Thursday, March 14, 2013

4 voices

One of the final assignments this quarter was the writing of a monologue.

Here are four:

Jake Dudzik

I think violence is bad. Crucially hurting one another. That's not right. So much hate in this world, so much hate. Why can't we all get along? Please stop the hate and stop the violence because each time we hurt something we get hurt inside. More violence every year. First World War I then World War II then 911 then Sandy Hook. If we can control the violence, Earth can be rescued and we can all be safe. So please, no more violence. No more war. No more guns. No more knives. No more fists. No more kicks. Stop all the wars, fights and shootings. Let's make the world a better place. It's common sense. Let this be a new beginning, a new generation. Put down the weapons, put down fists, put down feet and let's make the world a good place to live. Together we can save people.

Darian Bolten

Personally, I think the WWE is going downhill. They don't put any focus on the divas, unless it's Aj Lee. Also, they need to bring in more NXT Superstars. Big E Langston and Bo Dallas may be good, but it isn't enough. And with CM Punk. He was a great face, but making him heel and demanding respect is a disgrace. I miss the old Punk, the one Bugging Laurinaitis and Triple H. Not this jerk who spits in people's faces and yells at the fans. Back to Aj. Making her kiss everyone in the locker room is wrong. Keep her with Barbie Ziggles (Dolph Ziggler), make him her last man. And turn her back to that amazing girl from NXT. I'm sure I'm not speaking only for myself when I say, “Bring back the old Aj!” We all miss her. And with The Shield. Personally, I feel they're a rip-off of TNA Impact's Aces and Eights. Also, WWE needs to get their act together with Sheamus. That man should be a champion. WWE is turning him into a jobber. Not cool. Sheamus has been WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, King of the Ring, need I say more? I thought not. Same with Randy Orton. He is the youngest WWE Champion EVER. Get Randal and Sheamus act together. Give the WWE Divas more TV time. Bring in NXT Superstars. Bring back the old Punk. Oh, and I know myself and a lot of other people would like to see a Jack Swagger/Antonio Cesaro feud the All American American versus the guy who hates Americans. If WWE doesn't do those things, I swear WWE will lose viewers.

Cuinn Mcdermott

Art means many things. It can be a picture, a painting, a poem, even a dance. Art is a vast sea of knowledge that not many people can appreciate. I believe that art can solve anything. Music, literature, drawing, any form of art is beautiful. Art, if everyone appreciated art the world would be a beautiful place full of life and love. To me, art is the one thing people cannot lose because if art disappears from this world nothing beautiful will remain. Nothing to combat the ugly wars, full of hate and death. Art gives purpose, gives life, art is the most important thing in the world. This is what I think about art. Art is beautiful. Righteous and full of power. True and just.

Ella Rosenberg

Hope can be a blessing or a curse. It is the night-light in a 5-year-old's room. It is a warm fire in a cold campground. It is the sunrise after the darkest hour. We sometimes use hope as a buoy in a rough storm, holding on desperately for dear life. I know that many times I have looked to hope in dark days of despair. Unfortunately, hope doesn't always work out for the best. It hurts tremendously to hope for a long time and then be let down, falling hard and fast from your happy place. But, sometimes, it does work out and we are intact after the storm is over. And there's blue skies, calm breeze and smooth sailing ahead.

The pattern of hope varies. It shifts and like the sands of time, always changing. Sometimes you get days when it seems the world has big plans for you but for others not so much. I feel like there's a balance to everything. Karma, some call it. When there's too much dark, light will be there to shift it. Without hope, the world would have utter chaos. There would be no doctors, no teachers, no flowers and no smiles. Laughter wouldn't be heard. Art wouldn't be seen. Food wouldn't have taste.
Hope is like air. The hope for a better now, a better today, and a better future is all that keeps me going. Just keep moving forward, as a famous man once said.

I think we have more to benefit from hope than to suffer. I hope for many things every day- as small as a hope that homework won't be too hard and as large as hoping that someday all cancers will have a cure. I guess it's all about perspective.

4Voices2 from Good Day on Vimeo.

Monday, February 18, 2013


"A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind."
c. 441 B.C.

