New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Play a game with your family, create subway art inspired by your life and craft a time capsule in this Family Activity! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at

Get Your Gears Turning

Aging Magician tells the story of Harold, an aging clockmaker near the end of his unusual life. What are your memories? What are your aspirations? How do you want to be remembered?  In this activity, use your memory and imagination to answer questions about each other's past and future.

Materials: Printable template, markers, scissors, brad fastener

Step One: Print out a copy of this two-page template for each member of your family.

Gear Template
Step Two: On the gear template, draw memories from the past in three random triangles.

Step Three: Draw three aspirations for the future in the three remaining triangles.

Step Four: Fold the paper in half on the dotted line and cut out the gear. Then cut out the wedged circle from the second page of the template and attach the two shapes together with a brad fastener.

Template pieces assemble with a brad fastener through their centers
Animation of completed gear turning
Step Five: Take turns spinning the wheel to a random drawing—keep whether it's a memory or an aspiration a secret! Ask each other these questions:
  • What are you feeling in this drawing?
  • Why did you decide to draw this specific moment?
  • Who's with you in this drawing? 
  • What happened right before this moment?
  • What happens after this moment?

Step Six: After you have talked about each of your gears, reveal which drawings were memories and which were aspirations. Were there any surprises? Were there any patterns? Were there any similarities between each other's gears?

Next Stop-Allegory!

As the story of the Aging Magician unfolds, we visit many subway stops on a journey to Coney Island. In this activity, think of your commute and create an allegory for your family to decorate your subway stop. 

Step One: Aging Magician is an allegory on time, youth and the peculiar magic of ordinary life. Accompanied by a string quartet and members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Aging Magician is brought to life by a team of multidisciplinary artists who combine music, theater, puppetry, instrument-making and scenic design to create this work of opera-theater.
HINT:  What's an allegory?
  al·le·go·ry  \ˈa-lə-ˌgȯr-ē\
  noun (plural allegories)
    A story, poem or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.  

Watch this trailer for Aging Magician from Beth Morrison Projects and have a conversation about where you see symbols, stories, poems and pictures. What do you think the hidden meanings might be?


Step Two: From mosaics to stained glass to sculptures, there is artwork throughout the New York City subways. Here are some examples below. Have you seen these pieces of art? Why do you think they are in the subway?

Subway Art
Top to bottom: 72nd Street (N/Q), Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue (D/F/N/Q), 14th Street (A/C/E)

Step Three: Choose one of the examples above or pick your own. Think about these questions:
  • How does this art make you feel?
  • What do you think inspired the artist to create this piece of art?
  • Why did they choose this piece of art for this specific subway stop?
  • Could this piece of art be an allegory? Is there a deeper symbolic meaning? What is it?

Step Four: Design a piece of subway art that is an allegory for your family's life. What symbols represent who you are as a family? Use art supplies around your house to design your family's piece. 

BONUS: In Aging Magician, a string quartet and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus help Harold uncover his legacy as the New Victory stage is transformed into a living, breathing instrument. Create a music playlist for your commute. Choose a song for each subway stop. While you ride, listen along!

Family Time Capsule

One of the major themes in Aging Magician is time. Create a family time capsule to capture this moment in time!

Materials: Printable worksheet, pens, paper, container (a shoebox, an envelope—it depends on what you decide to put inside!)

Step One: Have a conversation with your family using these questions as prompts:
  • What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
  • What kind of person do you hope to be by the end of this year?
  • Think of an object you own that has a significant memory attached to it. Why did you choose this item?
  • If we were to create a family time capsule (with an expiration date of one year), and we could only choose three things to put inside, what would those three things be?

Step Two: Go around your home and collect things you would want to include in your time capsule.

Step Three: On a piece of paper, write a letter to your future selves. Include the goals and aspirations that you discussed in Step One. These letters will be included in your time capsule, too!

Step Four: Print and fill out this worksheet for inclusion in your time capsule:

Step Five: Decide on a container that will fit the objects you have chosen to include. Place the objects inside and seal it up. Then write the "Do Not Open Until" date on it: one year from the day you do the activity. Set a calendar reminder as well!

Family Activities
We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites, Arts Express and Talk-Backs!
Twitter   What did you put inside of your Time Capsule?
Share a photo of it with us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVic.
Facebook   How did your allegorical subway art turn out?
Like us on Facebook and share with us!
Posted by Beth Henderson

Use Julius Caesar as an inspiration to discuss the nature of leadership, costume design and Shakespearean meter. For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at  

What Shakespearean Leader are You?

There are many leaders in the play, Julius Caesar. Take our quiz to find out which character your leadership style most resembles!


To-Ga or Not To-Ga

That is the question...for a costume designer. Shakespeare is one of the most produced playwrights in the classical theater canon. One of the reasons Shakespeare’s plays are produced so often is because of the flexibility and artistic license directors and designers can take with the classic, well-known scripts. In this activity, look at how the costume designer chose to dress the actors and consider how you would design for your own version of Julius Caesar

Step One: Look at select costume sketches by Jennifer Moeller and Christopher Metzger from ACT I of The Acting Company’s Julius Caesar

Act I
Step Two: Look at select costume sketches from ACT II of Julius Caesar.

Act II
Step Three: Discuss these questions with your family:
  • What do you notice in the costumes from Act I?
  • What do you notice in the costumes from Act II?
  • When you compare the costumes from Act I and Act II, what do you think happens between acts? Why?
Step Four: Read the synopsis of Julius Caesar

Step Five: If you were to direct and design a version of Julius Caesar, where would it be set and what would the characters wear? 

The Beat Goes On

Most of Shakespeare’s plays are written in verse, which was normal for English drama at his time. Different playwrights would write using different meters for their verse. The one Shakespeare chose is called iambic pentameter. In this activity, hear and feel the beat of iambic pentameter in different ways. 

Clap It! 
Do a series of five soft claps, and then repeat it a few times.
  • Clap-Clap-Clap-Clap-Clap
Now do a series of five hard claps, and repeat it a few times.
  • Clap-Clap-Clap-Clap-Clap
Now combine those soft and hard claps into sets of two and repeat a few times.
  • Clap-Clap Clap-Clap Clap-Clap Clap-Clap Clap-Clap
This rhythm is iambic pentameter. Each pair of claps is an iamb, and there are five pairs!

Gallop It! 
One of the reasons Shakespeare chose iambic pentameter for the verse lines in his plays is that it has a driving beat that moves the actionforward. To feel this energy, try galloping in place as you speak the meter. Like this!

How-To Gallop

Gallop around as you speak, keeping the words connected to the steps.
  • Ta-Tum Ta-Tum Ta-Tum Ta-Tum

Suit the Meter to the Word 
Now try to connect the meter we have learned to verse lines from Julius Caesar. In Act 1, Scene 2, Cassius is trying to convince Brutus that Caesar has grown too powerful and dangerous, and must be removed from power. He argues that "I was born free as Caesar. So were you." Try that line in your normal speaking voice.
Pay attention to the meter. Speak the line again, stressing every second syllable. How does that sound?
  • I was born free as Caesar. So were you.
Now look at a larger section of text from later in that same Cassius speech, in which he argues that if Caesar is becoming too dangerous to Rome, it is because people like himself and Brutus are letting it happen. He says:
  • Men at some time are masters of their fates:
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Try that speech a few times to see what words you naturally emphasize.
Now, try using the meter!
  • Men at some time are masters of their fates:
    The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Discuss the following questions as a family:
  • What words does the meter seem to suggest are most important?
  • What do you notice about the words or syllables that were stressed? 
  • How does the meter improve the line or change your understanding of it?
BONUS: Stressing every second syllable, feel out these famous Shakespearean lines. For bonus points, pick a line you like, and try to speak it with a gallop, moving around the room!
  • But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? (Romeo & Juliet 2.2.2)
  • A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III 5.4.7) 
  • If music be the food of love, play on. (Twelfth Night 1.1.1)
  • Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. (Macbeth 4.1.73)
  • Two households, both alike in dignity (Romeo & Juliet P.1)
Sometimes really important lines in a play break the rhythm on purpose, to catch the audience’s ear. "To be, or not to be, that is the question" from Hamlet is one of those—the final iamb is left incomplete, the final syllable missing to emphasize the unknowable nature of the question. Listen for lines like this when you watch Julius Caesar.

Family Activities
We invite you to deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites, Arts Express and Talk-Backs!
Twitter   How would you costume your production?
Share with us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVic.
Facebook   Tell us about your experience with iambic pentameter!
Like us on Facebook to share with us.
Posted by Beth Henderson
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