Carmen Banana's Song

by Teresa Jennings

Here is another vignette for the revue. This one's short and sweet, and definitely a visual. Those of us who are old enough to remember the subjects of our reference (Carmen Miranda, Ricky Ricardo, Copacabana Singers...) will particularly appreciate it.

The first thing you will need is a star to play Carmen. Again, singing and acting are required, so cast accordingly. She should also be able to sing out above her background vocalists, as well as the band.

Dress her similarly to the Carmen in the picture on this page, if you can. A long slinky, sleeveless dress and some gaudy jewelry are good basics. Sandals and painted toenails are also fun. You might want to make the jewelry out of fruit, too. In any event, you will need to include the hat made of fruit. (The original source of this was more of a turban than a hat.) Use lightweight, plastic fruit and a hot glue gun for quick, effective results.

The background singers can be similarly dressed, but without the fruit hats. Maybe they just have fruit accessories. They should be typical of Cuban '50's nightclub side singers in their demeanor: all smiles, all performance presence. They are mostly oblivious to Carmen's predicament. They just cheerfully sing to the audience and move their shoulders up and down a lot. More movement is okay, too. Choreograph it for best results. It can be simple.

Carmen enters with a smile, which soon turns to a frown. She should hold her head/hat as she starts to realize her discomfort. Have her hold onto it the whole time. While she is singing the song, she should be clearly serious about getting the fruit off her head. This is where the ham in your actress will come in. Let her really get outrageous if she's a comedienne. Attempting and failing to pull this thing off her head could be quite amusing. This should carry into her dialog with the Copabanana Singers who are trying to help her afterwards. As always, the recording is a good reference. (Our Carmen was played by Holly Stroop.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.