Friday, September 2, 2011

Holding On

Every year, as Performance Day nears, I give the kids a reminder.

"When you're onstage, you have all the power. Grown-ups will have to sit up, be quiet and listen to you. Your teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins and fellow students will not be texting. They will be watching and listening. To you."

It's worth it every year to see their faces as I deliver this news. Eyes widen and a surge of giddiness bubbles up.

"Most people coming will not know this story or these characters. It's up to each of you to make that clear."

And the fear arrives. Squiggly lines form on their brows as a trace of worry sets in.

"Many people will be seeing theatre for the very first time in their whole lives. What will they think, I wonder?"

That we're awesome! Dominick calls out, full of juice.

"Well, I certainly hope so. Because if they don't, they may never see another play ever and that would be sad, right?"

Right, sad. A few heads nod up and down as they ponder that.

On Performance Day, after we'd done warm-ups and as they stood in line ready to enter the auditorium, I walked by each child and stopped.

"Would you like a handful of power?" I asked.

Every single kid nodded and held a palm out.

And I placed a bunch of power into each hand. They closed their fingers tight and we connected, eye to eye, to seal the deal.

Oliver held out both hands to me.

"You need a double dose?" I asked.

Yes, he whispered and got two fists full.


Dear William Shakespear it is I queen Alisabeth. Thank you for all the plays you wrote me. Thou that I loved that thou worked so hard bringing up these plays on your own I am proud of you.

The sky is blue wene you are here!

The ground is gray now, heres my love for you William!

Happy Valintines!
—Lizzie, 5th grade

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