Friday, February 5, 2010

All in a Row

November, 2009

One after another, brave children from the third through fifth grade lined up outside the library door, waiting to audition. They clutched crumpled papers with their four-line audition pieces and looked up at me with startled eyes every time I opened the door and called another inside.

Having spent hours and hours as an auditioning actor myself, I felt somewhat cruel making them go through the process, but the truth is when they earn it with courage and effort, it means more.

A mom/teacher's aide told me this later:

"Mel, I don't know what you're doing in there, but when those kids came out of their auditions they skipped, laughed and were entirely happy on their way back to class."

I'm not sure what I did either but was relieved to hear this. What if we adults could leave interviews feeling as jubilant as those children? Knowing, at the very least, we went in prepared and gave a good meeting?

Some kids could barely read their audition material, but they carried on. Unstoppable. One boy simply made words up and performed them with vigor.

"Worm nor snail, do no offense" became "Why no snail, don't open."

I asked the strugglers to read along with me, out loud, and they complied. Eager, willing kids wanting to please and feel good about themselves.

Identical third-grade twin girls arrived, dressed in exact outfits. Concheta and Conchita. I saw so many children that it wasn't until later, going over my notes, that I realized I'd seen twins and not the same girl twice.

Another little girl loved her audition material so much she rewrote it in cursive, using sparkly markers to decorate.

I wanted to scoop up every single actor, but it is not possible. I don't have enough parts, there isn't enough room in our rehearsal space, there isn't enough room onstage and I'm not talented enough to manage over twenty-one students.

As I drove home to make final decisions and send out letters of rejection or acceptance, a question spun over and over in my head. "Why no snail, don't open?"

I want to be in shakespeare because.....

I realy think I could learn alot from shakespeare and about shakespeare.

And I also think I could be good at something.

And I may do good in the play in May.

And I think it is a good activety.

What I learnd about william shakespear was he died on April 23, 1616.
—Garth, 4th grade

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