Speaking Ability 30 Points
I have a lot of trouble saying, "No" to things, especially when it involves volunteering my time for some cause or event. But occasionally, the "Yes" that escapes my mouth before my brain can put the brakes on yields some surprisingly interesting and satisfying episodes.
Case In Point. Last night I adjudicated a "Declamation and Interpretation Competition" for 5th through 8th graders at a local private school in the northend, which rather than being the wretched experience I anticipated, actually turned out to be quite enjoyable.
Myself and two other local theatre types comprised the panel, and we watched about 30 students show their stuff. The thing that first struck me was the variety of material; everything from Shakespeare to J.K. Rawlings to Tennyson & T.S. Elliott to Stephen Crane to Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Not bad for a bunch of kids, most of whom were obviously on the near side of their teens.
Now granted, many of these were presented in what could charitably be described as "adequate", but still there were several actual standouts, including my personal favorite, the boy who did Jimmy Stewart's Senate floor speech from "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington". It was evident from the start that the kids took their assignments very seriously, and the judging criteria we were handed further indicated that we were expected to take our end of thing with equal sobriety, which judging from the outcome, I think we did quite well.
It's always good to get out a bit into the "real world" outside my narrow confines of work/theatre, just to get a glimpse through the window of what normal life is like for normal people, and this was one of those instances. Parents actually taking an evening to come to school to support their kids in an endeavor that, as someone who still gets the willies at an audition can attest, isn't the easiest thing in the world to do -- stand up in front of a room full of friends, family and fellow students, recite a speech, while three strangers sit in judgement of your efforts. Every kid, regardless of ability got at the least a polite, heartfelt round of applause, and the general atmosphere was positive and encouraging the whole way through. And parents came to thank us afterwards for taking time to do this for their children, and I got the impression that they were genuinely appreciative of the fact we made the effort.
Like I said, sometimes it's good to, "just say 'yes'".
on 10:00 AM