to have them answer each individually, or you may divide students into groups for round-table discussions. Have them consider each question, record their answers and then share their responses with the rest of the class.

    Questions to Ask Your Students About the Play in Production

    1. What was your overall reaction to The Mad 7?  Did you find the production compelling?  Stimulating?  Intriguing?  Challenging?  Memorable?  Confusing?  Evocative?  Unique?  Delightful?  Meaningful?  Explain your reactions.
    2. Did experiencing the play heighten your awareness or understanding of the play’s themes [e.g., the challenge of an existential crisis in an ordinary person’s life, the search for one’s self, the search for what is truly meaningful in life, the source of true happiness, the path to self-fulfillment, the relevance of faith or spirituality in contemporary life]? What themes were made even more apparent in performance? Explain your responses.
    3. Do you think that the pace and tempo of the production were effective and appropriate? Explain your opinion.
    4. Did you find the elements of music and dance to be integral to the production as a whole?  Explain your thoughts.

Questions to Ask Your Students About the Characters

  1. Did you personally identify with Elliott Green or any of the other characters in The Mad 7?  Who?  Why?
  2. What memorable qualities or character traits were revealed by the action and speech of the characters?  Explain your ideas.
  3. Did Elliott Green undergo a transformation during the course of the play?  If so, how would you describe his transformation?  What caused this transformation?
  4. In what ways did the characters reveal the themes of the play?  Explain your responses.

Questions to Ask Your Students About the Style and Design of the Production

  1. Was there a moment in The Mad 7 that was so compelling or intriguing that it remains with you in your mind’s eye?  Can you write a vivid description of that moment?  As you write your description, pretend that you are writing about the moment for someone who was unable to experience the performance.
  2. Did the style and design elements of the production enhance the performance?  Did anything specifically stand out to you?  Explain your reaction.
  3. How did the production style and design reflect the themes of the play?
  4. What mood or atmosphere did the lighting design establish or achieve?  Explain your experience.
  5. Did the design of the costumes and makeup serve to illuminate the characters, themes, and style of the play?  How?
  1. Wearing the Hat of the CriticHave your students take on the role of theater critic by having them write reviews of The Mad 7.  A theater critic or reviewer is essentially a "professional audience member," whose job is to report the news, in detail, of a play's production and performance through active and descriptive language for a target audience of readers (e.g., their peers, their community, or those interested in the Arts).  Critics/reviewers also analyze the theatrical event to provide clearer understanding of the artistic ambitions and intentions of a play and its production; reviewers often ask themselves, "What is the playwright and this production attempting to do?"  And, finally, the critic offers a personal opinion as to whether the artistic intentions of a production were achieved and effective.  Things to consider before writing:

    • Theater critics/reviewers always back up their opinions with reasons, evidence and details.
    • Particulars of a production that can be discussed in a theatrical review are the play text or script (and its themes, plot, characters, etc.), scenic elements, costumes, lighting, sound, music, acting, dance and direction (i.e., how all of these elements are put together).
    •  We encourage you to provide your students with sample theater reviews from various newspapers.  Many of these reviews can be found online.