The 2nd years ( = 8th graders) are still at it, and my wonderful JTE Mikan-sensei has not yet given up on having them write and perform skits in English.
My hopes were originally too high and too specific, but I am now willing to settle for understandable English, and every person in the group has to speak at least two lines.
I’m even so generous as to accept “MUAHAHAHAHA” and screams of pain as lines. That’s understandable to a native speaker of English, so…
A lot of my groups are very innovative. They are taking classically recognizable Japanese things and twisting them to their own ends. I’m going to describe my favorite.
Of all the traditional Japanese tales, it seems that almost every class has a group doing Momotaro. He is understandably popular, as the story is strongly connected with out neighboring prefecture, Okayama.
So in one class, there was a group making their way through the early part of the Momotaro story. Their characters were “old woman,” “old man,” “peach,” and “Momotaro.” (What about the dog? I wondered, what about the bird? Or the demons?) But I figured they would just rotate parts as the story evolved.
But yesterday they proclaimed their story finished, and when I read over it, I could not help laughing at their ‘alternate ending’ to this old folk tale. The story starts the same way as most iterations of Momotaro. Old woman goes down to do the laundry, finds a peach, brings it home, and her husband is like, ‘let’s cut it up and eat it!’
The peach protests, but the old man is mostly deaf, and he hacks it in two with his big knife.
Peach & Momotaro: AAAAAAAAAGH!
Old man & old woman: Oh my God!