Friday, May 23, 2003

One Stop Shopping
A new Good Samaritan thrift store opened on Azalea Avenue (at Brook?), in that strip mall where there’s already a Goodwill. I saw a couple of interesting dishes, but nothing I couldn’t live without.

I reconnected with my geeky youth (a little different than my geeky adulthood) by subbing for a high school drama teacher. He took most of his students into town to get ready for a big show at the Carpenter Center, tonight. For the first two blocks, the kids still at school did some movement and dance exercises with a part-time teacher. Their uninhibitedness impressed me.

For the next block, I covered for the other drama teacher. She meant for them to have a study hall. The boys convinced me that because Spencer is working on a symbolic piece about male roles the involves a long two-square game, they needed to spend two hours practicing the playground game. I let them. At first, I thought they told me they wanted to practice the scene, but it turns out they wanted to practice their game so they could play smoothly and speak the lines. As time wore on, with the red ball smacking back and forth on the stage, their real conversations became if not symbolic, at least theatrical. Or ritualistic? They debated and honed rules (what “palming” the ball looks like). They told each other they sucked. They appealed calls; they worked out elaborate rotations of players and judges so there would be someone to whom they could appeal the call. I nearly called them down when, while playing a doubles round, they began to call each other by the country or continent the pairs seemed to represent. Two boys from India were “Asia”; a black kid and a white one were “Africa”; the other black boy and his buddy were the “US A-Team”; and two white boys evolved from the “US B-Team” to “Germany.” After I heard them say “We’re gonna bomb Asia” or “Germany you suck” or “White America lets us down again” a couple of times, I could hear no malice in their voices. It was not hate speech. If they had picked animals or states for the team names, their patter would have been similar.

During the last block, one girl said she was writing a skit (but kept napping), and three senior girls honed the blocking and lighting of their senior project scenes. Then they cleaned the auditorium in anticipation of next week’s performances. So I saw them go from the light board (few girls knew how to work one at Mildo. High in the ‘80s) and gels to sweeping and arranging fake flowers. I promised M. I wouldn’t let the teacher know that she was having a Martha moment and kind of enjoying sticking flowers on a bit of fence.

No comments: