Monday, July 20, 2009

Nathan: A Zillion-Dollar Idea

November, 2008

It's the day before Thanksgiving break and I'm wending my way classroom to classroom with a bundle of acceptance/rejection letters.

It's been a horrible week. They were all so sweet and tried so hard. I wanted to stuff each and every one into my pocket and keep them. Over thirty kids auditioned for The Shakespeare Club this year, setting a new record.

I went back and forth and forth and back. Up and down the list, finally deciding that a great experience for 21 was better than a humdrum experience for 33.

November 26, 2008

Dear Parent or Guardian:

The Shakespeare Club had a record turnout of eager children auditioning this year. I regret that I couldn't take all of them, but we simply do not have the space.

I'm delighted to report that __________ did a terrific audition and is accepted into the club.

We only have 18 meetings before performance. We will meet every Wednesday, beginning January 14, 2009. A schedule is included with this letter. If the schedule is a problem, please let me know so another child on the waiting list may have a chance to be in the club.

If you can provide something like apples or oranges for a meeting, please pick a date off the schedule and let me know.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Mel Ryane

The school's parent/booster group has grown from six to sixty people and they're formidable at fundraising. Along with supplying laptop computers and sports equipment to the school and providing The Shakespeare Club with a budget, they've hired an art teacher willing to help with our props. Fantastic.

As I hand out letters to teachers, I know a good number of small hearts will suffer disappointment. I suggest to the kids who don't make the club that perhaps they would like to work on props.

"Hey, Ms. Ryane!"

Nathan is a third-grader. His audition was bold in a clear, sure voice. I often saw Nathan marching across the campus, carrying his soft-cover lunchbox like a lawyer with a briefcase. His hair was sometimes spiked, up and pointy; other days, soft and wavy. Nathan seemed to be a fan of product. I could probably use some tips from the kid.

"Hey Nathan, what's up?"

He's busy cleaning a table in the outdoor eating area. The children have to take turns doing the wipe-down after lunch and Nathan appears to be doing an efficient job.

"I got in Shakespeare Club!"

What the what? I only delivered Nathan's acceptance letter to his teacher fifteen minutes ago.

"You did?"

"Yup, I got in!"

"How do you know that?"

"'Cause I know, that's how I know!" he twinkles and gives me a wink.

He's eight.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Nathan....Gotta run, see ya later!" And I'm off for a teacher visit.


"Hey there, Mel."

"Did you tell Nathan that he made the club?"

"No, the letters are still on my desk."


"Okay Tina, wanna make a zillion dollars? If you could figure out how to bottle that boy's confidence, you could say so long to L.A. and buy your own island."

Orsino is in the house. Orsino, the rich, high-living Duke of Illyria who won't take no for an answer.

Good directors often say the key to their work is in the casting.

Sometimes casting is so easy.


  1. You sure know how to spin a yarn. I love this not entirely because I know and love this kid.

  2. Anyone who knows this boy is the better for it.


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