Monday, August 10, 2009

"Lady Talksalot"

When our small church was in desperate need of someone to be in charge of the vacation Bible school skit, the director hung the job on me because, well, there was no one else and I was the pastor. Pastors always get the jobs no one else wants. So he handed me a file containing the five names of those to be included in the skit. The only problem was that all the skits were written typically for two people. There was nothing else to do but create new characters and new dialogue for each.
One of the five to be included was our younger daughter, Jennifer, the truly born actress of the family; the one sure to be over-the-top dramatic (See her reaction in the post titled "Spud."). I was stuck for how to write for her special talents when a thought occurred to me. Both our daughters had developed an ability to speak at a rapid-fire rate that to this day leaves me replying "Duh" to everything they say. Suppose I wrote a part for a lady who could speak in Jennifer's typical machine gun rhythm? I tossed the idea to her and she lit up at the thought. Since "Sir Lancelot" wouldn't do, I gave her the name "Lady Talksalot."
When the opening night for vacation Bible school arrived, I listened with some trepidation to the skit, wondering what I had done. I had turned loose our daughter with the instructions to talk without a script (It was impossible to write one.). "Just talk until you run out of words, then someone else will step in and pick up the dialogue." Right.
Everything went well and normal until the moment her character was supposed to speak. Enter Lady Talksalot. Jennifer erupted in a blizzard of words. The other actors looked as if they had been beaned with an inside pitch. Jennifer never slowed. I kept waiting for the end, but it never came. The other actor (now totally confused) kept waiting for her to take a breath so he could say his lines, but she didn't seem to breathe. Jennifer just kept talking on and on, effortlessly, and - most amazing - she never repeated herself. When Jennifer finally paused (She did have to breathe after all), the audience fractured. Sensing his one and only opportunity, the other actor stepped in with his lines and the skit continued.
Our program was a hit and audience was hooked. From that night forward, the audience swelled with as many adults as kids, just to see what "Lady Talksalot" would do next.
Jennifer did not disappoint them. She rattled on at mind-numbing speed for the entire week and never missed a line. A legend was born.
"Lady Talksalot" was married this summer to a fine young man, another pastor in the making to bring under our roof. He has been forewarned - not that it will do much good. He seems intelligent enough, and I know he loves Jennifer. I just hope he gets in a word once in a while.

1 comment:

  1. I love lady talks a lot. :) a woman after my own heart. <3