Monday, May 10, 2010

Luck of the Irish: Natalie


March, 2010


King Duncan has two sons. The elder, Malcolm, becomes king at the end of "Macbeth" and the younger, Donalbain, remains a loyal prince. In our production, Mark plays Malcolm and nine-year-old Natalie plays Donalbain.


When the two sons are informed of their father's murder, they, with good reason, suspect they could be next on the assassination list. They decide it's best to get out of Dodge until the murderer is stopped. Malcolm flees to England and Donalbain to Ireland.

Some days it seems Natalie would also prefer to flee to Ireland rather than be in Room 42, where she has to know her lines both as a witch and as Donalbain. I've worked privately with Natalie, going over and over her lines. She knows them.

But Natalie doesn't trust that she knows them and insists on reading from her script.

"Natalie, be brave...just try...put it down and just try."

"Okay."


Down the script goes. She succeeds. But the next time we get to her Donalbain scene, that script is back in her hands. Look, I get it. It's a scary business standing center stage, talking to a boy, pretending to look at him and then, Oh no! Ms. Ryane comes up with the cockamamie idea that as the brothers seal their plan, the two actors should slap hands in a high-five. Touching a boy's hand and no script. That's got to be the limit.

When St. Patrick's Day rolled around, I had just returned from a trip to Louisiana, where the holiday is almost as big as Mardi Gras and green beads are everywhere.

"Natalie, I have a special duty for you today in Shakespeare Club."

"Okay."

I placed twenty necklaces of green shiny beads on her arm.


"You get to hand these out to all of your fellow actors today because it's St. Patrick's Day."

"Okay."

She's a very willing little girl.

"Why do you think I've chosen you for this task, Natalie?"

She blinks her dark brown eyes at me, leaks a small smile and shrugs.

"Where does St. Patrick's Day come from?"

"Ireland?" she guesses.

I wait. She thinks. I wait.

"Oh...oh, I know. 'Cause I go to Ireland, maybe?"

"Exactly. Donalbain goes to Ireland. Maybe he brings back souvenirs for his friends. And maybe when he was there, he learned his lines and doesn't need his script...what d'ya think?"

I overheard Natalie telling some other girls, "I know all my lines."

Next run-through, there she was, script tight in hand and reading her lines.

Maybe one day. Maybe she'll find her courage, take the risk and remember she has the luck of the Irish, this girl. She's already traveled all the way from Haiti to find her perfect family and to be our Donalbain.

Maybe one day.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
If I was a Elizabethan princess I would live in a cacell with husben and the servence. I would wear a beautiful dress and take nice baths in the morning. I will have cristals in my hair. I will go to William Shakespeare globe. Will I was there I would eat a nice meal like stake and potato and some desearts. I will have huge partys that princes comes over and wil'e William Shakespeare is do a song I have to dance with all of the princes and even William Shakespare.
—Natalie, 4th grade

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