Monday, May 9, 2011

Bottom's Up: Sam

"I'm curious, Sam. Why didn't you audition for Shakespeare Club last year, when you were in third grade?"

"Well, I did props for Shakespeare Club then."

"Right. And why did you audition this year?"

"Well, my mom thought it would be a good idea and also when I saw 'Macbeth' it looked cool."


Sam will play Nick Bottom in our production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In the pantheon of great comedic characters, Nick Bottom ranks high. He's a grandiose buffoon, a blowhard actor stuffed with unearned confidence, believing himself capable of playing every part. He drives his director nuts, butting in with ideas he has no business contributing.

The television comedy "The Office" grabbed the persona of Nick Bottom and parlayed it into a seven-year success with Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, a modern-day Bottom if there ever were one.

Sam was not my first choice to play our Bottom. I started this year of Shakespeare Club with a different boy in mind for the role until I had the group begin reading the play aloud.

In our early readings, I handed out parts to actors I knew would be cast in other roles. It's a way for kids to get a chance to play different characters.

"Sam, why don't you read Nick Bottom?" I asked and we were off.

Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will do any man's heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make the Duke say, "Let him roar again!"

Sam's voice rang out over all the other children as he read cold off the page with an astute understanding of this irritating idiot, Nick Bottom.

Sam, who can usually be seen on campus with his nose stuffed in a book. Sam, who writes diligently in his journal when given an assignment. Sam, who listens quietly while other actors scream for attention.

One of the four rules of Shakespeare Club is: Have the courage to be silly.

Many great and famous actors are shy people. I would not call Sam a bashful boy but he is serious about his comedy, gets a kick out of this famous clown and is intrepid when it comes to silly.

"Who should be directing 'Pyramus and Thisby'?" I asked Sam.

"Me!" he answered with a thumb jabbed into his chest.

"And who is the best actor with all the good ideas?"

"Me too!" Sam shouted.

This is acting from the inside out. This is the good stuff. This is courage.

"Sam, you're going to be tops as Bottom," I told him at the end of a private rehearsal with Kamili, who plays the director Peter Quince.

Sam smiled at my corny joke and gave a gentle nod.

An actor knows.

Dear Sweet O Sweet Oberon,

You are the love of my life, I love you so, I know I loved Bottom, but I was blinded in thoughs days, now I see that it is you. One last thing as queen of fairys I was thinking do you want to get married. If so just send me a letter and will go from there.

For every yours,
—Kamili, 5th grade


  1. If I were any where NEAR you, I would be there in a nonce!!!


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