Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Meeting Little Sir Echo: A Skit

"Little Sir Echo" is a song from my childhood, taught to me by my mother. I seem to associate it with being in the kitchen doing dishes. This means I don't remember my brother being around to learn/sing it too, but that's just my memory, very self-involved back in the day.

Several years ago I needed an idea for a skit for a talent show, and my creative silly-bug bit. I needed a "straight man", someone who could both sing and play a musical instrument (a guitar in this case), and who would put up with following along with my idea. I asked Jan, a friend at that time and in the same group I was, and she consented. Unlike me, she has a genuine musical talent. My part was perfect for a musical wannabee.

This is the skit as I developed it. Cast: two, one to sing well and play an instrument, one not so talented but who can mostly carry a tune and who can "play" with the music, or riff vocally to be the echo/fool. Set: a small stage with a chair, and if the room is large, a mike. A curtain backdrop is ideal.

It starts with the musician introducing the song "Little Sir Echo" as a very old song learned in childhood, and suggesting to the audience that if they are very quiet, they might actually get to hear the echo. After a quick tuning of the strings, the musician starts: "Little Sir Echo, How do you do. Hello..."

She pauses, expectant, waiting for the returning echo. It doesn't come. She shakes her head like something has gone wrong, retunes a string, clears her throat, and starts over. "Little Sir Echo, How do you do. Hello..."

When again the echo fails to sound, she frowns, tells the audience maybe they are being too noisy, since it's a very shy echo, and starts a third time. "Little Sir Echo, How do you do. Hello..."

Very quietly, from back stage, a rusty voice repeats, "Hello."

Singer: "Hello..."

Echo, a little bolder, "Hello."

Singer: "Little Sir Echo will answer you. Hello..."

Echo, fully confident: "Hello."

Singer: "Hello.."

Echo: "Hello"

Twice more to the melody the singer offers "Hello..." and the Echo answers, with the last one peeking her head out between the gap in the curtains, looking shyly around. The singer sees her, smiles, and continues the song, now looking fully at the Echo.

Singer: "Won''t you come over and play...?"

Echo steps fully out on to the stage, repeating, "And play..." but now instead of just echoing, takes off with the music, up and down, dancing through themes, up and down scales and warm-ups, all the while getting cockier and more dramatic, having a wonderful time singing the word "play" until finally ending up in the laughing part of Mozart's "Queen of the Night" aria with full operatic flair until the highest notes, where suddenly the notes are missed because they are beyond the echo's range, the voice cracks, the facade crumbles, the confidence vanishes along with the voice. Echo suddenly looks wildly around at the audience as if seeing them for the first time, struck with humiliation, and quickly runs to hide back behind the curtain.

Singer, who has been amused and pointedly, overbearingly tolerant of Echo's attempt to steal the show, just smiles, picks up her guitar again, and picks up the song where she left off: "You're a nice little fellow, I know by your voice. But you're always so far away..."

In a very small voice, a chastised Echo replies, "Away."

Thanks, Jan, for helping me realize a small dream and doing it my way. I hope you are still playing and enjoying your own music these days.

No comments: