Friday, December 10, 2010

Gettin' Nervy



"Okay, who here is a teensy bit more nervous about tonight's performance?"

I had stopped the hilarious movie "A Bug's Life" near, but not at, the end because we needed to prepare for our final "Macbeth."

Sometimes when I ask questions of a confessional nature, the kids share glances to see who will go first.

"Well, I'm not so nervous but maybe I'm sorta sad 'cause then it will be over," Oliver offered.

"Yup, I get that and we'll spend some time talking about that at our wrap party next week. Have any of you wrestled with butterflies today?"

Hands went up. Butterflies in the tum — we all get that.

"Here's what I want you to know about being an actor and being nervous. It means that you care."

Blink, blink.

"Nervousness is a sign that you care about giving your best. I would be nervous if you weren't nervous. And seriously, very famous actors get nervous. I knew an actress once who won an Academy Award — the Oscar — and when she did a Shakespeare play she threw up every night before going onstage."

"She lost her cookies?!" Mark cried out.

"Yes she did, but that won't be happening here because we're going to take a few minutes to focus and remember that even though you may be a little scared, you know what you're doing, you know your job onstage, and all you have to do is look at each other, talk for real to each other...and the nerves will not win."

"She lost her cookies." This made a few more rounds with gales of giggles because Mark liked saying it over and over.

"Hands on your lap, feet on the floor and eyes closed. Big breath...hold it, hold it, hold and let it go....Again...."

We took a few big breaths together.

"Keep your eyes closed and repeat after me: My mind is calm."

My mind is calm.

"My body is ready."

My body is ready.

"I know what to do."

I know what to do.

"Everything is fine."

Everything is fine.

We said that three times.

"Open your eyes."

They did.

"You're going to follow me in a line into the auditorium. You're going to go onstage and take your places. And I promise you'll have your best show. Ever. Enjoy it."

They lined up, they followed and when we entered the auditorium, where pre-show music rocked, folks chatted and empty seats were few, I had an enormous rush of pride.

The looks on those adult faces...astonishment.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I loved Shakespeare Club because I found out I'm good at acting. I think.

I will miss is Shakespeare Club is, acting, Ms. Rachel and Ms. Ryane. I will miss doing shows. But…..the good part is I can adition! It is hard to leave everyone and being on stage. I wish every Wednesday in my whole life…Ms. Ryane and Ms. Rachel and everybody in Shakespeare Club to do more and more plays till I grow up. When I grow up I want to do grown up Shakespeare plays. I will do camp and it will be the same thing. I was insulted when my cusin said, "I hate Shakespeare." That day I punched him in the nose.
Millie, 3rd grade

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