It’s not every day that a live performance breaks out in a class or office space, but on Wednesday, students from the ELI added a little theater to classes and the workday when they visited various spots throughout campus to perform their “Five Minute Fairy Tales.”
Part of the ELI’s English through Drama class, Five Minute Fairy Tales is the students’ chance to take the stage in a live performance of the fairy tales and fables they’ve been learning about throughout the session. On Wednesday, some of those tales and fables included familiar titles, such as the Tortoise and the Hare, but viewers were sure to note that the story had a twist.
“The students have to ‘fracture’ the fairy tales,” explained teacher Nicole Servais, further explaining that this means the students must “update, change or modernize [the stories] in some way.”
During the performance, the student’s creative twist in the Tortoise and the Hare was evident through an extension of the plot and the introduction of new characters. The story opened with the tortoise and hare meeting with their parents to train for a rematch. In the traditional telling of the story, the tortoise uses his slow and steady pace to defeat the hare in a foot race, but in Wednesday’s telling of the story, the hare’s natural speed results in a win. Despite the disappointment of a loss in the rematch, the tortoise still learns about the value of determination as his parent praises him for his hard work and perseverance.
Servais’ class is one of two English through Drama classes offered by the ELI. Servais sees many benefits in the Five Minute Fairy Tales, explaining that it is a way for the students to craft the characters they portray and to learn about course concepts such as character archetypes, all while practicing their language learning course objectives of increased intelligibility and improved intonation, which are skills needed for clear speaking and appropriate tone.
English through Drama is one of many classes offered in the “English through American Culture” track of study, which is one of four tracks of study available through the ELI’s Intensive English Program.