Performing in front of your class is a thing most students dread, or at least I do. Performing poetry is worse. You have to memorize the poem, figure out how to present it, blah, blah, blah, blah. Our teacher gave us an assignment to choose a dark and mysterious poem to present to the class. At first it was boring. As we went along in the assignment though, it got pretty intense. We got to perform it in any way we like to set the mood of the poem. We could perform it in the girls change room, which when the lights are off is completely dark. We were able to have sound effects, lighting, and the whole shebang, anything that would make the poem creepy, dark, and mysterious. We chose the poem, The Darkening by Philip Roberts. It’s about the apocalypse. (Speaking of which, is anybody else looking forward to the 2012 end of the world?) We performed it with sound effects of wind and bats all over the place, and in a completely dark change room, with only one tea light candle in the middle to provide and eerie glow (and so we wouldn’t run into anybody). The rest of the class sat around the candle as we walked around them, performing our poem. The result was pretty awesome.
There is a difference between performing a poem and presenting a poem. When you present, you just read or recite the poem in front of people with somewhat of an expressive tone in your voice. When you perform a poem, you consider everything. Lighting, tone, music, sound, and the area you perform in. Figurative language also changes the poem. Metaphors, similes, alliteration, etcetera, etcetera. It can add flow and rhythm to the poetry and it can also create a better picture in the readers mind.
Next time you have to do an oral assignment, see how creative you can get. Try to perform it, and most of all, have fun, (even though the majority of assignments we get as high school students are immensely boring)