Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Aging Rookie

Movie quote of the week: Alan Alda as an attorney explaining how not all errors have the same consequences - "Some mistakes are like wearing white after Labor Day, but others are like invading Russia in the middle of the winter."

Which is less likely - That a kid your son knew in high school would one day be married to Demi Moore, or that a local quarterback would go on to the NFL, have a fine career, and then be named as a competitor on the wildly popular Dancing With the Stars? Since there's only one Ms. Moore, I guess that points us to the answer, but it's true that Ashton Kutcher (then known as "Chris") went to good old Washington High School in Cedar Rapids before he met her, and Kurt Warner once flung passes for the no longer existent Regis High School less than a mile away. Pretty exciting, no?

Most of the "things I plan to do in life" items that are on the list when you're past sixty will probably still be there when you shuffle off to the next life, but I now have a chance to scratch off "Read stories to school children" because of my inclusion in a group that does just that. We haven't performed any gigs yet, but we're spending lots of time in practice, trying to act a little while reading the parts of various stories and poems. The group now numbers six, including our director.
I'm a rookie at this, notwithstanding having read a mountain of bedtime stories, mostly to our kids, but also for their younguns, too. So I've "played" different animals, kings, queens, princes and princesses before. But getting the group's timing, clarity and volume just right is, like many things, harder than it looks. I've been told, for instance, to be especially careful when the word "funky" appears. Good advice. I've also been told that it's almost impossible to overact when the audience averages about eight years old.
This last item opens the door to all sorts of individual hamming. We have pieces that involve Spanish, U.S. southern and British accents, and we do characters that include amphibians (Toad and Frog), canines (dogs and coyotes), bovines, cats, foxes, dragons, fairies, evil beings and even royalty and Deity. Is it tough to keep everyone straight? Sometimes it is, especially when you play more than one part in the same story.
OK, maybe it ain't brain surgery, but it takes work to get it all right and we're getting better day by day. By the time we're ready to go I'm confident of being a better "readers' theater" performer than I am as a tennis player. I think that says something about my game, and it's not a compliment.


Blogger jarafamily said...

Dad, that is awesome! I can't wait to see a live performance!

6:46 AM  

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