Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools
Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz
8. Visceral Literature: Multimodal Theater Activities for Middle and High School English Language Arts
FOOD IS LOVE: STORY IS NOURISHMENT
Multimodal Theater Activities for Middle and High School English Language Arts
TORI TRUSS WITH MIRA-LISA KATZ
Years ago when I was an actor in the Big Apple, I decided to take a course in commercial acting to widen my work possibilities. I distinctly remember the day we covered food commercials. The first commercial was for a brand of ketchup. The text (not great or lasting literature by any stretch of the imagination) was written on a giant tablet, the video camera was ready to roll, and another actor and I were called to the front to act it out. The fifteen-second scene, a conversation between a waitress and customer, was set at the counter of a diner. The dialogue went something like,
“Hey Joe, how’ve ya been? What’ll ya have today?”
“Nice to see you, Marcia. You know, the regular,” with the mention of the ketchup brand at some point. The instructor, a formidable commercial actress and wonderful teacher, offered this advice, “All you need to understand is that food is love.” I knew instantly what to do, how to make something out of nothing. Instead of advertising a brand, we played a mini-love scene, and it worked. Though I did not end up working as a commercial actor, I have never forgotten how revelatory that idea was, that food is love.
Last year, when co-teaching a college course on reading pedagogy...
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