Friday, April 30, 2010

The Glory Days: Henry

March, 2010

"Psst, Ms. Ryane?"

He's scurried up to me from his seat in Room 42. We're in the middle of a scene but Henry has a question. I raise my eyebrows as if to ask, "Yes, what is it, Henry?"

"Hey, Ms. Ryane, is that the ring we used last year?"

I shake my head and mouth, "No, different ring." He tiptoes back to his seat.

"Psst, Ms. Ryane, you should tell them about when you brought those beads last year!"

"Psst, Ms. Ryane, are we going to play the Insult Game this year like last year? I LOVE that game!"

I guess we all have our glory days. The perfect touchdown on the college team. The first kiss from that first boy. The career promotion that spelled, Easy-peasy days ahead!

Henry's glory days came when, at eight years old, he played Malvolio in "Twelfth Night." When he made people laugh. When he took a solo curtain call. Henry's glory days were last year and the little guy wants them back.

He's with us for "Macbeth" after returning to our school halfway through the year. He really should have a bigger role than the doomed King Duncan but it's all we had left after his surprise re-arrival. Henry has taken on the duty of king in a typical Henry way. He shows no impatience with the size of the part.

"Ms. Ryane, the servant better kneel, or you know what!" He runs his finger across his throat.

For Henry the play is about King Duncan, and that's exactly how every actor should approach his or her part.

"Psst, Ms Ryane...I could wear this!" He tugs on his red T-shirt, " 'Cause it's red and looks kinda like blood for when I'm murdered!"

"Henry," I whisper, because we are, again, in the middle of a scene, "we’ll have Shakespeare Club T-shirts."

"Like last year!" he whisper-yelps.

"Different color, but yes," I whisper back.

He dances back to his seat.

I want to give Henry many, many glory days. His spirit is such that despite there being scary things or sad things in the world, he doesn't appear to absorb them. Henry skips and high-fives the universe into his vision of rightness. He is a lesson in weathering the storm. For Henry, Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies are equal in their value to his life. Give him an hour center-stage and he'll keep you entertained. Give him five minutes and you'll clamor for more.

Psst, Henry. You are my glory days.

There are alot of responbiletys for haveing a best frend. You try to stop them when theyr are doing something bad. You also have to be nice to them. If you want friends gusts folow this.
—Henry, 4th grade

beads photo by Flickr user divemasterking2000

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