Skit dreams impossible dream Equality play puts pupils in state finals

April 23, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

If you thought Ernest Hemingway's great American tale "The Old Man and the Sea" was simply about an old man trying to catch a fish, the children at Georgetown East Elementary School have news for you.

"It's about an old man trying to reach his impossible dream," sai11-year-old Justin Arnold.

Justin and six of his classmates read or listened to the classic tale to find the theme and create an analogous skit for Odyssey of the Mind, a competition sponsored by a national nonprofit organization with the same name.

After months of brainstorming, the pupils created a skit featuring an old woman reminiscing about her impossible dream: equality among the races and religions.

"We knew that equality sometimes seems like an impossible dream, especially with everything going on in the world," Justin said. "We looked at things like Rodney King and we knew we wanted to do something about equality."

The children, many of whom are participating in the competition for the second or third time, advanced to tomorrow'sSaturday state finals at the University of Maryland Baltimore County by winning a regional competition last month.

OC Odyssey of the Mind tries to foster the development of creative

thinking and creative problem-solving skills in young people by having them work in teams to solve complex problems. This year's problem was to create a skit that is either an analogy or parody of "The Old Man and the Sea."

Under the rules, the pupils may receive no help from teachers, coaches or parents as they develop their solutions.

"Nobody can give them the idea," explained Gayle Brickman Kaplan, the coach. "In fact, the team has to sign a form saying there has been no outside help. We can coach them, but that's all we can do."

The Georgetown East team -- Justin; Delia Stubbs, 11; Philip Dales, 11; Rachael Brickman, 10; Jim Garverick, 10; Maureen Bussink, 11; and Eric Dunning, 11 -- created a skit in which the backdrop and all characters are covered in black and white, with the exception of a boy who is clothed in many colors to represent the hope of equality in the future.

At the beginning, Rachael walks out to face the audience with her face painted half black and half white. Her shirt, pants and gloves also are black and white. She tells the audience that the colors represent two extremes but the future is a rainbow.

Delia, who portrays an elderly grandmother, begins to recount the tale of her impossible dream of equality to her grandson, played by Justin. During the next few minutes the "Dream Team" news broadcasts reports about the Holocaust and the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

There is also a recitation of part of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and a rap about equality.

The members of Georgetown East's Odyssey of the Mind team said they are a bit nervous about tomorrow's competition, but they are confident of a win.

"When we go to the world [competition], and we will go to the world, we'll have to make some changes," Philip said. "But we've got it together."

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