Monday, January 31, 2011

Party!


We are in Hollywood, after all, and one thing Hollywood knows how to do is PARTY!

The Shakespeare Club had a final meeting on a Wednesday in June to celebrate with a wrap party.

"What do mean, Ms. Ryane? What is that that thing you said....Like will we be dancing and having rap music or what?"

"No, no this is different kind of rap." I wrote it on a piece of paper. "See, wrap with a W. In Hollywood when actors finish making a movie they have a 'wrap party,' which means they're wrapping it up. Get it?"

Not so much, but the important word was PARTY! And they were all over that.

We met up back in our rehearsal classroom, Room 39. I had arranged the tables into a horseshoe and at each child's spot was a freshly sharpened pencil, their journal, a juice box and a paper dish of chips.

Not a single kid was missing from party day. They roared in, found their places and chatted loudly.

"Okay, watch the hand," I held my hand up and made a closing sign with my fingers until silence reigned. Then I turned my palms skyward and they stood. That's all I had to do and they recited their mottos.

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!


Another year down and I was getting all teary. Suck it up.

"Okay, we're going to have final journal writing. I'd like you to look to the front of your journals and see what you wrote when you wanted to be in Shakespeare Club and what your goals for the year were. And then write about what you learned, or especially liked, or what you will miss."

They got to work and I donned my airline hostess personality and delivered gooey cupcakes and pretzels and little oranges. Then I walked around with a trash can. They kept writing.

A lady entered the room and sat over on the side. Rachel went to greet her.

Later I whispered to Rachel, "Who is that?"

"Garth's mom."

"Ahnh."

Earlier in the year, Garth's mom was very angry with me. We shared a bad phone call at the end of which she hung up on me. Garth had an accident in one of our meetings and she was upset that it happened and blamed my actions. I felt awful about the whole thing. We had not spoken since.

Garth's father, on the performance night, gushed over his kid's work and the program, but his mom didn't come near me.

After journal writing the children stood center and shared their writing.

"You all have families at home. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and so on, right?

"Right, Ms. Ryane," Amaya answered, "and don't forget my aunties."

"Okay, good. Here's what also happened this year and what happens every time theatre people get together to do a play: They make a new family. Look around you in this room. You have become like brothers and sisters to each other. Remember when you did the play and neither I nor Ms. Rachel went up onstage if there was a problem?"

"Oh yeah!" called Oliver. "We had to fix stuff ourselves."

I pulled a television around front and they gathered in a bunch on the floor to watch their favorite Shakespeare-themed Simpsons episodes. They hooted and laughed and acted like a big crazy family.

Garth's mom drifted over to his spot at the table and ate his abandoned snacks. I offered her a bottle of water to wash the salty treats down. She took the bottle. She never said a word to me.

The kids, Rachel and I made a final circle and said good-bye.

Families, right? Takes all kinds.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I will miss the accotrs and Derectors and the sounds and lites.
Lizzie, 4th grade

I been in Shakespeare Club for 2 years and it is amazing! I love the experience. I'm going to miss everything! From auditioning to the perfromence. I will miss Oliver and Garth. I will miss a lot.
Henry, 4th grade

It was all the things I thought it would be because it was fun and hard work. I thought Shakespeare club was much more fun that I thought it would be. I will miss doing a big play and Ms. Ryan and miss acting
Chloe, 4th grade

I will miss the props. I will miss the people who are leavind.
Mark, 4th grade

I will miss my buddy the most. I will miss everyone in the Shakespeare Club over the vacation because this was my third and last year at The Shakespeare Club. It was the best.
Darby, 5th grade

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