Talent Show Ideas

Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 08:36 am
The kid has been in a talent show the past two years -- the definition of "talent" is a bit broad, basically it's open to anyone who lives here and has put together a somewhat cohesive act. She absolutely adores being on stage and had a lot of fun each time. Both times it was group dancing sorts of situations (simple choreography to a catchy song).

She recently read this poem and took to declaiming it out of the blue (I see why, it's a very cool poem), and we thought that she could maybe memorize the whole thing for the talent show. They have a limit of three minutes though and even when she rushed a bit the poem took at least five minutes. Sad

Her friend wants to put together a recreation of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. That could be fun (I was volunteered to make zombie costumes, and these two girls are all about the zombies) but sounds like a LOT of work. The simple choreography (much simpler than "Thriller") that the kids did last year took weeks and weeks of rehearsals, and they keep looking at me meaningfully when I ask who's going to coordinate it.

Plus sozlet was liking the idea of doing something solo. She would've rocked with this poem (she's very very good at dramatic readings), but it's just too long.

Any of this suggest anything to you? Ideas?

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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 08:44 am
This poem - does the author have any of other poems? Maybe there is a shorter one that strikes a cord? Or look for another poem with similar themes/thoughts.
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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 08:57 am
I didn't click your link yet so forgive me if this is self-evident, but can she just do x number of verses of the poem? Is there an easy place to break it?
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:09 am
Not really, it has a big ending (read it, it's awesome!)

Maybe some out of the middle though... hmmm...

Linkat, that's a good idea too, I've been looking around and so far they're all pretty long (and not as cool).
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:24 am
I can understand that - a certain poem just hits you a certain way - thought maybe the author had other ones that would strike a cord.
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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:28 am
Just finished reading it. That is a great poem. Definitely can't cut off the ending but you might be able to cut one or two from the middle. That's hard though.

Does the kid have a strong preference or is she waffling?
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:34 am
She had her heart set on the poem and we just timed it last night. She likes the "Thriller" idea but I balk at the work involved. (They'd need an adult to coordinate rehearsals.) So there isn't really waffling, just looking for ideas at this point.

She and the friend who talked about "Thriller" had planned on doing a Blues Brothers thing a long time ago, maybe they can go back to that. (Very Tall friend would be Dan Aykroyd, sozlet would be Belushi with padding.) "Soul Man," presumably.
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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:37 am
I forget how old the Sozlet is.

Would "The Owl and the Pussycat" be one to consider?
It's shorter -- but not too short -- and it's fun.
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:54 am
She's eight.

"The Cremation of Sam McGee" (the poem she wanted, link in opening post) is gripping and spooky and gross, (though ultimately it has a happy ending) -- that's what she liked. She really knows how to milk that too. Maybe it's TOO gross/ graphic anyway though, I dunno.

But I think a more conventional/ happy/ kid-ish poem wouldn't hold the audience's attention in the same way.

I do love Lear!

We talked about "Jabberwocky" too, she thought about it but wasn't enthused.
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 10:00 am
I'd hate to cut the poem short and if sozlet is set on the poem and has put
her heart in it, perhaps the teachers/responsible parties at the talent show
could make an exception and let her recite the entire poem.

Basically it's all about the kids and expressing themselves - giving them a time
limit of 3 minutes across the board isn't always the answer to creativity. I realize that they need to curb the stage presence Very Happy of these little stars, but a little
flexibility now and then should be allowed, especially since sozlet is a long term
member there. Sometimes rules can be bend and I'd approach it from that
angle first before looking for a replacement performance.
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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 01:03 pm
What about Egdar Allan Poe -

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


The Night Wind
by Eugene Field

Have you ever heard the wind go "Yooooo"?
'Tis a pitiful sound to hear!
It seems to chill you through and through
With a strange and speechless fear.
'Tis the voice of the night that broods outside
When folk should be asleep,
And many and many's the time I've cried
To the darkness brooding far and wide Over the land and the deep:
"Whom do you want, O lonely night,
That you wail the long hours through?"
And the night would say in its ghostly way:
"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

My mother told me long ago
(When I was a little tad)
That when the night went wailing so,
Somebody had been bad;
And then, when I was snug in bed,
Whither I had been sent,
With the blankets pulled up round my head,
I'd think of what my mother'd said,
And wonder what boy she meant!
And "Who's been bad to-day?"
I'd ask Of the wind that hoarsely blew;
And the voice would say in its meaningful way:
"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

