Monday, November 22, 2010

An Interview: Phoebe

mel: Let's start with you telling me your name, your age and what part you played.

phoebe: My name is Phoebe, I am ten, almost eleven....My birthday is in October and I played Lady Macbeth.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor, Phoebe? last year that came up to my mind.

What do you think you learned about yourself in Shakespeare Club?

That I don't have to be shy in front of an audience. And like, when you have lines, you don't only have to memorize them...well, you have to memorize them...but you don't just read[she bounces up and down in her seat]...well, you have to actually mean what you say.

What did you think about Lady Macbeth, as a character?

I think she's very mischievous, she gets into a lot of stuff that is, like, not so great. She doesn't have a lot of good advice.

What do you think the audience should think of "Macbeth"?

That he shouldn't be following what I'm saying.

What do you think the audience should learn about their own lives in seeing "Macbeth"?

[Phoebe crosses her arms and has a good long think] That you can't always do something bad to get what you want 'cause at the end it might end up being, like, terrible. Like me, I died just because of my hands. [holds her hands face-up and looks at them] To me it was a big thing but to others it might be like, whatever. Like she has blood on her hands, whatever.

What would you say to other kids who aren't sure about auditioning for Shakespeare Club? Kids who might say, "Oh Phoebe, I don't know..."?

Well, it's fun 'cause you, like, you do writing about, you can just free-write but she gives you something to write about. And I would say it's fun being onstage.

And how did you feel when it was over?

I feel great. Like, oh my God, I achieved my goal. [big smile]

What was your goal?

To be an actor and to do a play.

Tell me about yourself. You came to this country speaking only Creole and now you're speaking big, fat Shakespearean English.

Okay, well, like, I was born in Haiti. Natalie kinda lived with me but didn't exactly. There were two separate houses. I lived on the bottom part and she lived on the top. There were stairs to go up to her house. Her mom and dad died at some point. Then she came to live with us. And our aunt was going to take us to an orphanage. But when we got there, we didn't say anything, we just sat there. All the girls sleep in a room and all boys sleep in a room and a nanny sleeps in the room.

In 2005 my parents in Illinois wanted to see how I was and how I looked like. So they came and they brought me a doll. I loved that doll. But one day Natalie got jealous and threw the doll and I was crying to death. But Natalie was laughing. When they took me, they took me to a hotel. I was talking to them in Creole but they didn't know anything I was saying. After that I went swimming but I didn't know how to swim, really. I could doggie-paddle, that was all.

And then when I was six and a half they took me home but when I was at the airport I did not know anything that was going on. It was freaky when I landed in Illinois. I saw all these people and I thought, "Where am I?" And they brought me some clothes and stuff. Then I met my brothers and my sister and my aunts and uncles and I met my grandparents. My brother was, I think, seven and another one who was five and one who was two and my sister but she was only like half a year old.

And then like my mom opened my hair but she didn't know how to put it back, so I, like, braided it myself. [she illustrates by fingering her hair] I put it in a fancy style, I don't know how. It was in zigzag cornrows [giggles] but now I don't know how to do that. And then like I stayed in Illinois for two years but I was missing Natalie and I told my mom that.

Well she asked me what was wrong 'cause I was getting in a lot of trouble. She said I could visit her in the summer and I spoke a little Creole still but not that much. I came back and she asked me how it was and would I like to live there. And I said that it was difficult but then I said yes and I was almost nine.

What was that like leaving Illinois and coming to a new family in Los Angeles?

I brought Celia and Natalie and Mariah these puppy-shaped purses and I gave them and then we started playing with them but I don't know how we got used to each other but I was fine with it.

And all four of you were in Shakespeare Club this year.

[Phoebe laughs and nods her head] This was funny: I think it was on Sunday and I was having cereal and I asked Celia to pass me, well, the milk and I forgot and said, "Could you pass me that white stuff?" And our dad said, "You're in Shakespeare and you don't know what that white stuff is?"

I want to have a life of adventure. I would like to go on many different adventures. Some day I will want to go and sleep in a forest next to a tiger. I would want that because I fined tigers interesting. At night I would poke it with a stick. The tiger will make so much nosie a cheata will come and eat the tiger. I would be watching this whole scene. I want to go to Eypt and see a primad. I want to go in one. I would love to study about it. It have exactly 600 steps, and after we have 200 more steps to go on.
—Phoebe, 4th grade

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