My daughter and I got sucked into part of a Brady Bunch marathon today on TV Land. I watched the episode where Mike gets roped into reciting a Longfellow poem at the Family Night Frolics (a family talent show at Greg and Marsha's high school.) He decides that the poem is too boring on its own, so he and the boys try to find a way to jazz it up a little. Mike and Greg don tuxedos, and Mike begins to dramatically read the poem from a podium, while Greg provides mellow guitar accompaniment. It is all veddy civilized until Bobby and Peter, as planned, begin to drop things onto the stage from the rafters (a box of feathers when the word "feather" is spoken; water from a watering can, then a bucket, at the mention of rain; a rubber chicken on a string when Mike speaks of a mighty eagle.) Hilarity, of course, ensues.
It got me thinking--how does one jazz up a reading? I am all for words and voices unadorned, but I love when people bring a little something extra to the stage (Chris Abani and his saxophone, Ayelet Waldman and her ask-me-a-question-I'll-throw-you-a-cool-prize-goodies.) One day I swear I will find a way to reintegrate dance and my writing. In the meanwhile, my sister, who is going to be in town from Toronto, is going to help me read my piece at the MoveOn event on Oct. 9 (we haven't performed together since our last basement dance production over 20 years ago!) I am very excited. I'm hoping that the piece will be more memorable than a typical reading, even if we aren't bombarded by rubber chickens in the process.
(A few days after I wrote this post, this fun little piece about readings by Amanda Stern appeared in the New York Times. Click "next" up in the right hand corner to see the entire thing.)