Monday, May 31, 2010

The Chops: Geoffrey and Oliver

Sometimes kids from our local middle school show up after school to do homework under the guardianship of our campus coach. Sometimes those kids are former Shakespeare club members. Sometimes I get to see them.

The other day I ran into Geoffrey and his sister, Kate. Geoffrey had been a member for three years and developed into a top-notch little actor. He played Horatio, Romeo and Sir Toby Belch. He was equally capable with comedy or tragedy.

"Geoffrey! Kate!" I called.

"Ms. Ryane!" They both set aside their bags of Cheetos and ran to me for big hugs.

"It's great to see you two. How's going in sixth grade?"

"Well, Ms. Ryane," Geoffrey lowered his voice to give a manly answer, "it's pretty good, I guess."

"Kate, is the schoolwork tough?"

"Mmmm, no, it's pretty easy, I guess."

"Well, that's because you're a clever girl. I'd be having trouble with the math myself." Geoffrey gave me a sly smile since we both share a disdain for fractions and long division.

"So hey you two, can you check with your parents and see if you can come and see the Shakespeare Club's production of 'Macbeth'?" I handed them a freshly minted program with the date and times.

"Sure, okay, Ms. Ryane," Geoffrey answered as Kate studied the cast names listed on the sheet. "So, who's playing Macbeth, anyway?"

"Oliver. Do you know him? He's in fourth grade and I have to say, he's an actor like you are, Geoffrey. He's doing a really good job."

Geoffrey took the sheet from his sister and checked our Oliver's name next to Macbeth.

"No, I don't think I know him."

He went down the list and came back to Oliver's name.

"But here's the question, Ms. Ryane....Is he better than me?"

Ahhh, yes. Never too young. Once an actor has tread the boards, sniffed the grease paint and accepted the accolades of an avid audience, the addiction has taken hold and the vein of competition pulses.

"No one is better, Geoffrey. You're not better and Oliver's not better. You both have the chops, the acting chops. There could never be world with too many great actors."

"Guess what?" Geoffrey's voice rose.


"I met this guy from New Mexico and his name is Gus and because of you, Ms. Ryane," Geoffrey points a firm finger in my direction, "because of you he thinks I could be a really great actor and he's going to help me with classes and stuff. And that's because of you!"

"That's exciting, but you know what, Geoffrey?"

He blinked his soft brown eyes at me.

"It's because of your talent, your courage and your will. All I could do was hone what was already there. All I could do was encourage you, steer you and give you some craft, but without you taking the never would have happened. We did it together."


Geoffrey exhaled the "yeah" with the gravitas of a mature person, and we both in that second missed it so, so much.

"Great to see you guys, I gotta run." Fast before a maudlin Ms. Ryane makes a fool of herself. "Hope you make it to the show. You have my info, so keep in touch, okay?"

"Sure, Ms. Ryane."

Miss it, miss, so much and soon I'll be saying good-bye to another bunch. So it goes. They go.

I hate middle school.

I want to be in Shakepear club because I want to learn more aboute Shakepear. And because I Love doing plays.

Today I learnd that Willuam Shakspears dad was a glover and Willam got mareid and had 3 babys.
Lizzie, 4th grade

grease paint photo by TrekEarth user broglia

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