Friday, July 9, 2010

All Clammed Up



Now that I've taken my own advice and agreed that the club's attempt to perform "Macbeth" is not about me, it's time for an experiment.

"See what I've written on the board?"

The kids crane their skinny necks to look around me to the whiteboard.

IMPRESS ME!


"See that? That's your goal for today's rehearsal. I want you to impress me. And—"

PICK UP YOUR CUES!


"Like you're supposed to pick up your socks and pick up your toys I want you to pick up your cues. You're holding your scripts, so there is no good reason for you to be late on a cue. You know what they say in the theatre about long pauses?"

I can see by their blank faces that they have no idea what I'm nattering about but that's okay. As in any lecture, or perhaps sermon is the word, something will click. Maybe.

"They say, 'Holy smokes, that's a pause a truck could drive through!"

They're really not talking now because they think an actual truck is going to show up.

"That means you left a big hole in the play. A hole wide enough for a huge truck to drive through and that's not good. When you do that, the audience says, 'Oh, I guess that was it. It's over, so let's go home and just as we thought — little kids can't really do Shakespeare. Nice try, kids. Bye!'"

This is working. Faces are scrunched up. They're gettin' mad. They're not going to take it.

"I'm going to press this button, the music will come on and you will begin. This is a run-through. More importantly, I'm not going to say one word. Neither will Ms. Rachel."

I smile at Rachel because sometimes she mouths the witches' lines along with them.

"Ready?"

"YES!"


I press the button on the CD player and the soundtrack from the film "Kingdom of Heaven" blasts its drama into Room 42. I watch.

And watch.

And watch some more.

As NOTHING happens.

Oopsie.

Oh, there it is. A look shot here. A look shot there. A foot kicks another foot. Pssssst....

We listen for a long time to the music because Bettina, who is supposed to walk to the throne, pick up the crown and place it on King Duncan's noggin, is asleep at the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler stalled stage right.

And then they notice that I'm really not going to do a thing or say a thing or even flinch.

Suddenly, Henry's had enough. He leaps out of his chair and runs to the throne. Bettina snaps to attention, whips over to the throne, and we're off. And guess what?

Little kids really can do Shakespeare and do a run-through all by themselves.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
What have I ever done that I fell sorry for? I want's stold my Mickel Jakson movie from home and my dad told me not to take it but he wasen't looking I took for 2 days and when he picked me up from school he got very mad at me we had an argument at home my dad told my mom and I got in a lot of trouple the next day the teachers asked the class have they ever stoleden something and I didn't answer because I did not want to get in trouble by the teacher.
—Krystal, 3rd grade

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