Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking It in Stride

Every year in The Shakespeare Club, at about the halfway point, I have to take myself to the woodshed for a chit-chat.

"It's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about you. Repeat."

"Okay, it's not about me...but...but...what if?"


"Fine, be that way."

The performances of "Macbeth" will be a celebration of our exploration and discovery. We will revel in our unearthing of story, voice and self. The performances are not the goal. They are the party. The kids' ability to act "Macbeth" is not about my ability to direct "Macbeth." It is always about their attempt to leap the high bar all by themselves on performance day. I'll give notes and encouragement but won't jump up to save them in a tricky bit.

At about the halfway point is when I can see the absorption of the program.

Dominick and Millie play Lord and Lady Macduff. There is a new baby in the Macduff household — picked up, by the way, at a discount toy store and wrapped in a worn blanket from the back of my linen closet.

I suggested the actors come up for a name for their baby.

Dominick liked "Elizabeth," naming her after the queen of the period.

Millie agreed with her pretend-husband's choice.

I needed to check some blocking and asked Millie to take her place stage-right.

"Should I bring Elizabeth, Ms. Ryane?"


"Elizabeth," Millie answered, all business and matter-of-fact.

"Oh, of course. There she is, sleeping under your chair."

Absorption. It's becoming real for these guys.

Millie watched the DVD of "Twelfth Night" and wrote me a thank-you note:

    Dear Ms. Ryane,

    Thank you for letting me borrow "Twelfth Night" by Willi Shakespeare. It was kind of confuseing, but my dad loved it. My mom did not like how long it was! My brothers questions were, "Why is it called "Twelfth Night!"

    I replied "Because he wrote it on the Twelfth Night of something for Queen E."

    That's what my teacher told me last year.

    Well that's it.


Millie's into Shakespeare Club big-time. All her. Not about me. This is the idea.

King Duncan's Biography

He lives in the royal palace. His friends are his subjects, advisors, cooks, servants, etc. He eats sheep, chicken, turkey, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, fruits, love apples, vegetables, and French bread. He believes in doing the best for Scotland and his army. He wants to keep his country in a perfect state. He will rises to the utmost to get the best.
Henry, 4th grade

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