Friday, March 18, 2011

What's the Story, Morning Glory?



I felt terrible there wasn't room for every eager child who auditioned for The Shakespeare Club. So terrible that I started a second program for a small group of non-acting kids.

On Wednesdays, after school, I meet for two hours with The Shakespeare Club.

On Wednesdays, at lunch, I meet with a group I call the Plot People.

Not the "Pod People" — I try to avoid those as much as possible — these kids are much different.

My idea was for a kind of pint-sized book club to study the story of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." These kids could be the point persons in their classrooms as teachers prepared their students before the May 26 performances.

I'm assuming A LOT. I'm assuming that the Teacher's Prep Kit I deliver to each teacher actually gets used, and that anyone cares about kids and Shakespeare.

In any case, I joined my circle of Plot People in the library for our inaugural meeting.

Two boys and five girls. A cross-section from the third-, fourth- and fifth grades.

They opened their lunches, I handed out fresh, brightly colored journals with newly sharpened pencils and we started with an overview of William Shakespeare, the man and his times.

By week two, I'd lost the two boys and one girl.

By week three, I'd replaced that girl with another fourth-grader and now had a regular group of five girls. Every week, I look forward to our time together. In the middle of our table, I place a bucket of oatmeal-raisin cookies to go along with their meals.

Two of the girls eat the cafeteria's offerings, which involve items like chocolate milk, spaghetti and a piece of fruit.

One girl brings spears of grilled tofu or rounds of sushi.

Another girl has her fingers dyed bright orange from dipping into a bag of Red Hot Cheetos. She's extremely careful not to mar her Plot People paperwork by licking every digit clean, one by one.

I do not eat at these meetings.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
I am a groundling. I've saw many plays and lost lots of fruit but I dont throw fuirt on Shakesperes plays. There magnifacint! the comady, love and war. I was amased how the theater burned down. I went to his funaral and saw the sky go dark and the flowers fall off there stemes. I wish the lord will exsepet the very great mans soul.
Henry, 5th grade

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