This week we continue our discussion of Theater setting and the use of props.
Here are a few student pieces:

Setting, Assignment #2

A Surprise Party
by Hayley Ham

Daytime. A living room.
A leather sofa and a Victorian lamp.
Lights are dim. Lavender, silk curtains are closed.
Room is filled with balloons and decorations. 

Prop Assignment:
Two or more characters
One character has a prop that is an unknown item to the other/s.
The character must explain the prop.

by Sophia Kalyuzhnaya

How you say, 'use dictionary'?

Umm, we don't have one but you can use the computer.

What is this computer?

A monitor with applications... and, access to the internet? Duh!

How you say, Internet?

You just said it.

What is this internet you speak of?

What? All countries use it.

I have not heard of such things before.

OH MY GOSH! I'm just filling in for my cousin and I will not put up with French women or complicated customers!

I, how you say, understand?

Ugh, I am so done.
(Marco leaves stage)

Au revoir.
(takes iPhone out of purse and begins typing)

The Blank Canvas
by Matthew Mallon

An old warehouse.

Character 1
Good morning, my good sir.

Character 2
Yes, yes, and a good morning to you.

Character 1
Thank you. Why are you here?

Character 2
Well, I just wanted to talk with you,

Character 1
Yes, yes.

Character 2
and, I was wondering, why is there a blank canvas here, stretched and primed and,

Character 1
(again, interrupting)
oh yes, you've noticed my work.

Character 2
Your work, oh yes, your work... is it supposed to be a blank canvas?

Character 1
Yes, yes. It is an ideology.

Character 2
An ideology?

Character 1
Yes, yes. It represents Hope and Happiness, but not in that way... in the way that light is hope and if you live your life blinded by its light you can't see the despair of darkness that is necessary for life to live, the light will surely blind you but when you live in the darkness you will go blind but be prepared for the light and you won't be blinded.

Character 2
Oh, I see.

by Ella Rosenberg

I'm new to this planet and way of life, but I think I understand almost everything.

Good. What don't you understand?

The function of a rubber duck.

Are you joking?

I'm quite serious. What do you use a rubber duck for?

Well, it's quite simple... you...

You what?

Well...umm... it's squeaky,

Humans. You are strange creatures. So very odd.

You'll get used to it.

by Emma Carter

Kat- an alien, just arrived to Earth
Kyle- a human

You want some water, Kat?

What's that?

What do you mean, 'What's that?!'

You asked if I wanted water, I don't know what that is.

This is unbelievable...

Explain it to me, what's it like?

Wow... I've never had to explain water before. First off, it's a clear liquid, used for an endless amount of things here on Earth.

Like what?

Well, everyone drinks it. You need it here to live.

What does it taste like?

It doesn't taste like anything. It just feels wet in your mouth.

What does 'wet' mean?

Are you telling me you don't have liquid where you come from?

I guess not. I've never heard any of these words before... wet, water, liquid. We don't have these things.

I have no words... there's nothing really nothing like it.

and a poem, 
by Elizabeth Hemingway

Today I'm inspired
To let go
To hold on
To stop and smell the roses
To give up always knowing
Because there are no shortcuts to any place worth going

Today I'm inspired
To laugh like it's the last thing
To choose my friends who love insanity
To never stay with someone
Who treats you like you're ordinary

Today I'm inspired
To counter all the obstacles
To get through all the pain
Life isn't about braving the storm
Its about dancing in the rain

Today I'm inspired
To remember I'll never be perfect
I'll never be a princess
But that's okay I'd rather be the savior
Than a damsel in distress.

A parting thought:

"People write books they can't find on library shelves."
George Orwell

Saturday, February 9, 2013

-the play's the thing


I'll have grounds
More relative than this—the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2

"There is man in his entirety,
blaming his shoe when his foot is guilty."
Samuel Beckett
Waiting For Godot

This Quarter is all about
the play.

To date, we have discussed:

Theater history

Elements of a Play


Areas of the Stage


Scene Description


watched scene/clips from:

Waiting For Godot
by Samuel beckett

Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller

The Dumbwaiter
by Harold Pinter

Our Town
by Thornton Wilder

The Proposal
by Anton Chekhov

Here are a few examples of setting and scene summary
by the students:

A Surprise Party
Hayley Ham

Daytime. In the middle of the room is a leather sofa and old victorian lamp. The lights are off, the lavender silk curtains are closed. Balloons and decorations fill the stage.

