Friday, October 15, 2010

Invited Dress

Garth as Banquo.

"Thank you all for being here this morning," I addressed half the school's population. "You are a special audience because you are our very first audience. In fact, this performance is called an 'invited dress rehearsal' because this is the first time The Shakespeare Club is going to perform 'Macbeth' with lights and sound, and you."

I sat on risers in front of the stage, holding a microphone and looking over the full house. The tiniest of kids sat close up. Their eyes were not on me. They scanned the "big kids" onstage and confirmed my theory that kids love to watch kids.

"Here's what I'm looking for today," I droned on. "The best audience. I'm wondering if that might be you. The actors are ready and now it's your turn to be ready. It's your job to watch, listen and follow the story of how Macbeth becomes King and his wife becomes Queen. A good audience doesn't talk during the play, or get up and walk around, or call out to the actors onstage. Do you think you can be the best?"


"Not sure I heard that. Do you really think you can be the best audience?"


"Excellent. Here we go. Every Shakespeare Club meeting starts with our mottos. The actors will do that first, then you should listen for the music and the play will start."

I looked up to the ashen-faced cast, raised my hands and they stood. I curled my fingers up and they spoke:

"We are The Shakespeare Club.
We help each other.
We share with each other.
We honor the works of William Shakespeare.
If I can do Shakespeare, I can do anything!"

I flattened my palms face down, they sat and I walked away to join the audience and take notes.

One of the narrator's microphones wasn't working because a certain narrator touched the button when she shouldn't have. Oh well. A certain Lady Macbeth lost all courage and appeared to have taken on the role of Banquo's ghost. Ah, it happens. A certain courtier refused to kneel to the king and would continue her protest for all four performances. A rebel through and through.

And the smallest to the tallest watched in awe. This is what kids can do.

Mary (Ross) & Dominick (Macduff).

The time in my life I wished for revenge is when Macbeth killed me in the play. I was so mad I would like to behead him and see the blude fall out.
—Garth, 4th grade

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