How do you perform?

theatre seating

This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills talks about her years as a ballet-Mum, working behind the scenes to ensure the performers were ready to take to the stage.

She talks about the pleasure of watching from theatre stalls, a recent performance of dancers taught by the daughter she’d taken to lessons all those years before.

She sees connections between her role as stage-Mom and her role as Lead Buckaroo at the Carrot Ranch; and similarities between ballet performances and performing with flash fiction.

This, of course led to the week’s flash fiction prompt in which Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write that features a performance. You can interpret what is a performance any way the prompt leads you.

There is little in which Charli is unable to find an analogy to writing. Likewise, I am always keen to find the connections, similarities and analogies to teaching. I have long considered teaching to have elements consistent with entertaining and performing, with our classroom the stage, and the students the interactive audience, the participants for whom and by whom the daily enactment evolves. Regardless of how we feel, each day we enter our classrooms ready to perform, determined to give our students the best educational experience possible.

But I am also familiar with other performances. I performed in many plays as part of studying Speech and Drama throughout school. Both children had a big interest in drama at school also, and I spent many hours ferrying them to classes around the city, making costumes, and watching rehearsals as well as final performances.

As a teacher, I would provide opportunities for children to role play, improvise impromptu scenarios, create puppet plays, and perform songs or plays for parents throughout the year.

Then there are the other impromptu performances that toddlers are great at turning on when the inappropriate moment takes them.

Tonight, I had the pleasure of viewing a presentation, rather than performance, of a story written by local author Yvonne Mes. The story A Starry Christmas was animated and displayed in a spectacular light show on Brisbane City Hall. What an amazing way to have one’s work shared. Congratulations must go to Yvonne for writing the story, and the teams who animated it and produced it. You can watch a video of the story and read some additional information about the event on Yvonne’s website here.

I thought I’d combine a few of these ideas into my response to Charli’s flash fiction prompt this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Christmas lights

A two-day city visit is never enough, but they were determined – trekking the city, visiting in-store Santas, viewing Christmas-dressed windows, watching street performers, even attending a pantomime, with just a brief playground stop for lunch. The light show was the day’s finale.  The tired parents and niggly children collapsed onto the lawn in anticipation. Suddenly the littlest began to perform – crying, screaming, stamping, flailing. Nothing would soothe. The eldest observed, zombie-like. Soon the light-show distracted, occasionally interrupting the performance. Only when the fireworks began, drowning out his cries, did he give in to sleep, sprawled indecorously on the grass.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading, I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

29 thoughts on “How do you perform?

  1. Mabel Kwong

    I never liked performing dance or pantomimes or plays as a kid in front of the audience. It was probably because I was a very shy kid, and did all I could to get cast in a side role or the quietest support role!

    Love the little piece of fiction at the end. Christmas is such a busy time of the year, and it amazes me how everyone likes to come out each year to see the lights, markets and fireworks. Here in Melbourne, sometimes the festivities can be a bit similar year to year, yet there is nothing short of a crowd most nights. I suppose the spirit of the season is about coming together and enjoying it all together. Wishing you a wonderful end of the year 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      I was very shy too. Studying speech and drama helped a little, but when I left school I took my acting from the stage to the classroom.
      There are always a lot of different things going on to get people out and about, and spending, aren’t there?
      Thank you for your good wishes. I wish you the same, and look forward to maintaining the contact throughout 2017.

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      1. Mabel Kwong

        It seems like you are very outgoing when you write fiction, Norah. Always very expressive. Sounds like you settled into the classroom and writing gradually, and found what you are comfortable with. Good on you. Wishing you a great 2018 ahead and take care.

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        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          It’s easier to be outgoing when sitting behind a screen, Mabel, though I don’t put everything out there for public view.
          On another note, I was reading some posts on your blog about Chinese New Year and wondered if you’d like to write a guest post for my readilearn blog about it – aimed more at teachers and children of about 5 – 7 years of age. Let me know if you are interested. If so, we can discuss it more offline. 🙂

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          1. Mabel Kwong

            You have a good point there. Sometimes you can put on a persona when sitting behind a screen, share what you want to share and express what you feel comfortable expressing.

            That is very kind of you to suggest about a guest post, Norah. I’ve always admired your passion for education and what you do for it. I’ll send you an email. In the meantime, happy holidays 🙂

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  2. Pingback: A Time to Perform « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  3. Charli Mills

    What fun animated lights! Christmas in Australia is like Santa meets the 4th of July. And yet like Christmas everywhere, we try to pack so much into the time slots we have and the poor littles can’t keep up with the overall performance, thus giving one of their own. Sweet last line!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Charli. Christmas is very special here – any excuse for fireworks, though only artificial fireworks accompanied the story we watched on City Hall. While my story may have been BOTS, it had nothing to do with this occasion, or even my own children or grandchildren, just years of observations. With our hot Christmas season, we need to create new traditions. Showing an animated story on City Hall is a fabulous one that I hope continues. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Charli Mills

        I could see that becoming a beloved tradition in your community. Weather often dictates traditions. In Minneapolis, they have a Parade of Lights meant to be viewed from the enclosed skyway (overhead “crosswalks” connecting buildings so outside traversing is avoided in sub degree weather).

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  4. Susan Scott

    this reminded me of ‘performing’ on stage as a very small girl. I was the frog and the princess was about to kiss me … my sister was the princess in our homemade costumes, deftly made by our mother – well the curtains came up and I had stage fright and started laughing and giggling uncontrollably – to the horror of the audience. Which brought down the house. Enjoyed your flash fiction Norah! Hope to check out other links!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Susan. It’s a good thing we don’t carry those embarrassments with us throughout life, isn’t it? I’m sure we’ve all experienced something similar. We are children (at the time) after all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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