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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Whose line is it, anyway?

The old saying goes, "Teachers are always on center stage," but today that took on a whole new meaning for me.

A group called KidProv came to our school this morning for an hour-long performance. There were three guys in the troupe, and they were very funny as they put on improv games and skits that emphasized sharing, honesty, responsibility, empathy, and kindness.

True to most improv acts, they had plenty of audience participation, calling on kids for suggestions and selecting several students at a time to go up on stage and act things out.

One of their first activities involved taking questions from the kids. As an example, the host asked, "What is chocolate made of?" So the first kid-asked question was, "What is sugar made of?" And the next was, "What are popsicles made of?"

Our kids don't always display a lot of originality…

Midway through the show, one of the guys up on stage was talking about responsibilities and getting ready to pick someone for the next activity. When he said, "How about the guy back there in the green shirt," my internal voice went, "Oh crap." Seeing as how all of the kids wear white shirts as part of the dress code, this narrowed down the audience significantly.

When he added, "Looks like maybe a teacher?" I tried to feign ignorance by looking around behind me. But then the kids started shouting, "Mister Teacher! Mister Teacher!" So I had no choice but to bolt from the auditorium in fear.

No, I swallowed my pride and approached the stage. And became part of history. History in the sense of something that has passed, at least. Not anything that would be recorded for posterity (other than here, of course).

Our little skit involved each of the four of us being responsible for a specific word. Whenever we heard our word, we would have to either enter or exit the scene occurring front and center.

The four words were then obtained from the audience. To be perfectly honest, I don't remember all four words, but mine was "pair." Or maybe it was "pear." Either way, I knew what to listen for.

Show to get a suggestion for the scene, the guy said, "I need something that you don't usually FRY. Something you wouldn't put in a pan with vegetable oil and fry up."

Naturally, the suggested word was "Table." You don't fry a TABLE. Good one, kid. The sad thing is, our children actually think this way.

Anyway, the guy starts frying up an imaginary table, and the action started. He said a few things and boom -- the second guy entered the scene. Then one of them asked for a "pair" of something, and my inner thespian took over. And it became quickly ap-pare-ent (yeah, that sort of thing counted) that my inner thespian should stay in the closet.

I tried. I really did. But I just didn't have much to offer on the topic of cooking furniture, other than advising that table would taste much better with ketchup (what wouldn't?). And one of the guys actually looked a little pissed when I kicked him out of the scene by saying his safeword – “eyeballs.”

But regardless of how critical I may be of my performance, the kids were amused. I couldn't take three steps for the rest of the day without someone saying, "You were funny, Mister Pear!"

Maybe I'll have to go to some improv workshops over the summer so I'll be ready for next year's show.

Fried tables will never hold me up again!

1 comment:

IMC Guy said...

Sounds like a great show for the kids. We have something like that in my neck of the woods - it's a blast. I'm glad you were willing to take part - too many teachers aren't that willing.