Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Song needed

On February 1, the local 5th graders will be touring my middle school. Each year the 5th graders walk around the school, meet the core teachers, and visit the music department. Band, choir, and orchestra each get five minutes to pitch their department to the 5th graders, and they usually use most of that time letting the middle school students play and sing. After all, nothing shows off a department like actual student demonstrations.

Theatre has never been a part of this event because there had not been a 6th grade theatre class until this year. Now that we have a 6th grade theatre program, I asked why theatre is still not participating. I'd love to add a second 6th grade class next year, and eventually a second teacher who would have a full load of just 6th grade theatre. The administration agreed that this was a good idea, and so they will be taking tours of 5th graders through my room on February 1 so that I can show off my program.

Now I just need something to show them.

We've done monologues and small group scenes so far, and I'd rather show the 5th graders something that the whole class does together. I could teach them a Waterhouse-style physicalization of R+J's prologue, or we could have a giant Air Broadsword battle (though I think that might frighten my principal a bit). But what I'd really like to do is a song and dance. We'll be doing a musical at the end of this year, and I'll need to do a class unit on musical theatre eventually, so it might as well be now.

The problem is time. Our semester ends Friday, so all this week is taken up by exams. Monday is a holiday, and Tuesday is a teacher work day. So once the kids come back I'll only have six class days to put something together. I'd like a song that's not too complicated, with plenty of individually sung lines, like "Comedy Tonight" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I'm no Alvin Ailey, so I need something that's closer to "choreographed movement" than "dance." It shouldn't be too long, since the 5th graders will only have five minutes in my class. And I need to be able to get the karaoke CD or download the instrumental song from iTunes this weekend.

I was thinking maybe "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun. It's recognizable from TV commercials, and it can largely be spoken rather than sung. It can be done by two large groups back and forth. That's the best I've come up with after an hour of brainstorming, but I'm certainly open to other suggestions. If this were your program, what would you show in five minutes to pimp your program? If it's a musical routine, what song? Can this be done in six class days?


At 8:15 PM, Blogger chitarita said...

How about "Brush up Your Shakespeare"? You could either split up the lines among kids or have a small group of main singers, and the others do statue garden poses of the plays named. Or a combination of the two.

Other songs I've used for various drama class performances include
"When you're lying awake" (Gilbert and Sullivan, done as a choral reading, could also use pantomimers)

"On the 15th of May" from Seussical (also choral-style, lots of chanting rather than singing. Email me if you want me to send you the script I cut for this bit)

"The Book Report" (from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

Or, what about a YouTube tribute? I'm tempted to try to do the Matrix Ping-Pong bit for our final assembly. It's totally theater.
Some possibilities:


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