Boys with Cars Teacher’s Study Guide

This video study guide was initially created collaboratively by Anita Majumdar, Brian Quirt (Artistic Director, Nightswimming), Lois Adamson, Stephen Colella, Clare Hill, Ali Sultani, Aimee Bouchard and Amber Ebert (YPT Staff). The original guide has been adapted by Geordie Productions.
 
 

 
(HIGH SCHOOLS / CEGEPS)
AGES 13+
*Content advisory: explicit language (swearing and sex terminology)

Written, choreographed and performed by Anita Majumdar
Directed by Brian Quirt
 

SYNOPSIS

An audacious pair of stories about the lives of young Canadian women, Boys With Cars contrasts the experiences of a South Asian-Canadian high school girl trying desperately to fit in, with the life of the popular girl who seems to have everything.

Featuring classical Indian, Bollywood and hip-hop music and choreography, the piece tells the story of Naznin, a classically trained dancer who dreams of leaving her small town for the bright lights of the city. Here, we are invited into her life and witness her struggle to balance her traditional heritage, her tumultuous relationships with the boys in her high school, and realizing her potential. It is a coming-of-age piece with tremendous comic flourish and potent dances, that is at once bold and innovative while being wildly funny and engaging.

THEMATIC OVERVIEW

This study guide is different from our usual format and, rather than text-based exercises, we have a set of videos created by Anita Majumdar – the writer, choreographer and performer of Boys With Cars.

The first three videos feature Candace, “the popular girl who seems to have everything,” as she demonstrates a series of makeup tutorials. Through these tutorials we get a glimpse into her life as well as the world of the play.

The fourth video is an interview with Anita Majumdar where she talks about what inspired her to create this play and how she sees theatre as a way to support empowerment. This video is a great tool and provides a lot of insight to help reflect on the previous three videos as well as the theatrical performance.

After each video there are a few discussion questions which may help to encourage dialogue with students after viewing.

We hope you and your students will enjoy this innovative new study guide!

CROSS-CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

  • Female Empowerment
  • Male Privilege
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Diversity

SELECT QUEBEC COMPETENCIES

Social Sciences

  • Sense of belonging
  • Social integration

Arts Education

  • Communication of ideas through various artistic practices
  • Development of personal, cultural and social values

Personal Development

  • Development of attitudes for their personal and social lives
  • Understanding and development of their value systems
  • Concern for others

TRADITIONAL BINDI TUTORIAL


Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important to uphold or participate in cultural traditions?
  • Candice refers to celebrities as being the pioneers of the Bindi. In what ways do celebrities and fashion affect our perception of culture?
  • What is the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation? How is the difference decided?
  • If you are not a member of a specific cultural group, is it ever appropriate to use those cultural symbols or practices in a way that they were not intended?

BEST RED LIPSTICK TECHNIQUE


Discussion Questions

  • How are female standards of beauty decided?
  • Candice says that girls wear makeup for other girls. Why do you think she is making this argument?
  • What is the male gaze? How does Buddy enact this?
  • Is it problematic if Candice wants to be seen as sexy?
  • What is the connection between sexuality and power for young women?

HOW TO CONTOUR YOUR NOSE


Discussion Questions

  • Where does Candice find her power?
  • How does the system of patriarchy affect Candice’s understanding of empowerment?
  • What is the connection between confidence and power?

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANITA MAJUMDAR, CREATOR OF BOYS WITH CARS


Discussion Questions

  • Where does Candice find her power?
  • How does the system of patriarchy affect Candice’s understanding of empowerment?
  • What is the connection between confidence and power?