Objectives: To introduce students to a dramatic theatre presentation using puppets as an aesthetic art form.

To enhance the musical and literary curriculum through a fable about the first musical instrument.

To introduce the art of storytelling with puppets.

To show children that musical instruments can be made from things in our environment.


The ELEVENTH FINGER is 45 minutes in length and is written for grades K through 8. Feathers, an apprentice wood-carver, has a dream in which the Queen of Song appears and tells him of the secret of the Eleventh Finger. He sets off on a journey to discover this secret. In his search he must overcome many dangers - whirlpool, volcano, and earthquake. He is given clues by spirits that represent the four elements of the earth - earth, wind, water, and fire. Feathers, with help from these clues and from the audience, discovers the Eleventh Finger by making a new instrument from bamboo reeds - a flute. PLEASE DO NOT REVEAL THIS ENDING TO THE STUDENTS.


Pre Show Discussion:

1. Discuss mask making.

2. Discuss the elements of our world - earth, wind, water, and fire.

3. Discuss the instruments of the orchestra.


4. Discuss the nature of puppets. What different kinds have you seen? How is a puppet used? How is a puppet play different from a live play? How are they the same?

5. Discuss the nature of a theatre production.

6. Discuss the basic elements of a story.

7. Discuss the nature of myths and fables.



Pre Show Activities:

1. Read a play or short story. Have different students read each part.

2. Read books about puppetry and puppet theatre.

3. Read fables and myths from other countries.


Post Show Discussion:

1. What was the relationship between Old Carver and Feathers? What made Feathers different?

2. Consider possible story ideas as to where Feathers came from. (parents, etc.)

3. What qualities did Old Carver admire in Feathers?

4. How was Feathers' journey greeted by his friends? By his adopted parents?

5. What was the purpose of the masks in the story?

6. For the older students: How were symbols used in the story? (i.e. water, plateau, tunnel)

7. What does Feathers do to have Malisma reveal herself to him?

8. What changes does Feathers undergo because of Malisma's appearance? What does this mean?

9. Who can speculate on what will happen to Feathers next?


Post Show Writing Activities:

1. Write a story about the discovery of a musical instrument.

2. Write a letter to the puppeteers telling them what you thought of the program.


Post Show Reading Activities:

1. Read about how other cultures use masks.

2. Read fables and myths from other countries. Compare them to fables of the United States.

3. Read a play. How is reading a play different from seeing a play performed?


Post Show Art Activities:

1. Draw scenes from the puppet show to use in an art display.

2. Make your own flute by carving holes in bamboo reeds. Be sure to drill or poke out the center knuckles.

3. Make simple hand, finger, or stick puppets. Develop puppet skits using your puppets.

4. Make other instruments. Put together a band.

5. Make masks to represent different things, such as feelings or people.

rev. 7/09