Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dramedy

We used to have Special Ed Drama Club once a week, before funding for the program was cut.
We would all troop down to the local theater and a team of trained thespians would teach our students the fine art of emoting through the use of such classic exercises as "Pretend this is a restaurant" and "Pretend this old blanket is something fantastical."
The main instructor was a graduate from the Barney school of acting. You know, large quantities of body language complemented with actually saying "Ha-ha-ha" when you are act-laughing. Her voice was a collision of helium and cocaine, a bubble expanding at the speed of a squirrel's pulse.
Though she managed to keep her merry troupe relatively on the rails.
"Okay everyone, now pretend you are planting seeds! You're digging, you're digging-Lamar hand out of your pants-you're digging. Now put the seeds in and carefully cover them back up-ok Raoul, start putting the soil back on your seeds, no you have to sit back down no you're not done yet no oh Ok Hey everyone Raoul is giving out hugs! Yayyy! He's the Hug Farmer! Lets all be Hug Farmers!"
One thing that eternally amuses me is how well-meaning people not entirely familiar with the special ed population often pretend the students are angelic beings incapable of having flaws of any sort.
I had a student with the most unimaginably foul breath I have ever encountered; from three feet away it smelled like you had plunged your face into hot wet road kill and then rubbed all around in luxurious circles. I know in my last few years of old age I will smell just like that.
His parents were offended when we hinted at the fact that a dental visit might be in order.
His homecare worker dismissed any halitotic observations, simply shrugging and claiming to have never noticed.
And by God, those heroes of the stage valiantly soldiered on when this student stood directly in their faces, his mouth, when open, almost encompassing the tops of their noses and the bottoms of their chins. You just knew that unbearably hot and rancid air was blasting over them and yet their voices never wavered, their eyes never teared.
"Oh, you are an airplane now? Ok everyone, Drew is an airplane. Oh he is making engines sounds, right in my face, oh boy the engine is sputtering motor oil all over me, its flying towards me, its so close my nose is tickled by its uvula-oh oh God oh God save me the plane is going down...."
Each season of theater would culminate in a performance for friends and family. School administrators would come, gladhand around, and then slip out when the houselights went down. Staff who had been to every practice would steel themselves for one last encore of "Make a pizza" and "Be a statue". A hundred guests would laugh at Drew's airplane and pretend not to notice Lamar's hand down the front of his pants, meditatively rubbing himself.

1 comment: