03a. Historical event, story, and/or novel on which this musical is based: The popular 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam," is based on the true story about Anna Leonowens, a Victorian Englishwoman who became the governess to the children of the King of Siam in the 1860's.
03b. Author of the original story or novel on which this musical is based:
04a. What the story is about: The story is set in Bangkok in the early 1860s and tells the story of Anna, an adventurous Englishwoman hired by the King of Siam (King Mongkut) to serve as governess and tudor to his many children in an attempt to bring Western culture to his country. Although Anna has many quarrels with the dictator, the two eventually fall in love, and her influence on the king helps to democratize the country. 05a. Where the story takes place (ex: name of city, country, etc.): Bangkok in Siam which was the official name of Thailand until 1939 when it was officially changed.
05b. Name possible clues in the movie that tell you this location (ex: famous landmarks, speech accents, etc.) Asian architecture, non-western clothing and customs (ex: bowing), Asian speech accents
06a. Setting of the story (ex: farm, big city, slums, affluent neighborhood, etc.) King's Palace (extremely rich)
07a. Time frame the story takes place in: 1860's
07b. Name possible clues in the movie that tell you the time frame (ex: style of clothes and hair, types of
transportation, modern inventions, etc.): References to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, clothing (long dresses with
hooped skirts) and hairstyles, modes of transportation (ships, no automobiles)
08a. Names of main characters and short
descriptions of each (ex: John Smith-salesman, Mary Smith-wife of John Smith, etc.
Lady Thiang: The King's chief wife Lun Tha: A Burmese scholar, in love with Tuptim Tuptim: A slave brought from Burma to be one of the King's junior wives Prince Chulalongkorn: The King's eldest son and heir
09a. Inner messages within the story (ex: morals, ethics, etc.) and explain the message you think the author of the movie (or story) is trying to convey: Issue of slavery (slavery in Siam compared to slavery in the United States), treatment of women, differences and similarities between cultures and their customs from different parts of the world, forbidden relationships between different cultures and culture classes, and unrequited love. 10a. Personal opinion (your ENJOYMENT factor: why you liked or disliked the musical): Student is to write a personal paragraph about this.
10b. Personal opinion on the QUALITY OF THE ARTISTRY in this musical: (ex: how well acted, quality of the singing voice(s), cinematography, memorable melodies, etc.): Student is to write a personal paragraph about this.
11a. Terms or phrases used in the movie that are new,
A"The King and I" Song that did not make it into the movie:
Shall I Tell You What I Think of You
Sung by Deborah Kerr
VARIATIONS ON THE "KING AND I"
Anna and the King: The Real Story of Anna Leonowens
FROM A & E
Her story has inspired four screen versions and a stage play. Anna Leonowens is known throughout the world as the 19th century English woman who tutored the royal children of Siam. But what really was her relationship with the king and his wives and children? Who was this proper English widow whose adventures took her to exotic places in Asia? BIOGRAPHY takes a look behind the story and reveals a woman who defied gender conventions of her day and recreated herself over more than once. Anna and the King: The Real Story of Anna Leonowens would be useful for classes on World History, Asian History, Literature, Media Studies and Geography. It is appropriate for middle school and high school.
Students will learn about the true life of Anna Leonowens and how the mythic story of her relationship with the king of Siam evolved. They will explore the systems of 19th century colonization as well as 20th century political ideology.
NATIONAL HISTORY STANDARDS
Anna and the King: The Real Story of Anna Leonowens fulfills the following National Standards for History for grades 5-12: chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretations, and historical research capabilities World History era 7.
The story of Anna and the King of Siam has captivated audiences for over a century. What is it about this story that makes it so interesting? Why does it continue to be a part of popular culture?
Anna Leonowens was born in colonial India. Discuss the system of colonization of the 19th century, especially that of the British Empire.
What are the differences between the colonizers and the colonized? How are their lifestyles different? What are some examples of these differences?
Anna had a unique childhood in that she was well traveled. Discuss her childhood and its influence on her later life.
Anna's beloved husband died at an early age of apoplexy. What is apoplexy?
Anna Leonowens created the woman she presented to the world after her husband's death. How and why did she remake herself?
When Anna went to Siam (modern day Thailand) she took only her son and not her daughter. Why did she send her daughter to England instead of taking her along?
Discuss the strengths of King Mongkut as a ruler in the 19th century.
Discuss the gender inequities in 19th century Siam.
How did Anna teach her own principles and morals to the royal children of Siam?
Anna's experiences in Siam became popular because of the stories she wrote. Why did she write these stories? How did these stories cater to the tastes of popular culture in the latter half of the 19th century?
Anna was a woman ahead of her time. Discuss how she defied the gender conventions of her era.
How did the story of Anna Leonowens become a mainstay of popular culture in the 20th century?
View one of the cinema versions of Anna Leonowens' story. Compare the movie with the real life of Anna Leonowens. What is true? What is fiction?
Imagine that you lived in 19th century Siam. Research the history and culture of Siam (Thailand) and write an essay about what your life would be like.
Imagine that you are an editor for a newspaper in 1915. Write an obituary for Anna Leonowens. How would you present her life for your readers?