The content of the play offers limitless opportunities for art teachers to build upon. It explores the qualities and forms of a variety of media--paint, sculpture, drawing and photography. It follows step by step Calder's innovation of taking shapes and colors "off the page" and transforming them into a whole new form of kinetic sculpture (the mobile). It explores Calder's process of choosing subject matter, symbols and ideas that shaped his life's work. And it examines the important role of self-assessment in the artistic process.
Music And Dance Movement
The form of the play encourages students to understand music and dance as a way to create and communicate meaning. Much of the play is underscored by the music of Eric Satie, George Gershwin and Claude Debussy. Students can listen to, analyze and describe the variety of styles of music used. Many moments in the play are created by music and movement alone. Students will use critical skills and observation to learn how non-verbal stories are told.
Math And Science
The principle of balance is a rich springboard for mathematical analysis--greater than/lesser than, balanced equations, comparing and contrasting weights and materials. The play offers math and science teachers an opportunity for initiating hands-on projects (creating mobiles) that require specific mathematical calculations to determine the weight, size, and mass of the mobile pieces and encourage analytical thinking in the selection of appropriate materials.
The play is set in a vibrant period of art (and world) history--the 1920's-30's. Calder's work was a playful, positive response to a world that was rapidly changing. Students will enjoy analyzing the cultural context of Calder's work, as well as comparing and contrasting his work to the work of other artist in this period and the work of artists today.