Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Things First

I awoke on our performance day with a rush in my heart and the smell of fresh-brewed java wafting in from the kitchen. I'd set the coffeemaker timer for six-thirty and the alarm clock for six forty-five. I needed neither since my heart bounced my system into action at five-thirty.

This was the day. The day of days after months of hard, often frustrating, effort. The culmination of exploration and hilarity, misgivings and cajoling.

This was not my day, or any adult's day. This was to be their day, first and foremost, for good or bad. It was to be their day.

Over the five months I meet with Shakespeare Club, I have thirty-six hours to get their bodies, minds and hearts ready for this day. Thirty-six measly hours to teach focus, yoga, iambic verse, Elizabethan history, vocal clarity, character, plot, dance, swordplay...and then I have to direct them in a production.

Today would be nothing less than a miracle to pull off, and yet here I was, sipping eye-popping caffeine and reminding myself that it's about the learning.

Knowledge comes out of mishap and stumble. Confidence is birthed in the acts of falling down and getting back up. Whatever happened today, as this cast and crew attempted four performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," it was finally their opportunity for education and self-assuredness.

This day was not about my pride, my success, or my glory in their accomplishments. With that reminder I poured another cup, gulped, showered and revved up the car.

First up: counting out our green Shakespeare Club T-shirts and match sizes to appropriate kids. Two by two they would be sent to the restrooms to change into said T-shirts. Second up: settling their jangled nerves with a short meditation and sun salutation. Third up: having them repeat:

My mind is calm
My body is ready
I know what to do
Everything's fine...

Because it would be, it will be....Today's the day we have waited for.

I wanted to be in Shakespeare club because I really like to act. And I want to learn about Shakespeare because I think he is really interesting.

Today I learned that Shakespeare was married on 1582, and he was born April-23-1564 and he died on April-23-1616 and so he died on his date of birth.
—Carina, 3rd grade

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