Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lizzie: Act I



[Dramatis Personae
    Lizzie, a nine-year-old girl
    Ms. Ryane, a school volunteer

    Scene: A bench outside a portable school classroom on an ordinary public school campus]

______________________________


[ACT I]


   Ms. Ryane.   Hey Lizzie, are you planning on auditioning for Shakespeare Club this year?

   Lizzie.   [Shy grin.]   Yes.

   Ms. Ryane.   That's great, but here's the thing: You know how some kids want to be on a school football team or something like that?

   Lizzie.   Yeah.

   Ms. Ryane.   So, the school has rules that in order to be on a team the student has to keep up their schoolwork. It's the same for The Shakespeare Club because you remember how much work you have to do in the club, right?

   Lizzie.   [A little worried.]   Yeah.

   Ms. Ryane.   Like journal writing...rehearsing and learning lots of lines. I could never put more pressure on a student if I thought they were already struggling with homework

[Lizzie's body slumps a tiny bit, in the solar plexus.]


   Ms. Ryane.   Remember last year when you showed us all the dress you made?

   Lizzie.   [Brightens.]   The green one?

   Ms. Ryane.   Sure. It was sparkly, right?

[Lizzie nods; her brown eyes twinkle.]


   Ms. Ryane.   We were all so impressed that you made that by yourself. Pretty cool.

[Ms. Ryane and Lizzie let the sun warm their faces; they sit in silence for a moment.]


   Ms. Ryane.   I was surprised, Lizzie, to hear that your teacher thinks you don't care enough about your work to complete it and that you have a kind of bad attitude. I was surprised because that's not what you were like in Shakespeare Club and you worked so hard on that dress.

[Lizzie's face is suddenly serious, almost sad.]


   Ms. Ryane.   What's changed, Lizzie? What's different?

[Lizzie looks to the side; two tears roll down her cheeks.]


   Lizzie.   [Whispering.]   I don't want to talk about it.

   Ms. Ryane.   You know what, Lizzie...I think you have to talk about it because I can see it right there in your tummy. Like a small frog waiting to jump out. Whatever this thing is, it wants to get out. What's going on?

[Pause, and then:]


   Lizzie.   There's this boy...he's eleven and he says things....

   Ms. Ryane.   What kinds of things?

   Lizzie.   [Tears flowing.]   Like...like that...he says that I suck. And that nobody likes me and like I don't have any friends...and he says he will hurt my cat....

   Ms. Ryane.   [Tucking a tendril of Lizzie's hair behind her ear.]   So, this boy's a bully.

[Lizzie nods.]


   Ms. Ryane.   Who is this boy, Lizzie?

   Lizzie.   He helps my grandma....He's there after school....He helps her.

   Ms. Ryane.   Did you tell your grandma this was happening?

   Lizzie.   Yes...but he does it anyway.

   Ms. Ryane.   Right, I know the type....He sneaks around behind her back.

   Lizzie.   [Softly.]   Yeah.

   Ms. Ryane.   Does he ever touch you, Lizzie?

   Lizzie.   Yeah...like he pokes me with his finger...like this.

[Lizzie makes a jabbing motion.]


   Ms. Ryane.   Are you having trouble sleeping because of this?

   Lizzie.   Yeah...sometimes I get up for some water and try to sleep again but it's hard....

   Ms. Ryane.   Okay, Lizzie...last year in Shakespeare Club you learned stuff about acting....You learned how to take direction and how to use your voice and how to be brave on stage, right?

   Lizzie.   Yeah.

   Ms. Ryane.   Together you and I are going to learn how to handle this bully. We're going to rehearse a plot.

[Lizzie gives a small smile.]


[END ACT I]



Lizzie: Act II
Lizzie: Act III

CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
Dear Diary

One day I whanted to hite my little sisster but I just did not have the power. I did not have the power because I am a chathlice.
—Lizzie, 3rd grade

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