That this was true I must allow--
You'll not believe it, though!
Yes, though I'm quite a model now,
I was not always so.
And if you doubt what things I say,
Suppose you make the test;
Suppose, when you've been bad some day
And up to bed are sent away
From mother and the rest--
Suppose you ask, "Who has been bad?"
And then you'll hear what's true;
For the wind will moan in its ruefulest tone:
"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

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Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 04:31 pm
Casey at the Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer ©

Published: The Examiner (06-03-1888)

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought"
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

As as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Reply Fri 6 Mar, 2009 06:51 pm
Good ones for sure. I mentioned "Jabberwocky" up there a bit -- she has it nearly memorized already and is good at it but she wasn't enthused about doing it for the talent show. She had the same reaction to the other ones -- likes them, thinks they're good poems, but not quite what she'd want to do.

We've definitely decided that "Thriller" is out -- maybe in a couple of years, but there's no way these kids could get it together before the deadline.

Blues Brothers ("Soul Man") had a partial resurgence -- sozlet wanted to do it but her friend was lukewarm about it, AND when it first came up last fall it started this drama (sigh, always the drama) because two other friends of theirs wanted to be in on it and it's really a partner thing (or partners with a band backing 'em up... but the friends didn't want to just do backup).

Friend's mom suggested "Shake a Tail Feather" instead (Ray Charles/ Blues Brothers) but neither sozlet or friend were into it.

I may have just had an idea though.

For her eighth birthday party this year, sozlet had a mystery party. Everyone had a role to enact and then they tried to figure out who the murderer was. It was incredibly fun and everyone really got into their roles. Sozlet was a snooty heiress with a big staff she was mean to and who all had various reasons for wanting to kill her. (It was light and funny, don't worry.) Her friend K who I've been talking about here was Zee French Chef, and she was HILARIOUS. I got her a mustache and a chef's hat and she had an accent and everything.

So, long story slightly less long, I'm thinking of creating a skit around some of those characters, and then specific roles for other friends.

Just asked K's mom via email whether K would be thrilled or mortified to do the chef character in front of a big crowd, if she's OK with it, this might work. (Sozlet thinks it's the best idea ever.)

It'd have to actually be funny of course which is the tricky part! But this crew is all really dramatic and goofy and I think they can make it work. (One of these kids plans to be a stand-up comedian when he grows up and I can totally see it. At the party, he was cracking up the table at cake time with blonde jokes and E.G. said something like, "um, you realize there are several blondes here, right?" [indicating blonde girlies] and the kid swept off the hat he'd been wearing and said "Hello! I'm blond!!" without missing a beat. Very Happy)
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2009 08:37 am
I had a fit of creativity last night and wrote a script. If her friends like it, I think we're good to go. (If.)
Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2009 02:18 pm

Complications, which I started to type out but which are more complicated than interesting and don't seem to want to summarize well. Shortest version I can muster: K (sozlet's friend) wants to do the skit, but K's mom had decided over the weekend (without talking to me about it, though she did have her reasons) that K was doing "Shake a Tail Feather" with a big group (sozlet was presumed to be in that group) and is resistant to K doing the skit. Meanwhile, sozlet doesn't want to do "Shake a Tail Feather." (Neither does K.)

Not resolved yet, pending some stuff.

We'll see.
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Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2009 04:13 pm
sozobe wrote:
Good ones for sure. I mentioned "Jabberwocky" up there a bit

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Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2009 05:12 pm
"Shake a Tailfeather" how utterly trite.

LEt her recite Ozymandias. Get her one of those electronic microphones that hook onto your face with one of those post processing gizmos that lowers her voice so she can sound like Jeoffrey Holder doing his Satan impression or BArry White on the Simpsons.
Reply Wed 11 Mar, 2009 06:10 pm
So it's not gonna happen... at all.

K is gonna do "Shake a Tailfeather" and that's final. (That makes her mom sound more culpable than she is, it's a frustrating situation and I'm not totally happy with things but there wasn't any outright bitchery going on.)

Sozlet won't do "Shake a Tailfeather" and that's final. (That's all her, she just really doesn't want to.)

She's fine with doing nothing if that's the alternative to "Shake a Tailfeather."

Talks of doing the skit with someone else filling K's role went nowhere. (Sozlet thinks it wouldn't be right.)

Talks of doing something else went nowhere (sozlet had her heart set on the skit and just doesn't want to start the whole search again).

Sozlet seems philosophical about this rather than pouty -- doing nothing at all seems truly fine to her -- so I'm not gonna push.

(I liked my script! Maybe they can do it this summer for an audience of family and neighbors, or something.)
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