Better yet, can you re-tell a classic story, cutting to the chase and hitting only the most essential elements, then add costumes and sets and dramatize the stories in less than five minutes?
That’s just what a troupe of Twin Cities Academy Middle Schoolers did tonight—and will do again on Saturday, April 21st. They presented “90 Second Newberys,” extremely short and streamlined versions of Newbery Award winning books.
Here’s a sample line of dialogue from the shorter than short Wrinkle in Time, based on the book by Madeleine L’Engle, to give you some idea of these mini-plays:
“I’m Charles Wallace and I’m a five-year-old genius and that’s kind of creepy.”
You got it right there!
I also enjoyed the narration of Tale of Despereaux, based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo:
“At this point, the story gets kind of complicated…”
These simple words were followed by lots of jumping, soup-ladle banging, and chasing of mice onstage.
Sounds a little chaotic, but so are plots sometimes. In any case, it worked.
Tonight’s show was wonderfully entertaining—and I’m not just saying that in my capacity as Library Lady at TCA. The production gave me new insights into some favorite books and new appreciation of the many talents of middle school students. These folks are not just good at reading books, they’re equally good at re-telling the essential plots of books.
That’s story-slinging, in a nutshell.
If you’re free tomorrow night, the show goes on at seven o’clock and covers eleven great books in about one hour. The address: 835 East Fifth Street, St. Paul, MN 55106. Cost: $5 for adults, and $2 for students. Donations welcomed.