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Educating Them On The Classics

I teach a few different things – ballet, musical theatre dance, acting, pilates, and improv. Improvisation, or learning how to make up funny scenes on the spot, is one of my favorite classes, and whenever the girls come along while I teach, they watch and listen and ask lots of questions.

Since improv is a passion of mine, I don’t give the girls the “short answer”, but take the time to really explain the rules of comedy, teach them comic timing, and describe some of the great comedy scenes out there. Brian’s showed the girls Abbot and Costello’s original “Who’s on First”, and we’ve taught them a few of the best Saturday Night Live and Monty Python sketches (some censored, of course.)

I do believe Cora’s one of the few six-year-olds out there who knows the Land Shark/Candygram sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Anyway, a couple days ago Brian and I spontaneously did a few lines from the famous SNL character, Master Thespian. In any situation, Master Thespian would fake an emotion, the person talking to him would apologize, and then Master Thespian would say, “Acting!” in a grand voice, at which point the other person would shout “Genius!” and Master Thespian would reply “Thank YOU!” with a flourish.

So we explained all this to the girls, who got it well enough that they thought it funny. But then last night they were in the bathroom getting ready for bed and Cora bumped into Maddie and we heard the following exchange:

Maddie: “Ow! Oh, that really hurt!”'
Cora: “Maddie, are you ok? I’m so sorry, are you hurt?”
Maddie: “Acting!”
Cora: “Brilliant!”
Maddie: “Thank YOU!”

Well, I was so proud of my little thespians that I had Brian look up a clip of the Master Thespian on youtube. The girls watched the whole thing, complete with lots of fake slapping, and cackled happily. Which led to them doing MORE Master Thespian, then needing to know how to do a stage slap, then practicing a stage slap on each other over and over, then writing it into a scene of their own – their own little Mini Thespian scene.

The two laughed and laughed and had the best time doing this stuff that it probably added twenty minutes to our bedtime routine. But it was so darn cute I couldn’t stop it.

I can only imagine the phone calls I’ll get from the school: “Your daughter yelled angrily at a friend, slapped her, then shouted ‘Acting!’ at the top of her lungs!”

To which I’ll say: “I’m so sorry. Can I just ask – was it funny? Did she have good timing?”

No one can say I’m neglecting my kids’ education.


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