Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No More Dead Dogs

This isn't a post about weird adventures in the animal kingdom. It's a post about theatre. Really.

My son was reading a book called No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. He found it hysterical and insisted I had to read it. Little did he know how much I would like it and why.

This is a story about a middle school football player who sees the light and joins the drama club. The football guy--Wallace--ends up at play rehearsals because he's in detention, and the teacher he's serving time with is directing the play after school. Wallace hates the play and starts volunteering ideas "fixing" it. The cast rebels on the director and starts following Wallace's ideas instead. (Imagine a secular, teen-age version of Best Christmas Pageant Ever.)

In the end, the play is a riotous success/disaster (depending how you look at it), the theatre kids are the heroes, and the football dudes are exposed for their shallowness! It was great! A moment of poetic beauty as Wallace announces to the coach, "I'm quitting the team to go back to the drama club"!!

And then Wallace muses, "I definitely wasn't friendless. I just made the switch to a different kind of friend. While the team had all been pretty much the same type of personality, the drama club provided an unbelievable variety..."

That pretty much nails it. If you want to find out what the dead dogs have to do with it, you'll have to read it yourself -- or convince one of your kids to read it and then take it for yourself once they are in bed.

Now I am heading out to my son's school for a variety show, where I am in charge of a young stage-crew-in-training.


EllenInOz said...

Lara, you are a bewitching writer of book jackets! I've now added this to my son's summer reading list....which I'll poach from him after he leaves for Boy Scout camp.
Thanks for the tip!

BING! said...

This book was on the county Reading Olympics list for Jr., but he didn't get around to reading it.
As a one-time football parent, I would caution the author to beware of the perpetuation of sterotypes. Running football plays requires the same kind of preparation and dedication as staging a musical. The common dramtic question that hangs in the balance is will it succeed?
Did you know that at Ship, Chuck Palmer, a member of the football team, excelled on stage as the Roman general in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in spring '92?
It was at around that same time that there was major political upheaval in Memorial Auditorium in the name of changing the widely held perception on campus that the theater was an exclusive clique. And for the record, as a member of the "old guard," I dragged my feet on it.
So really, it's a matter of walking a mile in the other guy's shoes! And I guess that is what kind of happens in the book. I just take exception to the "dumb jock" stereotype.