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RESOURCES FOR
THE SWORD IN THE STONE


GENERAL THEME

The play presented is based on a myth or legend…
a story that may or may not be based on truth but that is repeated
throughout the ages so it becomes well-known.

SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY

The play begins and ends in the present day with MICHAEL PENDRAGON,
a thirteen-year old boy who has sneaked into the forest to read his report card.
The rest of the play takes place in 1102 A.D., Ancient Britain.

The evil witch MORGANA casts a spell, bringing Michael back through time
into the shoes of his legendary ancestor, King Arthur.
The wizard MERLIN tells Michael that he must take Arthur's place,
so that the course of history remains unaltered.
Michael has to quickly adapt to life in the Dark Ages.
He becomes squire to his elder brother, KAY,
and when Kay needs a sword for the Grand Tournament,
Michael pulls one from a stone in the churchyard.
A prophecy is fulfilled and Michael becomes the true king of Britain.
The Lady of the Lake gives him EXCALIBUR, the sword of power,
and he builds a great castle, CAMELOT
where the KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE assemble.
Michael marries GUINEVERE, the most beautiful woman in all the land,
and SIR LANCELOT is instructed to keep watch
over the HOLY GRAIL.
The witch Morgana strikes back
and steals the Grail.
Famine and ill-health fall upon the land
and only SIR PERCEVAL can defeat Morgana
and restore Michael to his own time.


CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY

MICHAEL PENDRAGON: 13 year old schoolboy. Good-hearted but easily distracted from schoolwork.

KAY: Arthur’s brother, highly competitive, yearns to be a knight but not really up to the job.

GUINEVERE: Arthur’s wife, the most beautiful woman in all the land.

MERLIN: Eccentric wizard and friend to Michael.

MORGANA: Thoroughly evil witch.

MORDRED: Morgana’s dim-witted assistant.

SIR LANCELOT: Noble knight of Camelot (but not the brightest.)

SIR PERCEVAL: Young, ambitious and seeker of the Holy Grail.


ALSO MENTIONED IN THE PLAY

THE DARK AGES: A period of early European medieval history about which little is known.

SAXONS: Invaders from Germany.

SQUIRE: General assistant to a knight.

THE LADY OF THE LAKE: A water spirit who gives Arthur his sword.

CAMELOT: Arthur’s castle where the Knights of the Round Table assemble.

KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE: Though Sir Lancelot and Sir Perceval are the only knights
who appear in the play, two other well known knights are SIR GALAHAD and SIR GAWAIN,
often featuring in English medieval literature.
The Round Table was designed so that all knights were considered equal.

HOLY GRAIL: The cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and now a relic of power and protection.

EXCALIBUR: Arthur’s sword, given to him by the Lady of the Lake.

Lady of the Lake

 

LINKS FOR DISCUSSION TOPICS

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/kids/arthur.htm

http://www.kingarthursknights.com/

Medieval clothing, armour and weaponry

http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/clothing/index.htm

http://www.historyonthenet.com/Medieval_Life/clothing.htm


The code of Chivalry and Romance

http://www.medieval-life.net/chivalry.htm


Feudalism in the Middle Ages


(Thanks to Abby Brendese and the girls of the Teen Zone
of Jefferson District Library for this link.)


http://www.sofasandsectionals.com/feudalism-sectional-societies

Medieval Resource Center

(Thanks to Tracy Bennings for this link.)

http://www.wholesalecostumeclub.com/articles/medievalresourcecenterartclothingcostumeshistoryweaponsmore.jsp

The Medieval Diet

http://www.themedifastplan.com/feature-articles/the-medieval-diet-foods-and-recipes-from-the-middle-ages/

(Thanks to Michelle Green and her 6th graders for this link.)


RELATED BOOKS

(Thanks to Bonnie Erick of The Mardan Center, Irvine for this list and
her excellent display of these books during our performances.)

For Elementary students (Kindergarten through 5th Grade)

Young Arthur by Robert D. San Souci

Knights of the Round Table by Gwen Gross

Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka

For Middle school students (6th through 8th Grades)

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Howard Pyle

Parzival: The Quest of the Grail Knight by Katherine Paterson

Medieval World by Jane Bingham (Usborne World History series)

Castle by David Macaulay

For High school students:

The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland (book 1 in series)

At the Crossing Places (same author, book 2 in series)

King of the Middle March (same author, book 3 in series)

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (challenging)

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (challenging)

FURTHER DISCUSSION TOPICS

You can also discuss how we presented the play, how we portrayed multiple characters
through change of voice and posture and how we used our set, costumes and props.

You can also emphasize the development of Michael Pendragon.
At the start of the play he is insecure, just an average student. But through using his wits
and standing his ground in perilous situations, he proves that he is fit to take on
the ultimate responsibility, that of a King!

Feel free to send more links and ideas generated by your children in response to our play!

email: grailtheatre@yahoo.com