Monday, April 19, 2010

The Waiting Game

March, 2010

Be still my heart, my tapping fingers and my gnashing teeth. I'm not fond of lineups at the supermarket, at the doctor's office or on the freeway. If I can't grab a "People" magazine, I get apoplectic with impatient energy as the glacial row sits and sits and sits.

So, how can I expect a child anxious to hit center stage to stay calm, not chatter and not writhe as he waits for his turn to bat? And yet I do expect that very thing. I ask it of these kids every year, in every rehearsal and I walk away startled when so many comply by sometimes literally sitting on their hands until their cue comes up.

For Dominick, who wrestles with assorted ADD and ADHD issues, the waiting thing is a gigantic challenge but, my God, the boy tries. I catch him out of the corner of my eye whispering his lines and throwing his imaginary sword heavenward as he goes through Macduff's speeches. His dad came up with a possible solution. He recorded parts of "Macbeth" on an iPod for Dominick to listen to while he waits. It's a worthy fix and seems to be helping.

"Page ten, Ms. Ryane!" Dominick points to his script. "I don't even show up until page ten!"

"I know, Dominick, nightmare. But look at poor Henry. His King Duncan exits on page five and that's it. He's dead until page twenty-one, when he takes a curtain call."

Dominick gives an empathetic head shake toward Henry. "Man, I don't know how you do it."

Actors wait. It is the decree of their career. They wait for auditions, for agents to call, for directors to notice, for parents to accept, for checks in the mail...and while they do those things, they stand before us in restaurants and wait on us some more.

Actor/waiter. A synonymous calling.

Man, I don't know how they do it.

If I was a girl in the Elizabethan period I would wear a big gown with lace and silk gloves up to my elbows, for fun I would go to plays. I would be a queen when I got older because I was a princess. My mother was queen Elizabeth and my father was in Shakespeares plays. I had a chesnut colored horse named Lili. I was born in 1579 and died in 1632.
—Mary, 3rd grade

1 comment:

  1. As always, Mel, you find and reach the individual child. You find the way.


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