Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Celia: The Un-Henry


When I audition kids for the club, I'm not necessarily looking for twenty future Oscar winners. Could you imagine that? Nightmare.

There are many, I know, who will get so much out of the experience simply by climbing a mountain heretofore unimagined.

I do want eager beavers and I do want membership in the club to be their idea.

Two years ago, I asked the group to finish the following sentence in their journals:

"I want to be in The Shakespeare Club because _______________."

...truth is truth
To th' end of reck'ning.
Measure for Measure Act V, Scene I

This is how a small lad finished the line in his journal:

"I want to be in The Shakespeare Club because my Mom made me."

Never again. I can't let that happen no matter how many moms, dads, grannies and uncles wish they could be in The Shakespeare Club.

So, I always ask...and here I was with a delicate flower sitting across from me, her fairy speech tight in hand.

"Celia, why do you want to be in The Shakespeare Club?"

"Because I think it would be good to act."

I lean in close to Celia because she's speaking in such a small voice that I'm not even sure what she said.

"So this was entirely your idea?"

Her nod is as tiny as her voice.

"Celia, did you learn this fairy speech by heart or would you like to read it from the page?"

"I learned it by heart."

Celia has lots of sisters. Two of whom are also in third grade, as she is, and also auditioning for the club. The others have louder voices and are more direct, but I have a feeling that this year it may be important for Celia to participate.

Again, I lean in close and she whispers her fairy speech. It's active, it's vivid...I can see that in her eyes, wide with fierceness...but, holy moly, it's quiet.

"Celia, you know how big the auditorium is, right?"

A mini head-bob is her answer.

"So, when we do a play in there we have to use giant voices or the audience won't hear the story. You know what I'm getting at here?"

"Yes, Ms. Ryane, I can do that. I know I could be an actress. I know that."

Some of the best actors I know are the shyest of people and almost invisible as they navigate in the world. Sometimes there's just no telling who will become an actor.

"Celia, I have to let all the kids who audition know that I can't take everyone, okay? I just don't have a room big enough. So, if you don't get in this year, I want you to try again next year because that will probably work out, okay?"

"When will you know?"

"I'm sorry...try that question again for me in your biggest voice."

"When will you know?"

"Again."

"When will you know?"

I already know. Celia's voice did not alter one iota in volume, but here was a case of someone needing Shakespeare to find it.

____________________

photo from Flowers.vg

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