J.R.Donohue/Commentary/The Secret Life Of School
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The Secret Life Of School
An unfinished musical play about kids vs. fuzzy math
08/14/97

Act 1

The 16 children [kids] are arranged this way:
    1 kid as the narrator
    3 Adds
    3 Subs    
    3 Divs
    3 Mults
    3 kids are in the persona of FuzzyMath, played by three kids in an amazing amorphous costume with six feet.

    The four groups of math kids are color cordinated and each has a number or operation sign on both the front and back of the costume. However, at the start of the act they all have pullovers, sweaters or shirts of various kinds that cover their math jerseys; they look as if wearing regular clothes.

Scene:

Side door of school and outside courtyard area, an area for play while awaiting pickup by parents.

We see the narrator peek out the window next to the door. Then she slowly cracks it open. Other kids are seen peeking out the window. The kids are watching for the next adult to arrive.

K1        Anybody coming?
N        Nope.
K2        Come on silly, let's go in the back and play tag.
N        Naw, my Mom's going to be here any minute.
Various kids: 'Okay, let's go out here then... ' etc.
They spill out into the sideyard, playing with balls, a jump rope, etc. A couple of kids are singing a schoolyard song.

N:        You know, I feel sorry for parents sometimes.
K4        Really???
N:        Yeah, they never find out.
K4        Find out what?
N:        They keep asking, but they never find out.
K4        What?
N:        You know, what it's like to be in fourth grade.
[giggles]
K5    You mean during the drive home?
K6    Yeah, my dad always grills me, every day. He must realllllly want to be nine again!

Song:

They always ask the same things...
We feel it coming on
We know that when the bell rings
We'll get the blast from mom:"

Song stops for: {mom's voice, amplified, from offstage}
"What did you do in school today?"
{kids in unison, laying it on thick}
"Nothing."

"How did everything go today"
"Fine."

"Did you learn anything new?"
"Not really."

Song resumes after laughs from audience:

We ought to give 'em all a break...
Yeah, let them off the hook...
Put 'em out of heartache
Before they have to cook.

We never mean to snub you
Or make you feel un-cool
So here's your introduction to
The secret life of school.

::::: end song :::::

 

N: Why here's something that happened just the other day..........

All their overshirts come off, revealing the math jerseys underneath.

N:    There was a lot of trouble.

The Adds, Subs, Mults, Divs get into a show off and bragging match with the attitude that each is tops and the others are beneath contempt.

"Just add....."
"Multiply......"
"Divide....."
"Subtract......"

N: "I only wish they would learn to interact!"

Fuzzy comes along and tries to poison them. His outfit is in shambles and dustballs and other "fuzz" fall all over the place. Fuzz begins to stick to the kids.

One from each group come together and down stage while the others struggle with Fuzzy in the background.

K7: "We've got to do something about fuzzy, kids are starting to believe in him!"
K8: "The anxiety is just too much"
K9: "I'm loosing my boundaries"
K10: "Mary had a little lamb......" [like HAL dying]

N: Well, kids, its fourth grade, time to kick some Fuzz!!

K7: "Let's divide him into a million pieces."
K8: "Let's subtract his guts out.
K9: "I can multiply his problems, just you watch."
K10: "Let's add a migraine the size of a volkswagon to his noggin"

K7: "Wait a minute, wait a minute, I've got it. What's the one thing FuzzyMath can't stand?"
K8: "A dust buster?" [Picking pieces of fuzz off outfit.]
K7: "No, silly." She pauses for dramatic effect. "TABLES!"

They sing a rollicking, foot stomping song in which all four factions [one verse each] strut their tables and get to make their point, ending with a unified chorus of math certainty ["Oh yes! We finally learned to interact!"] called "We're Glad We Know For Sure."

Song's hook: "'cause when it comes to 'rithmatic we're glad we know for sure!"

Fuzzy wilts and thrashes under this, and ends up steaming and melting on the floor. Its okay if the actors inside Fuzzy are heard to cry, muffled, "What a world, what a world!"

[Potential Act 2 Spelling, definitions, phonics etc. vs. "Whole Manglidge" invented spelling, guessing, word lists Whole Manglidge gets killed by spelling, each correctly spelled word like a dagger in his heart.]

Finale: A chorus song about knowledge

During Curtin Call:
N: [to audience clapping] "Wait wait wait"
When audience quiets,
All Shout on cue: "We still like recess best."






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