30 May 2005

St. John's school shows

[3rd show at Prince of Wales today; note stand-up mic in front of me]

Had a splendid time performing at Prince of Wales Collegiate today, the last school shows of Epic Tour 2005. Nice to go out with a bang! The students are really engaged, obviously bursting with creativity -- one had even constructed a diarama of the battle. Our host, Mr. Keith Samuelson, is really the paragon of the committed, can-do, think-outside-the-box high school teacher: one felt superbly energised in his presence. I was pretty impressed by St. John's already, but if this is what the city's youth are like, this province is headed for a bright future. (I see I'm mentioned on the school page, at the link above, with a picture; one student also added some flattering comments to the Final map of Tour route post below.) Thank you, PWC!

[2nd show. I used the projection screen to provide a white backdrop, which worked quite well]

Of the three shows, the third was the best, and also the first I've done in front of a stand-up microphone (which was collecting material for the Radio Noon broadcast tomorrow; see post below). I didn't quail in its presence, though it did forbid sweeping hand-gestures; but I didn't feel as cut off from the audience as I'd have expected. Still, I don't think I'll have one in front of me in the future if it can be avoided. Total audience today was about 130.

Alas, though, no more school shows! It feels eerie to have no more to look forward to. I'd had my doubts, before the Tour began, about the prospect of performing in front of younger audiences -- wasn't I reviving an essentially elite art form? Didn't that mean that only a few could understand it? Yet some of the best performances, and the best responses, have certainly been at the schools. I guess I hadn't hung around much with people aged 12-18 for a good while: the fact is, they should never be underestimated, personally or in their ability to understand and appreciate art. I will miss performing for them.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Sammy is a cat

Anonymous said...

I never imagined a poem to strike me with such force as this one did. Words cannot describe the impact you've put behind your voice as you recited this amazing piece of epic poetry. What continues to shock me is how well you could recall so many detailed verses in quick succession.

I know it sounds silly, but this poem is on the path to lead me into an extended interest in all forms of poetic writings(and oral presentations).

You're a heck of a poet, Mr. Mitchell!

(I would say more and really get into the individual aspects that had a lasting impression on me, but it's late, and I'm getting tired. I will try to comment again tomorrow. So I'll just end off on the above note for now.)

- Derek Waterman

Nicholas Dooley said...

Hello, I'd just like to say that I went to the presentation of the poem in Prince of Wales Collegiate on Monday May 30th. It was very interesting to say the least. It enlightened me to think how hard it must've been to have memorized that poem. Congrats to Jack for capturing every little detail so perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a very interesting and engaged group of students for the last Tour 2005 performance at a school.

Krista Young said...

Hello I attended your touching performance of Plains of Abraham at Prince of Wales Collegiate on May 30th. I enjoyed it greatly and I really appreciate the dedication and emotion that you so clearly portrayed through your art.Thanks.

Amanda Borg said...

Hello Jack, I am a student of PWC and I saw your presentation...twice actually. It was amazing. I loved the way you made different actions/movements for both readings because it gave us a notion that however many times you read it every time was different, every scene was different. And also how you spoke in different characters it gave the feeling of an actual story not just a public reading. And belive me you do have super duper memory !!

Thanks for coming in !

Kathryn Manning said...

Hello Mr. Mitchell,
I listened to your presentation in the school library at Prince of Wales Collegiate and I was really impressed. As soon as you began your poem multiple characters were created. I enjoyed the way you changed the tone of your voice and the position of your walking stick and I found this an effective way to keep the audience interested. I also thought the rhythm you created made it even more engaging. For a student who has yet to take a history course, I found the facts easy to follow amid the descriptive language and expressive gestures. Well written and well performed! Thanks for visiting our school!

Simon Foley said...

Hi Mr. Mitchell. I just wanted to say that the presentation that you did at my school, which was PWC, was very, well, great. And that's a big understatement. I am very intrested in History, especially Canadian, so I really enjoyed the presentation. I hope that you have a good time in Toronto and Quebec City (Quebec City is very nice.) and good luck with the launch of your book this fall! :)


Ashley Butt said...

Hi, this is Ashley Butt. I just wanted to say that I saw your presentation at PWC and it was amazing. Iam not a big history fan, but the way in which you presented your poem was captivating. It was also awsome how you could remember all of those verses. Amazing! I would just like to thank you for visiting, and good luck with your tour. -Ashley :)

Natasha Kapoor said...

Hello Mr. Mitchell,
I'd first like to just thank you for coming to Prince of Wales and perfoming such a moving presentation. You took a subject that not all people usually find interesting and transformed it into a gripping experience. Great Job!

michael barney said...

Hello, my name is Michael Barney I'd just like to say that I went to the presentation of your poem in Prince of Wales Collegiate on Monday May 30th. It was a very good presentation (I especally liked the shick you got from e-bay
it adds a little bit extra when you readyour poem) well just to let you know you did an excepionally good job and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm Ryan King. I would like to start with how it is such an amazing and epic poem. I Did very much enjoy it, such emotion, such feeling, indeed. I would love to hear more epic poems, they have become my choice of poem, now. So, pleae, keep up the good work and I wish you all of the luck in the world.

Kendrick Au said...

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

Your audience has basically put your poem in perspective. It was a gracious masterpiece abundantly filled with a lifetime of epic history. The smooth flowing rhythm that the poem presented was truly enjoyable. The clever creativity used in generating multiple characters was performed with ingenuity. Changing the tone and position for each character aided in the fluency of the piece as well. Despite the obstacles of performing a multi-character piece with just one voice, I commend your work in transforming an epic history in to an elegant poem.
Thank you for your time, it was a truly magnificent performance and I anticipate your return to Newfoundland.

Kendrick Au
Student of PWC

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Mitchell,
I first would like to say thank you for coming to PWC and reciting your amazing epic poem for us all. Every one who attended was blown away. Although normally I am not one who is interested in history, your recognition, made ‘the battle of the Plains of Abraham’ come alive! The brilliant use of metaphors made me slip away, nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, as I was really there to witness the brutal battle between Montcalm and Wolfe.
Good luck in the future!

Laura Dwyer

Anonymous said...

Hello, Mr.Mitchell,
First off it was a truly great performance. I find it quite amazing that someone could memorize a 400 line poem!!! Even me, a student who dosen't take history can apreciate the poem that he had recited. Not only was it a beautiful poem but it was recited cleanly and anyone could see that you diddn't just recite the poem but you understood it. I am a student of Pwc and i would just like to end off saying thank you for sharing that poem with us here at our school, and good luck in the future!
Alex Pulchan