Friday, March 26, 2010

The Readiness Is All


"So, did you guys notice any big sports-type event in the news recently?"

"Like you mean like the Super Bowl or something?" Mark suggests.

"Something like that, but longer. More like two weeks longer with a lot of snow and ice?"

Silence. Then:

"The Olympics!"

"Yes, the Olympics were on and amazing athletes from all over the world competed for medals. Here's what I think you should know: Those figure skaters started training when they were your age or even younger. They would get up every morning at four-thirty, go to a cold, empty ice rink and practice. They'd spend a long day at school and then after school, go back to the rink for more practice."

"Ms. Ryane, that sounds like when Shakespeare went to school and it was dark in the morning and then it was dark when he came home."

"Good one, Ellie, it is like that. I'm telling you about children training to be Olympic athletes because that's what it takes to be great. Do you ever wonder why we do yoga before we start rehearsal?"

"So that we can be strong?" Oliver asks.

"Yes, that's important, but look at this."

On the board I draw the three walls of a set, the outlines of a chair and a couch.

"One time I saw a play in New York where an actor sat here on a chair and then flew across the room to land on the couch, stage left."

"Oh, I know, he had those strings on him," Garth offers.

"Nope, no strings. That actor was in such good shape that when he decided his character would do that, he was able to. This is why we work out: As an actor, you always want to be able to physically do what you imagine your character doing. Understand?"

Maybe not.

"We stretch and get strong so that when act we can leap and fly if we imagine our character would do that. And we work as hard as Olympic athletes to make our play great."

"Do we have to be here in the dark?" asks Beth.

"No, but let's use our time well, here in the afternoon light. Agreed?"


I want to be in Shakespeare Club because I wanted to be a actor. I think being in front of a adiece is cool because you show your talent. Working with other people's fun because you overcome your shyness, I wanted to know what William Shakespeare did.

What I learned about William Shakespeare is that when he was seven he learned Latin, geoamatry, and a lot of other subjects.
—Phoebe, 4th grade

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