Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Medication, Meditation, Mediation



January, 2009

A director once told me a story about working with a well-known actress on a television movie and on...oh...about...Take 108...and after said star had ingested one too many actresses' little helpers, everything fell apart.

It was a sickness-takes-over-the-city movie. The actress was to run onto a train and call out:

"Everyone on this train must be medicated!"

Instead she called out:

"Everyone on this plane must be meditated!"

The poor director, at wit's end, sighed, "First off, we're on a train, not a plane...."

"Who the hell takes a train anymore?" the actress snapped.

Rewrite.

In The Shakespeare Club, after our warm-ups outside and after we've filed in and taken our seats...we meditate.

"Feet flat on the floor, hands on your belly, eyes closed...closed...tight...as in not seeing...closed...."

This is the hardest thing for them to do because something terribly exciting might happen when their eyes are closed. And it is a leap of trust.

"Take a big, big breath. Fill your tummy like a balloon and hold it, hold it, hold it, and let it go. Picture a bright orange sun in the middle of your forehead...hang on to that sun...and breathe...eyes stay closed, Danny...your body stays still, Danny...you are the boss...Russell...."

Poor Danny. Squirmy-wormy can't sit still. And can't wait while others read aloud. And doesn't want to write in his journal.

Between Danny and Russell, I'm starting to wonder.

I have an inkling what's going to happen and I have to carefully execute. Hearts are at risk. When I chose members of the club I tried to create a balance of girls to boys, younger kids to older, but the best laid plans...and all that.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
In the shakespearie club I hope to learn to read.
—Luis, 5th grade

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