Community Perspective: Oscar Online

A contributed perspectives piece by Tom Arthur

The author in his sealskin cap.

I’m exhausted from a Zoom engagement teaching theater online to 40 eight-year-olds enrolled in my grandchildren’s Tennessee primary school.

I turned my desk lamp on and off to reflect stage lighting, wore a sealskin cap from Finland and a nineteen-forties fedora from a Florence street market to talk about costumes and demonstrated differing sets by moving my laptop from room to room.

Deprived of physical exercises to get performance into bodies, I relied on abstractions for acting, a contradiction in terms. “An actor is a body/mind athlete” and “Actors use their bodies the way violinists play music,” etc.

Out of date with contemporary children’s television, I resorted to The Wizard of Oz film, (the Cowardly Lion roaring before Dorothy punches him in the nose and pouting afterward) and imitating Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch.

Was I a bore? Reviews will be in this weekend when we do our family zoom. One youngster did ask me to do Oscar again.

I’m glad it’s over, though I did enjoy it.

Tom Arthur is a retired JMU teacher of acting. He has eight grandchildren.

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