Resource Guide - Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Before the Show

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+ About the Show
Inspired by the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou, this show brings to life the fears we face every day and how we combat them. Through the stories told with spoken word, hip-hop, and dance, we learn that each of us inside has what it takes to face our fears. This experience will have audience members singing from their seats, “life doesn’t frighten me, I am fearless royalty.”
Themes: Courage, fears, self-esteem
Several theatres around the country are premiering this play during their 2023-24 season. Click here for the resource guide for Dallas Children’s Theater's production.

+ The BIG Questions Before the Show
  1. Have you ever been scared to do something, but still managed to do it? Why do you think you were able to overcome that fear?
  2. When you are scared or discouraged, what tools do you use to help yourself?
  3. What are ways that you face your fears every day?
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.(3-5).2:: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media. NCES-HealthEd.1.MEH.1.2: Use methods of positive coping with disappointment and failure.

+ Vocabulary Enrichment
Pick three words from the list and use them in an original sentence or paragraph. You can also draw a picture, illustrating the definitions.
  • royalty n. the status or power of a king or queen
  • fearless adj. without fear; brave
  • invincible adj. too powerful to be defeated or overcome; unbeatable
  • cower v. shrink away in fear
  • scurry v. move hurriedly with short quick steps
  • “take flight” v. idiom: take off; flee
  • championship n. a contest, usually in sports, often involving a series of games or matches
  • strictly adv. used to indicate that one is applying words or rules exactly or rigidly
  • undefeated adj. having never lost, especially in battle or other contests
  • taunt v. provoke or challenge (someone) with insulting remark
  • “up my sleeve” n. idiom: to have an idea or plan kept secret for future use
  • extensive adj. in large amount or scale
  • “on the mend” n. idiom: improving in health or condition; recovering
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.(K-5).4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

+ Activities

Drawing Activity
Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American neo-expressionist artist. His art is filled with bright colors and bold shapes. He is mentioned in the play Life Doesn’t Frighten Me because he illustrated Maya Angelou’s children’s book of the same name. Read Maya Angelou’s poem and create your own illustrations based on the text.
  NCES-VisArts.(K-5).VA.V.3: Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely and appropriately.

Journaling Prompt
Take five minutes and journal in response to this prompt: “I am fearless when I …”
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.(3-5).1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

Playlist of My Life
Click the button to see a printable worksheet for your classroom or family.

+ Meet Paige Hernandez, playwright
Paige HernandezPaige Hernandez is a performer, director, choreographer, and playwright. In 2011 she started her own company, B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT. Their focus is on creating productions that encompass “all art mediums that speak to a multi-faceted hip-hop generation.” B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT produces original shows, tours internationally, and offers workshops and master classes.
Paige is the Associate Artistic Director of Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. Governor Wes Moore appointed her to the Maryland State Arts Council as well. Paige describes herself on her website as a “multidisciplinary creative.”

After the Show

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+ The BIG Questions After the Show
  1. Think of all of the characters from the show. Whose story did you find the most interesting? What made their story stand out to you?
  2. What does “fearless royalty” mean? How do our characters demonstrate their “fearless royalty?”
  3. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is a multi-disciplinary show. This means it uses dance, music, visual art, and theatre performance all together to tell the story. Did one art style appeal to you more than the others? What did you like about it?
  4. What do you think this phrase means, “we need a storm to break this heat”? What does it literally mean to the characters in the story? Could it have a deeper meaning that applies to your life?
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.(3-5).2: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.NCES-TheaArts.2.TA.A.1.2: Analyze the relationships between events, characters, and settings. NCES-TheaArts.4.TA.A.1.2: Critique choices made about characters, settings, and events as seen, or portrayed in, formal and informal productions.

+ Activities

Comic Strip
Pick your favorite moment from the show and turn it into a comic strip. You can do this with paper and pencil or you can visit Make Beliefs Comix to make your own.
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.(K-5).1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. NCES-VisArts.(K-5).VA.V.3: Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely and appropriately.

What Would YOU Do?
Have your students work together in pairs. They will create, then act out different scenarios. You can give them scenarios or they can come up with their own.
  • You don't know who broke a very meaningful item
  • You have to tell your friend something important
  • You’re prepping for a marathon but don’t feel ready
  • You’ve lost something that you borrowed from your sibling
  • You’re lost in a new city
First, have them create three tableaus, or pictures of the beginning, middle, and end of their scene. You may want to have the pairs share the tableaus with the whole class. Then, the pairs should create their dialogue for the short scene. Make sure each scene works out to some kind of solution to the problem.
  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.(3-5).3: Write narratives to develop real and imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. NCES-HealthEd.4.ICR.1.1: Explain the importance of showing respect for self and respect and empathy for others.

Fearless Royalty Acrostic
Click the button to see a printable worksheet for your classroom or family.

+ Talk About Theatre Jobs
Every play Children’s Theatre of Charlotte produces is created by a talented team of designers, technicians, actors, and a director. As a class, discuss what you experienced when you saw the performance.
  1. Name three things you noticed about the scenery. Did the scenery help tell the story? What sort of scenery would you design?
  2. What did you like about the costumes? Did the costumes help tell the story? What sort of costumes would you design?
  3. What role did lighting play in telling the story? How did the lights enhance what you were seeing?
  4. Talk about the actors. Were there moments you were so caught up in the story you forgot you were watching a play?
  5. Were there any actors who played more than one character? What are some ways you can show you are a different character?
  NCES-TheaArts.(K-5).TA.A.1: Analyze literary texts and performances. NCES-TheaArts.(K-5).TA.AE.1.2: Understand how costumes [and technical elements] enhance dramatic play.

+ External Links
  • Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist. This production is based on her children’s book of the same name. Learn more about her incredible life.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist who rose to success during the 1980s as part of the Neo-expressionism movement. He illustrated Maya Angleou’s children’s book, which served as the inspiration for this production. Learn more about his life and paintings.
  • Make your own Basquiat-inspired self-portrait using the instructions at Little Bins for Little Hands.
  • Explore more poetry in your classroom using The Children’s Poetry Archive.

+ Recommended Reading
If you enjoyed the show, travel to ImaginOn or your local Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch and check out these books. Check availability at
Life Doesn't Frighten Me
By Paige Hernandez  | Original Music composed & arranged by Kris Funn & Paige Hernandez  | Based on Life Doesn't Frighten Me from the book "And Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou | Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou | Used with permission of Caged Bird Legacy, LLC