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Drama & Speech        < Previous        Next >


Drama & Speech:

Melodrama -- Funny Food Fiction


Today's Snack: Just as melodrama exaggerates good and evil - why do you think they call it "melodramatic"? - let's have a "hero" and a "villain." The "hero" is a "hero sandwich" - basically, a hoagie or half-hoagie with at least two kinds of meats, two kinds of cheeses, and some lettuce and veggies stacked on top. The "villain" will be a celery stalk, complete with leafy top, that you have to hold with your upper lip under your nose like a green, leafy moustache - and then eat, saying in your best villain voice, "Nyahh ahhh ahhhhh!!!!"





Clean, empty food boxes and containers

Paper towels

Kitchen towels

Hero sandwich

Cupcake or well-shaped pear

Old, ugly, sprouted potato or wilted celery

Vegetable peeler

Salad spinner


Tin foil


A melodrama play exaggerates good and evil in a crowd-pleasing way. Usually, there's a boyfriend and girlfriend temporarily separated by a mean, greedy villain. But in the end, the hero saves the girl, defeats the villain, and the hero and heroine live happily ever after.


You've seen it in various forms: the villain ties the heroine up on railroad tracks before an onrushing train . . . but at the last minute, the hero scoops her to safety and the villain is left twirling his moustache, muttering, "Curses! Foiled again!"


Melodramas are a fun way to tell a simple story. They aren't complicated. They're corny. But people love them!


So let's put on a melodrama, and let's make the scenery and characters work cheap. Really cheap! Let's make them out of FOOD!


Clear this first with the chief cook at your house or after-school program, but come up with some "characters" from your refrigerator and cupboards. Dream up a simple plot (conflict-resolution-curtain!), and put on your edible melodrama for an appreciative audience, even if it's just your family dog who wants to scarf down the salami you're using as the hero.


Here are some ideas for acting out a funny food fiction. Be sure to tell your audience that they are supposed to exaggerate their responses to the drama, too. So they're supposed to cheer and clap for the hero and heroine, and boo and hiss at the villain. Everybody will have fun:


Stage. It could be food boxes and cans, stacked and arranged. Or you could use the refrigerator shelves and drawers themselves, if you promise not to waste energy and leave the door open too awfully long.


Curtains. You could drape paper towels or kitchen towels from a yardstick if you'd like the fun and excitement of curtains that open and close.


Hero. What food do you have that looks heroic? For a visual pun, you could make a HERO SANDWICH. A solid, tall salami can be cut on one end so that it'll stand up. You can make facial features out of scrap paper and stick them in place in the food item with straight pins. Just don't forget to take the pins out if you decide to eat your characters later!


Heroine. What food item do you have that is truly beautiful? A decorated cupcake? A perfectly-shaped pear or peach?


Villain. A sprouted potato or bunch of wilted celery can look evil and ugly.


Conflict. What would be something that the villain would want of the heroine, but she wouldn't want to do it? If she's a peach, would the villain want her to peel? If so, you could use a vegetable peeler as a prop to tell the story. But figure out something that your heroine doesn't want to do but the villain is trying to force her to do.


Threat. Melodramas always have something terrible that could happen to the heroine: she could be tied to the railroad tracks to be run over, for example. What threat could your heroine face? A salad spinner? A blender? Or something abstract that your audience could relate to and that has to do with food, like high cholesterol?


Resolution. How does the hero save the heroine and beat the villain?


Ending. It HAS to be happy! It HAS to end with the villain saying, "Curses! Foiled again!" As a prop, if you really want to be corny, and who doesn't, you could have the villain wrapped up in . . . you guessed it . . . FOIL!


By Susan Darst Williams Drama & Speech 02 2010

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