Monday, November 10, 2008

Improv in the Classroom

Friday. It started during 2nd period. We were reading a selection from a novelized version of The Ramayana.A kid was reading the battle between Rama and the demon Ravana and, as I customarily do, I interrupted him to read a passage in my melfluous baritone. I had interrupted several students, kinda on purpose for comedic effect.

So, this time he interrupts me back, trying to be more dramatic. "Aha," I says to myself, "two can play this game," and I re-interrupted him. It became a kind of jam session/competition.

So the next period, I says to my teaching partner, "Why don't we do the same thing this period with you and me trading off?"

"Sure," he says.

So I begin to read the same battle-scene passage, once again in dulcet tones. Soon, my colleague interrupts me, trying to out-drama me. We go back and forth a little.

Then, he gets up on a desk top and starts walking across the desks, reading as he goes.

I then go to my prop closet (where I keep various thingies that students have left in my room unclaimed over the years) and pull out a retractable light saber and read while swinging and thrusting about the room, stabbing the occasional unsuspecting student.

Pretty soon, are flying about the room, putting on wigs and beards, throwing stuffed animals and other soft toys at one another. At one point, my colleague reads a passage as a rap. I pull out my uke and improvise a song in response, using a simple three-chord progression.

This went on for about ten minutes longer than it should have, but the students had a good time.

I got a couple of compliments on the song and have even began working out some actual lyrics based on the book.

The chorus:

Rama, forget your trauma.
Just chant your mantra
and you'll be just fine.
Ravana, don'tcha wanna
get right with yourself?

That's kinda the theme of the book right there.

1 comment:

Billy Canary said...

And vote for Obama,

promang: 1. A professional mang,
2.Opposite of antimang. 3. A woo mang, i.e., "Look at the udders on that woo mang!"