Wednesday, December 23, 2009

24 Little Hours

May, 2009

Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?
Twelfth Night Act II, Scene III

For two straight days, beginning with our technical day and continuing through a long day of performances, there was much for me to do — with the overriding obligation of food, food and more food. Actors, like athletes, work harder, faster and stay alert if they know a buffet awaits them.

For my part, I knew somewhere in Los Angeles a frosty margarita had my name on it, once all was said and done in iambic verse.

After a full day of lighting and sound design and after showing the kids the movie "Drumline," I got into my car with Belinda for her long drive home. On arrival, I spoke with Belinda's grandmother.

"Tomorrow's the big day," I chirped.

"What do you mean?" Granny asked.

"The performances. The Shakespeare Club. 'Twelfth Night'?"

Granny gave Belinda a puzzled look. I followed her gaze and gave Belinda my own question mark.

"Belinda, did you give your Mom and your Granny the program with the performance schedule?"

Belinda shrugged and said nothing.

"Okay, then," I fixed on Granny. "Tomorrow Belinda will be performing 'Twelfth Night' at ten-thirty, one o'clock, three o'clock and a final show at six o'clock."

"Then Shakespeare Club is over?" Granny asked.

"Yes, there will be a final party, but basically the year will be done."

"Oh, thank God," Granny sighed and then looked up, startled. "I know...."

And I did know. The Shakespeare Club, for all its good intentions, had proven itself a burden to this family.

"Will you be able to make the six o'clock performance?" I asked.

"We'll be there," Granny answered.

"Good," it was my turn to sigh. "It's just that Belinda could use a ride home tomorrow night."

I hate to admit this, I really do, but I was already thinking of leaving the school the next night with my husband for my rendezvous with that margarita. A two-hour drive to get Belinda home would have been problematic.

I said good-bye to Belinda and Granny and headed off to Costco to pick up trays of turkey wraps, cases of water and platters of fruit. Then to the pizza parlor to arrange for the next day's pie delivery.

Performance day had me up at 6:30 a.m. and on the road by 7:30. I had to gather children, hand out blue Shakespeare Club T-shirts, warm up bodies and voices and...oh they come...our first wildly excited student audience.

The actors sat onstage wide-eyed and in shock as the auditorium filled with their classmates. Up to this very moment, they were fuzzy on why they'd been rehearsing for months. Oh, the jolt of knowledge.

As teachers settled their students, I walked to each child onstage and gave a private encouraging whisper in each tiny ear.

I'm not entirely sure it had an effect on any of them, but I know it helped me to have something concrete to do before stepping away and leaving them to do their jobs.

I learned how to a better actor and person. I also learned how to remember my lines. I felt awesome on stage. I will always remember the fun of rehearsing and memorizing my lines. I will also remember my friends in the Shakespeare Club and the acting.

Shakespeare Club Rules!!!!!!!

My dream is to be a famous cartoonist. I think that job would be fun!!!!!
Theresa, 5th grade


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