May 17 2010

Game Poem 17: Turtle, Turtle, What’s My Name?

“Turtle, Turtle, What’s My Name?” is a light game to be played when four dear friends have gathered in the parlor for an evening’s entertainment. Each of you will play the part of a character from the beloved children’s books of the celebrated author, Timothy Roberts. Do not fret; it is not necessary that any or all of you have intimate familiarity with his stories or the delightful talking animals that dwell therein. Simply follow the instructions herein carefully, set out some tea and sandwiches, and you and your party guests will be ensured a grand time.

Select three of the players to portray the characters from “A Splendid Day Out With Flopsy and Mopsy”. These three players will pretend to be the turtles from the story! One of you will be Flopsy, one of you will be Mopsy, and the third will play the remaining turtle, the discovery of whose name comprises the entire point of this game. The remaining player with take the role of Banger the rabbit (from “Banger Makes A Hash Of It And Other Tales”), the mischievous hare who plays the trickster, making trouble for everyone else and getting in their way.

As stated above, the essence of this game is for Flopsy and Mopsy to discover the name of the third turtle, while Banger endeavors to prevent the same. To begin, the player who has taken the part of the unnamed turtle must choose an appropriately whimsical name for himself or herself, and write it secretly on a slip of paper. You may now commence to play!

Each of the turtle players must abide by certain rules, and behave as they imagine that a speaking tortoise might. Their speech is slow and deliberate, but exceedingly polite. Be sure to turn your head carefully towards the person whom you are speaking and look them in the eye thoughtfully before making your statement. Statement, indeed, for as a tortoise, you may never ask a question! Turtles may only make simple statements or declarations, one which you might conclude with a period, if you were to write it down. Turtles speak in a plain and straightforward manner, saying what they have to say in the most brief and direct way possible. They may address each other by name, when known, and offer the usual pleasantries when appropriate.

As noted previously certain additional rules and restrictions apply to the manner of speech of certain of the characters. The turtle whose name is not known to the players at the beginning of the game may never speak his or her own name under any circumstance! The other players may not simply ask their name, but must deduce it through cleverness and persistence – qualities that are surely to be admired in any proper gentleman or lady. Further, the characters of Flopsy and Mopsy are quite respectful of one another, and must speak in turn, one after the other, even if another character has spoken in the meantime. That is, after saying their sentence, the players who speak for Flopsy or Mopsy may not talk again until the other has had their turn. What good manners!

As all of the characters being played are already well acquainted with one another, the conversation may begin as any meeting of companions might. “Good morning, Flopsy.” “Good day to you, and you, Mopsy.” “I expect we will have lovely weather today.” “Indeed, I believe you are correct.” “Perhaps we will picnic in the buttercup field this afternoon.” And so on. But what of Banger?

Although charming in his own naughty way, Banger the rabbit does not display the same good behavior that our turtle friends exhibit. No, indeed! The player who takes the role of Banger may speak whenever he or she wishes, and may even rudely interrupt one of the turtles while they are saying something. Banger may say anything that he or she pleases, within the compass of common propriety, naturally. Whenever the mischievous bunny does something to be a pest, or disrupt the civil intercourse in which the others are engaging, or otherwise befoul the intentions of the other characters – all in the interest of fun and playfulness, of course – the three turtles may collectively sigh and exclaim together, “BANGER!” After being so admonished, the rabbit player must remain silent for a short period before engaging the others in conversation once again. Remember that all of these animals are the best of friends, and while he is a rascal, Banger does not intend any harm or ill will towards the others. It is simply in his nature to be a scamp!

Keeping all of these things in mind, continue play-acting as your chosen characters. The turtles should take their time in slowly unraveling the mystery of the anonymous tortoise’s name, Banger should continue to make a nuisance of himself, and everyone should take care to make sure that everyone is included in the conversation in a way that brings them enjoyment. One player, presumably the host, should keep an eye on the clock or take note of his timepiece, and begin to lead the other players towards the end of the game after fifteen minutes or so. As the animal friends bid each other a good day, if they have deduced the name of the third turtle, they may say it as they part company. “Good morning, then, Flopsy!” “It was a pleasure as always, Mopsy.” “We will see you this evening, Marmalade.” If the turtles have not figured out the name, or have guessed the wrong one, the player may show the others what they have written on their slip of paper, and everyone will have a hearty laugh at their confusion. Lastly, as always, Banger the rabbit should make one final smart quip, at which everyone will exclaim in exasperation, “BANGER!”, and laugh together once again.