Drama & Speech:
Melodrama -- Funny
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!!!!"
empty food boxes and containers
sprouted potato or wilted celery
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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!
What food item do you have that is truly beautiful? A decorated cupcake? A
perfectly-shaped pear or peach?
A sprouted potato or bunch of wilted celery can look evil and ugly.
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.
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
How does the hero save the heroine and beat the villain?
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!