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The A Cappella Blog

Provoking a Holiday Revelation

Absurdist A Cappella

This time we discuss provoking a holiday revelation.

Setting the Stage: It’s the end of the semester and, despite that finals stress, everyone’s feeling fine with some holiday cheer. Everyone except the dude in the single down the hall, Ebenezer. You know Ebenezer—the guy who refused to take part in the Secret Santa gift exchange because he was too stingy to get anyone else gift; the guy skipped the Kwanzaa party because he doesn’t believe in cultural celebrations, the guy who wouldn’t even click on the YouTube link you sent him of The Maccabeats performing “Candlelight.” That guy is in need of a serious Dickensian dose of holiday spirit, and who better to deliver it than your a cappella group?

Song Selection: Inspiring a holiday revelation calls for a mix of songs that will grab your subject’s attention, terrify him into listening, and then instill some sentiments of peace on earth and good will toward men. Consider starting with some metal along the lines of “Enter Sandman” or with a song that will imply the urgency of the situation, like “The Final Countdown.” Once Ebenezer realizes the need to change, hit him hard with holiday tidings along the lines of a rousing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” old-school-caroler style, or take a page out of Bill Murray’s holiday classic, Scrooged and bring down the house with your take on “Put A Little Love in Your Heart.”

Setting: There are no two ways about it—you need to strike when your subject is most vulnerable, in his jammies fast asleep. Consider renting a fog machine to get a ghostly atmosphere going in his room, and consider having singers both outside his window, and in the hall outside his room to hit him from all sides and really immerse him in your holiday force.

Choreography: Again, provoking a holiday revelation involves both scaring the convert into believing in the need to change, and reinforcing how he should change. Some zombie-like moves out of thriller may help, or getting some bed sheets to drape over members, who will then glide across the floor can help simulate the sort of apparitions with whom the subject will not want to mess. From there, some good spirited caroler clapping, bobbing, and box stepping can help deliver a down home, communal feel to welcome your new convert home to his new community of holiday caring.

Other Notes: Stringing this sort of project together can be quite an undertaking and may necessitate cooperation from some players outside your group. For example if the object of your performance lives in a dorm, you’ll want to forewarn the RA staff, and the folks in the neighboring rooms of what you’re up to so they aren’t creeped out, and aren’t so likely to intervene before the revelation hits. Same deal goes for someone in an apartment or house of her own, and giving a heads up to the neighborhood watch or police—the more personalized your performance is, and the less chance of interference, the more effective this tactic will ultimately be. It can be all the better if you can convince outsiders to help you out—for example, getting a neighbor to act as though he can’t hear the singing, leaving the object of your performance with no alternative but to think she’s actually gone insane or supernatural elements are acting up on her.

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