This is a long story…that can be explained in this post only a little. Along with our students, it can lead us to many places!
Let’s start from the very beginning. k d lang (she writes her name in lower case, just like e e cummings : ) is a Canadian singer, with a golden voice, and my absolute favourite female performer. Her song Constant Craving is one of my all-time favourites. I just love the instruments used (especially the accordion is haunting and beautiful), the lyrics are amazing and k d’s voice spectacular.
The other day, I was listening to the song (again) and paying much closer attention to the video, which I have seen more times than I remember…and it hit me. I looked at the characters…they reminded me of something. Are the men in the theater where k d is, playing in Waiting for Godot? I did that play in university, in my very first year in a class called Introduction to Drama. I loved that play so much, that it became the main topic of a paper I wrote then. I checked the story behind the video, and it really is k d in a theater, where this play is being performed!
Can I use her song AND the play in class? Sure – I can try!
Here is how I am thinking of using it – let me know if you have any different ideas! I am positive that my students will take me to other places that I had never imagined before, so this is just a rough idea.
I am thinking of using it with B2 / C1 / C2 level students, because some of the vocabulary and themes can be a bit challenging for lower levels. So then for my classes, it will be mainly teens and adult students.
I will show them the title first. Some initial rough questions:
- What do you think it means?
- What does to crave mean?
- Why does she call it a constant kind of craving? Guess what the song is about! (The artist herself has never clearly, in as many interviews as I have seen, mentioned who or what the source of inspiration for this song is. There is no correct or wrong answer in songs, poetry or literature anyway, I believe. They can all be left open to interpretation. We want our students to produce written or spoken language in English.)
I will let them listen to the song and watch the video then.
- What is the singer doing? What do you think her feelings are and why?
- Where is she? Why do you think so?
- What are the people in the theater doing: The audience? The people on stage?
Then I will give them the lyrics. You can see them and the activities in a document called ConstantCraving_LessonPlan and feel free to do anything you like with it, change it, create it from the beginning, anything!
- We can go through the lyrics one by one and discuss, thoughts that come to our minds, feelings, anything.
- They can choose a word or phrase that strikes them and write a small poem or short story.
- They can perform / present their poems or stories in front of the class (if they feel comfortable, or we can do it with them / for them) – perhaps even with the song playing softly in the background, to give a more dramatic tone : )
Here is my favourite live performance of the song, for your pleasure – happy listening!
Waiting for Godot will be the next post – Part 2! Stay tuned.