The English School’s Show is, as mentioned earlier in the week, underway.
Every day, two classes have been putting on their singing, dancing, acting extravaganza for a gym filled with proud parents and camcorders. We have practised so much that I find myself singing the songs from the show, any time I let my brain stop thinking about more useful things. I woke up in the middle of the night last night, coughing, and realised that I’d forgotten to refill the humidifier (AKA my current BFF, BTW). Groaning groggily, I stumbled into the kitchen in the dark, lugging the water tank with me. By the time I got back into bed, I realised that I was on the third chorus of “Continents and Oceans”. In the morning, I woke up and immediately launched into Abba’s “I Have A Dream” (the show’s finale). I have no control over any of this. I have sung the songs and danced the routines and rehearsed the lines over and over and over again so many times with the kids that I could probably put on a one-person, two-hour show with no need for any children to take part.
Fortunately, they’re not asking me to do that. Unlike school productions back home, however, the (foreign) teachers do take part in this one – we are, as I’ve mentioned before, the school’s proudest possessions, and they want to show us off. I get to do a fun take on a Korean quiz gameshow with my bunch, talking to them individually first in the typical gameshow “tell me about yourself” way. I am, apparently, “MC Hayley”. Then we do the quiz, and they write down the answers on their boards and hold them up to the cheers of the audience.
To be honest, our version makes an awful lot more sense to me than any parts of the show that I’ve seen on TV or online. It’s called Golden Bell, and it seems to have a cult following here, but to me it just seems like a bewildering, lengthy conversation. I watch it sometimes as part of my Korean language-learning attempt, and although it’s useful for this, I can’t quite fathom what the point is. Perhaps the Korean sense of humour is still mostly over my head. Here’s a clip from an all-celebrity episode.
The kids love it, though, and they look so cute when they all troop excitedly on to the stage with their matching outfits, caps, and numbers, clutching their answer boards with an air of great importance. And – joy of joys! – every single child so far has got every answer correct, with perfect spelling and everything. I practically collapsed in a relieved heap once I ushered them off the stage and into the corridor after the first show. You know, I never once considered the feelings of stress that my teachers at school went through before events like the Christmas nativity play. Doing that year after year? They must all have been smokers, or heavy drinkers, or at the very least a little bit crazy.
I remember that we children were always incredibly nervous before such a performance. There were pale faces, stammerers, and trembling hands, and someone always froze on stage and forgot their lines. The Korean children aren’t anything like this – they seem to be born performers, every last one of them. Instead of being quiet and nervous, they jump around in excitement as they wait to go on stage, and they grin madly as they say their lines and do their dance routines. I envy them. Personally, I’ve been utterly terrified every time I’ve seen that hall full of proud parents pointing cameras at us.
Great job, everybody! I said joyfully as the tots bounced around me after the show. You did so well!
They bounced even more, pleased with my enthusiasm. I may have joined them in a little bouncing, also.
Hayley Teacha, candy please! They never miss an opportunity. Still, only one more show to go… and if it goes as well as the rest, there will probably be some visits to the dentist required in the near future. :)