Friday, March 19, 2010

Where Do They Come From?


March, 2010

Charles Laughton (1899-1962) started his acting career in England after his parents agreed to let him study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Among his many Shakespearean roles, Laughton played Macbeth at the Old Vic theatre. His stage career led to a successful cinematic career. His starring roles included those in "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Private Lives of Henry VIII," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and his Oscar-winning performance in "Witness for the Prosecution."

I don't know where you stand on the idea of reincarnation. I'm not sure where I stand on it, but I'm beginning to be swayed by its possibilities. I think Charles Laughton has returned.

When nine-year-old Oliver arrived for his audition, I asked if he would like to read the material or if he had learned it.

"I learned it," Oliver stated with a clear and serious look.

Oliver is a big boy. Oliver doesn't skip or run on the playground. Oliver lumbers.


He launched into the Shakespearean text. I suggested he try it again with the idea that he could really let loose on those critters in the forest. He listened and delivered a new take. I gave additional direction having to do with the punctuation in the four lines. Oliver walked toward me, looked down to examine the commas and semi-colons, ran his finger over the sheet of paper, gave me a quick nod and returned to give a third version. He did this with the authority of a professional in a rehearsal hall.

"Oliver, I'm not sure you've ever really found your 'thing.' I mean that 'thing' that you're special at."

Oliver listened, expressionless.

"I think today, my friend, you may have found your 'thing.' When you act, I get goose bumps. You don't know yet how much power you have, Oliver, but I'm telling you that you have a lot. Oliver, I think you are an actor."

The smile avalanched across his face. He didn't move any other part of his body. He didn't take a step or jump or throw his arms skyward. He smiled and I knew in that moment whatever lay in store for this year, however up and down it might be, I had a Macbeth. This year, when frustrations showed up, as they always do, I would know across the room waiting to find his light was this boy.

Welcome home, Sir Charles Laughton.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I want to be in Shakespeare club because I want to learn more about William Shakespeare.

Also I hope at least some people make it to the Honor roll also me. I hope everybody has a good time. With out somebody leaving. Here are some of the three things I learned today William Shakespeare cried like me when I was a Baby, he had a girlfriend, also he became a world wide fonmonnon.

He was 52 when he died.
—Oliver, 4th grade

2 comments:

  1. When I read about Oliver ... I got goose bumps ... marveling at how the fates sometimes conspire to put people just where they should be.

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  2. When I wrote about him, I thought of you. I knew you'd get this boy and the references.

    ReplyDelete