A small bird teaches the Great Emperor the value of simple things and true friendship.
From Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story.
and the most beautiful thing in it was the song of the Nightingale in the forest by the sea.
When the Emperor heard the Nightingale sing, her song brought tears to his eyes. He ordered a gold cage for her, so that she could live at court from now on. Soon the Nightingale was all anyone ever talked about.
One day, a present arrived for the Emperor, a gift from the Emperor of Japan. It was an artificial nightingale that turned around and even played a little tune. The people at court were so thrilled with it that they hardly noticed when the real one flew away, back to her own green woods.
Everyone agreed that the artificial bird was better anyway. They played it over and over again until one day it broke. It was almost worn out, and from then on it could only be played once a year.
Years later, the Emperor was dying. He lay in bed, all alone, haunted by the memories of all his good deeds and all his bad deeds. Death hovered, ready to take the Emperor away. Suddenly, at the window, the real Nightingale began to sing. Her song chased away the Emperor's fears, and brought him strength. Death was filled with a longing for his garden, his home. He changed into a cold white mist and floated out the window.
"You saved my life," said the Emperor. "Take my gold cape."
"I don’t want a reward," answered the Nightingale. "I want to be your friend."
In the morning the servants tip-toed in, expecting to see their dead Emperor's body, but there he was, all better. Healthy and happy, he called out to them: "Good Morning!"
This is probably our most popular show. Its good for the whole school: exotic music, colourful puppets, and a great story.
Our study guide is available as a PDF here.
The full text of The Nightingale is available on Project Gutenburg here.
Friendship, inclusion, empathy, leadership, kindness and caring.
Demonstrate an understanding of how elements of drama are used in theatre to communicate meaning.
Storytelling through puppetry and music, using classical stories as source for drama.
We need use of the performance area for three hours.
Please re-arrange any activities scheduled for that time, and have the space cleared for our arrival.
Our set will extend 25 feet across, and is 20 feet deep. We’ll help the teachers to seat their students.
The students should sit cross-legged on the floor, in order of age. This is easiest to accomplish if the students arrive in order of age, youngest to eldest. The youngest group could arrive about 5 minutes prior to the performance time.
Although children will be seated on the floor, we’ll set chairs along the sides to mark out their area; teachers can use these chairs to sit beside their classes. We also need three chairs backstage.
Please turn off all bells, fans, and air conditioners for the performance.
We need to back our van up to the door which gives the closest access to the performance area. Please arrange to have gates and doors unlocked, and to keep the parking space free for us. If there is no easy access to the performance area, we’d appreciate it if three or four people could help us to unload and load our equipment.
A floor plan of the show, in PDF format, is available for download: click here.
Click here for a PDF version of this sheet.