Friday, August 5, 2011

Born to the Throne

It's in the carriage (not the one drawn by four white horses), it's in the voice, and it's in the tilt of the regal head on the long neck. It is deportment.

In the olden days, young girls born into a certain stratum of society attended academies dedicated to teaching etiquette, grooming, fork usage and the proper way to walk.

(When I say "olden days," I mean the eleventh century and before. Dating a knight in shining armor was not to be taken lightly. A light caress of the metal was fine, but anything more might endanger a young woman's reputation.)

Then there are those who just have it. Those who do not need a single class or tutoring of any kind. We refer to this as to the manner born.

Phoebe is one such girl. In her two years of Shakespeare Club, she has played two queens: Lady Macbeth and now Queen Titania. There is simply no other way to cast her.

When she is not onstage, Phoebe awaits her turn with the patient elegance of a royal. Phoebe never whines or displays the bored butt-swivel others do. Phoebe breathes and observes.

When her cue arrives, Phoebe wends her way forward as if maneuvering with a long velvet train. She's dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, but I can almost see her wearing a gown. The crown on her head is made of cardboard, yet she carries it as if it is weighted with real gold and jewels.

Phoebe came to her family, to Shakespeare Club and indeed, to the world, with a lineage that will remain a mystery. A circuitous route brought her from her birth country of Haiti to her current home of Los Angeles. She came to us already a queen and I cannot explain it; I can only marvel.

When Queen Titania is fed up with Oberon and his pushy, manly ways, she bristles and spits words designed to humiliate the King and put him in his place.

Phoebe's Titania snapped her head in Dominick's direction and rattled off her verse with a crisp pleasure, all the while rocking the little changeling baby in her arms. When she'd had enough of his boastful baloney, Titania planted her feet and simply turned her face away, icing Oberon out of her sphere.

Class act. Classy acting. It sizzled every time.

Phoebe is off to middle school next year. At night I lay awake and think about what she could have done with Queen Elizabeth in "Richard III"....Oh, I wish. Alas, the Queen Gertrude she could have given us. I toss and turn imagining her Cleopatra.

Phoebe is born to play these roles and I hope she gets more of them. I pray the world opens its arms and leads our queen to all the center stages she is meant to grace.

I live in a castle but my room is in a hut. My room is the size of a small house. I gave my husband a room that is only ten feet of space. He gets very jealous. I love to go on adventure walks with my fairy. I would always cook. I cooked rice, chicken, corn, vegitables, cookies and fruit. I have many friends but Oberon only has one. He gets jealous I have more than he does in everything. If I got in a fight with him I would make my fairies with him. I would make my faires lock him up in jail for a week. For activity I would play games with my fairys like pass the leave, or opsticle courses.
—Phoebe, 5th grade

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