A Crowded Airport Terminal
Elizabeth Hemingway

An airport terminal. Chairs are arranged in rows, stage right. All seats are occupied. At stage left is a cafe, cream sign and souvenir shop. Heavy snowfall can be seen through a window. A small girl is whining, repeating the words, 'ice cream.' 

A Deserted Island
Aaron Mcpeak

Night. A tree with two coconuts. Man lying facedown on beach.

A Crowded Airport Terminal
Ella Rosenberg

Airport terminal. People rushing about, crossing stage. Some sit briefly, rise, exit. A lady dressed in a black trench coat, purple scarf, sunglasses and bright red lips waits without moving. The seat beside her is empty and remains empty as people cross and sit. She smiles as she sees a man enter with a red suitcase, and identical sunglasses. The man is also wearing a black trench coat. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

telling stories...

Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars…everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings…There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being (III.25).
Our Town
Thornton Wilder

"Maybe sometimes we should be story facilitators and help others tell their own stories instead of doing it for them."

     Everyone has a story in them, waiting to be told. As we finish our section on the short story, I have selected two pieces for you. May they bless you as they have me.

One Moment
A true story by Ella Rosenberg

     My life was shattering. My father was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma on April 21, 2011. He was 40.

     After Dad's surgery to remove a swollen lymph node, Mom offered to take me out for ice cream while Dad rested.
     "Sure," I said happily. 
     It wasn't often we went for ice cream, so naturally I thought we were celebrating Dad's successful surgery. Mom and I pulled out of the driveway and merrily made our way down the road. Or, so I thought. Instead of turning onto the main road we kept straight.
     "Mom?" I asked nervously, feeling an ominous dread creeping into me.
     Mom pulled the car onto the shoulder of the street, gently took both of my hands, and choked out, "Ella, Daddy has cancer. I am so sorry baby."
     My mind was taking in every detail of that one moment. The day was warm, sunny. Flowers were coming up- new life reaching, pushing, through the dull, dead grass. The pond had geese, a family stopping for a quick rest as they flew home to the north. I looked at Mom, my eyes widening. "What did you just say?"
     A sob escaped her lips as she squeezed my hands, softly. "It's bad, Ella. It's really, really bad, darling. I stared at her. Surely, I thought, this is a dream.
     "No... No, it can't... Oh, No..." Tears stung my eyes which were filling rapidly.
     "I love you so much, Ella," Mom quietly whimpered.
     Dads are supposed to be invincible. They don't die. They're anchors, strong, permanent. 'He never gets sick,' I thought to myself, vainly trying to hold myself together. 'He's so strong and tough.' I was shaking. Sobs of despair, like monsters, beat against my ribcage trying to get free. Mom unbuckled her seatbelt and cradled me to her chest. "I'm so sorry, my dear Ella. I'm so sorry, my baby. I'm so sorry..." She babbled mindlessly, trying to soothe both herself and me with kind nothings. I knew in the moment before she held my hands, before she told me, that this moment- this snag in time, a moment smaller than a grain of sand in the Desert of Time... less than a drop in the Ocean of Significance... this moment would forever change my life. 'I love Daddy so much,' I thought. 'I don't want him to leave us...' I inwardly scorned myself for thinking such thoughts, for wallowing in self pity. 'He's not dead yet. You have to be strong. For Mom. For Lucy. For yourself. For him. For the bravest man you know.
For Daddy.'

by Connor Phillips

One day my Daddy and Billy Yarbrough were shooting at a bird on a pond. Then Billy thought it would be funny to shoot at Daddy. So, when Daddy found out what was happening, he said, “Hey! I'm over here!” and Billy said, “I know!” So Daddy shot back. I reckin they ran out of shells.

