geraldineMost classes finished MAUS I today. Most all of them are riveted. I’ve had three tell me they went out and bought both books for themselves. (We’re making do with class sets of each chapter that my aide and I have xeroxed from my old books.) Half of them aren’t listening to the instructions for the warm up because they’ve pulled a chapter from under their desks and are reading away. Hard to get mad at that… but I somehow manage.

We’ve been reading out loud and taking parts, drama stylie, and reading the talk balloons. I play Vladek, so I get to talk funny (“…in this way he survived me my life…”), and have to do most of the attempts at pronouncing all the places and names.

Sosnowiec is one of the easier ones. It’s all uphill from there. Or at least I thought so until today.

I pick the best reader in each class to play Artie, and for the rest it’s a free-for-all of volunteers. Some like to try their hands at accents, especially the ones who play Nazi soldiers–you can imagine how that must sound–and the boys called on to play women are especially distracting, even if briefly entertaining.

Flip Wilson would be… ummm… proud?

Since there are so many small roles and people who only have a line or two in the whole book, I pick someone to the the “generic character voice.” I try for someone who is a pretty good reader, but more importantly pays attention and knows where to come in.

Back to pronunciation. Obviously some of the cities are almost unpronounceable for most of the class, including yours truly–I am sure I am mangling most of them even with internet help–but I thought some of the easier and more common  words would get better treatment through sheer repetition.

Silly me.

Half of them still say Valdek instead of Vladek.

Anyway, today we hit a new high. Low? My generic character voice was playing the role of a woman hiding Vladek and his wife in her house. She gets searched by the Gestapo, and she’s afraid of being caught hiding Jews, and she’s sending them away.

My reader hadn’t hit any characters yet who had to say the word Gestapo. And obviously all the times I have said it haven’t quite sunk in deep enough yet. So when she gets a little bit into character, and yells like the woman in the book, it comes out:

“The Gazpacho could be here any minute!!”