Monday, February 22, 2010

Amaya: Behind a Theatre Mask

January, 2010

Last year she longed to be in Shakespeare Club. She crept along the sidelines and watched the actors warm up. She asked if she could sit in on rehearsals and one day, in a courageous spurt, blurted, "Ms. Ryane, I want to be in it....Can I be in it?"

Amaya was not chosen last year for the simple reason that I had too many, but I knew she would have her opportunity when she reached fifth grade and here she is.

Amaya sneaks out of her classroom early on Wednesdays to help me set up. She arrives a few minutes before Lucinda, our stage manager, so we have some time alone to catch up.

Amaya's mom found a special ring and gave it to her daughter.

"Look, Ms. Ryane." She holds her hand up to show me.

"Oh, you know what these are, Amaya?"

She looks down at the ring and uncertainty flows across her face.

"Don't worry, I'm going to tell you. There are two faces on this ring. See how one looks happy and one looks sad?"

Amaya nods behind the long bangs hanging in her eyes.

"Do you remember when The Shakespeare Club did 'Romeo and Juliet'?"

"Yes, because Belinda was Juliet."

"Right. So, at the end of that play lots of people died. That means it's a tragedy."

Amaya tries the word out in her mouth a few marbly times, "Tradedy...tradegy?" And then we say it together. "Tragedy. Tragedy. Good, you got it."

"Remember last year when we did 'Twelfth Night'?

"Yes," she answers in a quiet voice.

"At the end of that play everyone got married and nobody died, which means it's a comedy. Now look at your lovely ring."

We study it together.

"These are the theatre masks. One for comedy and one for tragedy. Your mom gave you a very special gift and how perfect because now you are in Shakespeare Club."

"She didn't even have to buy it....she found it."

"Even better."

"Ms. Ryane?"

"Yup?" I answer, hauling tables away and dragging chairs into place.

"I found a picture of Queen Elizabeth."

"Where is it?"

"I found it on the computer."

"Cool. Do you mean in computer class you did some research?"

"Yes and I found her picture."

"Well, good. You could print that out and bring it in to share....Would you like to do that?"

She would like to do that. And she will wear that ring to every meeting.

I want to be in Shakespeare club because I always thought that I could get to be an actor. I also want to be in the shakespeare club because I think I could get to be in actor when I grow up. I think that I could be here is because I could learn more about him.

Today I learn something about William. I also learn the rules and mottos of the shakespeare club.
—Amaya, 5th grade

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