Back in the 1920's, my Grandpaw's daddy sent him to the country store to get a can of sardines. So, while he was up there, a couple of his buddies were there. He stayed and talked 'til it got dark. Back then, the roads were sand. There was an old man that had died out in the woods along the road. This thought got to workin' on his nerves and he got scared. So he pedaled his bike faster and faster 'til he ran into the back of a wagon. The man driving the wagon got scared and started whipping his mule and Grandpaw dumped out of the wagon and had to crawl around in the dark to find his sardines.

Daddy and his friend were goin' somewhere one day and they stopped by a KFC and Daddy's friend said, “What do you want?” Daddy said, “Nothing” 'cause he didn't have any money and he wasn't hungry. So when Daddy's friend came back he had two chicken dinner buckets and Daddy said, “I told you I didn't want anything.” His friend said, “I didn't get you none!”  


Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is the Purpose?

Harlem Summer Day
by Leonard Freed

"Ancient religion and modern science agree: we are here to give praise, or, to slightly tip the expression, to pay attention." 
John Updike

pur·pose[pur-puh s]the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

The question posed to today's class-

Does everything have a purpose?

Four topics were presented in the form of questions:

What is the purpose of a smile?

What is the purpose of tears?

What is the purpose of laughter?

What is the purpose of love?

Here are a few thoughts from the students:

"A smile can speak things that words cannot possibly convey."
Ella Rosenberg

"God blessed humankind with smiles so that life would hurt a little bit less."
Madeline Keller

"The purpose of a smile is to bring peace and happiness to the receiver."
Mike Guin

"Tears will set you free."
Emma Carter

"Laughter is a specific noise."
Ian Fisher

"Laughter makes you live longer."
Daniel Smith

"The purpose of love is life."
Cuinn McDermott

and this, from Elizabeth Hemingway-

weap·on [ wéppən ]
device designed to injure or kill: a device designed to inflict injury or death on an opponent

That is the definition for the word "weapon". A device designed to injure or kill. A smile can be this. This can come from a bully laughing at his victim, the smile on his face wide and insulting, saying "its funny how pathetic you are" and, "I will always be better." It is a smile designed to injure his victim, or "opponent", from the inside, to even wipe out the others self esteem, "killing" his self image.
Thus, is a smile's purpose to be a weapon?

Shield [ sheeld ]
protection or defense: somebody or something that serves as protection or acts as a defense

That is the definition of a shield- protection or defense, the opposite of a weapon. While the bullie's smile is "designed to injure or kill", the victim has a small protection, a defense against the shoving that was sure to come if he lets his opponent see him break. If he shows that his bully was getting to him, that would be an opportunity, even an invitation for more. So he puts up his defense, the shaky, false smile on his face to make them think he doesn't care. They have the same thing, a smile, but they are opposite from each other.
Therefore, a smile's purpose is to be a weapon and a defense, a hideout for evil and a stronghold of good.

A smile's purpose is whatever you want it to be.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Six Words Can Say It All

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
Edgar Allan Poe

"I believe that we are meant to move through the world with interest, and writing keeps me interested.
It is like comparing notes."
Julia Cameron
The Right to Write

     This quarter begins  our study of the short story and to kick-off the section students wrote six-word stories, a concept made famous by Ernest Hemingway when he wrote-

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

Here are a few student examples:

Angels are my type of thing.
Carly McGirt

Finally flying so high, I fell.
William Lampke

Falling in reverse is very confusing.
Ella Rosenberg

Lemurs go swimming, crocodiles get full.
Ian Fisher

Man killed by Subway at dinner.
Mike Guinn

He thought he could swim. Sinking...
Christian Giglia

Rides roller coaster, sleeps in hospital.
Sophia Kalyuzhnaya

Paperboy missing? Didn't hear the news.
Alexander Jones

Best cantrip: sing yourself to sleep.
Emma Carter

     Another assignment asked students to write a paragraph using a first line from one of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories. Here are two examples: 

     Misery is manifold. It is too much to handle. People. Making others mad and sad is not what we are made for. Why can't we work on an agreement to make things right, and not make hate the thing between families around the planet?
-Jake Dudzik

It was a chilly November afternoon. I saw it, small and insignificant to some. But not to me. It was a shining beam of hope. I picked up the small diamond ring and put it in my pocket. If I sell it, I may have just enough money to get to America.
-Emma Carter

Words of the Week
click on word for definition