A story of perseverance, mystery and triumph delighted an audience of third-graders at Lura Sharp Elementary School on Thursday afternoon as actors from Merry-Go-Round Playhouse performed “Seagirl.”
The show is modeled after a Chinese folktale that details a young girl’s journey through the mountains to discover why the river has dried up. Her poor farming community has all but given up hope.
However, Seagirl, believing the Dragon Lord is responsible for the drought, isn’t deterred as she embarks on several adventures before eventually bringing about the return of the river.
With a direct tie-in to the social studies curriculum, students were able to see concepts taught in the classroom transform onto the stage.
The show brought Chinese culture to life as students developed a better understanding of the symbolism behind dragons.
Through classroom activities, students learned the difference between how dragons are depicted in America compared to China. Led by actress Rebeccah Singer, third-graders in Karen Herlowski’s class reviewed illustrations of two dragons and noted that the Chinese dragon was more colorful, friendly, protective and lives in the sky, as opposed to the American dragon, which was depicted as a dark, deadly, evil creature that lives in the forest.
The actors also talked to students about the lifestyle of the Chinese people, ranging from their diet, transportation and language.
“The land that we live on shapes our culture a lot,” Singer said. “Just like we live in upstate New York with snow and have our own activities, kids in China have their own things they do because of the rivers and (mountainous) land that surround them.”
For students, the performance was the perfect way to cap off the cultural learning experience.