“I work in jazz clubs, not sock hops…. I work in jazz clubs, not sock hops….”
A second student intones different words from the same script, and then three other classmates chime in.
Suddenly their syncopated readings resolve into song, a sort of jazz improvisation. And with that, the script that seemed puzzling on the page leaps to life.
The riff evokes the story of Willie “Cool” Jones, a jazz musician caught between stardom and addiction in the drama Lost Tempo. It’s one of four plays the students will see performed as part of “The Playwright and the Stage” class.
The students read, analyze, and experience each play through this Seminar for Freshmen class, one of a collection of courses offering exciting opportunities to engage in depth in the world outside the classroom while focusing on an inspiring topic.
After reading an early draft of Lost Tempo the students told Professor Richard Chambers it was tough going. Thus the impromptu performance of the play’s opening lines.
He asks: “Who struggled?” Hands go up. “Good, you were supposed to. This will limber up your mind. If it’s hard at first, you will make your way through.”