Friday, February 18, 2011

No Sleep for the Wicked



After a full day of auditions, I left the school both heartened and downcast. More kids showed up this year than ever before, and that was brilliant. They'd been inspired by "Macbeth," they wanted to know about the Elizabethans and William Shakespeare, and they wanted to act in his plays. Things simply couldn't be any better....

This is what I told myself as I tossed and turned in the middle of the night. Things simply couldn't be any better....

Yes, they could. Things could be a lot better if my husband and I were floating on Hawaiian waves sipping Mai Tais. Or if we owned in a pied-รก-terre in New York City. Or IF I WERE ASLEEP.

In last year's Shakespeare Club, I had a bunch of fourth-graders. This meant I would have ten fifth-graders this year because it's their last chance and they're good examples to the newer members and they know the ropes and they'll lead the way...zzzzz.

Bolt awake. How do I tell the little ones who didn't get in this year? I heard from a mother that her daughter wept uncontrollably for twenty minutes when she got the letter saying, Try again next year.

Hey, pass the tissues, kid. Don't hog the box, ya got me cryin' too.

I received a letter from a fourth-grader who was in the club last year but wasn't chosen this year, and her heartbreak was all over the page, along with curlicues and smudged-up bits.

The week after auditions, I went back to the school and met privately with many of the not chosen this year.

"I know you wanted to be in The Shakespeare Club and I get that you're disappointed. Do you want to tell me more about that?"

"Well...yes, I do." She cast her dark eight-year-old eyes over the playground in search of words. "It's just that I love acting so much and I cried quite a lot because I love acting so much and I really, really want to be in Shakespeare."

It's not like I didn't understand her. I did and I do. She was exactly me in third grade.

"Here's the deal. I just didn't have enough room for everyone and I had to balance third-graders and a few fourth-graders and a whole bunch of fifth-graders and then also boys as well as girls...you see what I mean. I did want you but I think we'll see each other in auditions next year."

"Yeah."

"Here's what else, I'll be around the school a lot in the new year and when you see me and have something acting-wise that you'd like to chat about, I'll make myself available to you. You just get my attention, say, 'Ms. Ryane, can we talk?' And we will."

"Okay."

I slept exactly five hours that whole week. I can't do Shakespeare Club now — I'm exhausted.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I want to be the Shakespear club because I would like to learn the cultre of William Shakespear. What I learned about William Shakespear was he got married when he was 18. He would have to get up early and go to school. He died on his birthday April 23 1564 he was born.
—Sabrina, 4th grade

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