The Bard, Field trips and Nail Biting

Each and every year, I embark on a perilous journey.  One that defies all things known and makes the impossible possible.  One that is a black hole with a narrow escape.  One that encompasses magical powers beyond the scope of nature.  What is this odyssey?  Why, it is taking students on field trips to see a Shakespeare play.

This year, I enlisted the help of my trusted friend and confidant Suz.  She and I gathered all of the courage and tenacity we could muster to organize this massive undertaking.  She is the reason I made it through the day.

Let me back up in time and explain the path of the most recent journey we were destined to travel.  It was year 2002, and I was summoned to a grand place in the land of Cleveland known only as The Great Lakes Theater Festival.  From this moment on, I was entranced by their powers.  Enamored by their gently use of The Bard’s great words.  Encased in their sheer talents.  I was, to put it mildly, hooked.  As Juliet would say, “This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”  Yes, indeed.

From then on, I took students to see these incredible works of art each year.  It was a time to develop young minds, and show (not tell) them how important and timeless the plays of Shakespeare really were.  It was mystical.

But not always.  Many times there were alien students among us.  One particular one did the worst thing possible – he tripped an actor.  According to E.T., his legs needed “extra room” so he put them in the aisle.  Bad, bad alien student.  Another Alf-like creature listened to his iPod through Act I, Scene II of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  His excuse?  “I don’t understand what they are saying.”  My response, “We covered it in class.”  One Mork actually fell into a deep slumber during Twelfth Night.   His rebuttal after other students woke him up with furious tapping and shaking?  “The girl is dressed like a guy and it creeped me out.”  Classy.  These are the villains of my days with The Bard.

But, alas, I have held true to my word and provided the non-alien youth with the best gift of all: the gift of live theater.

The cover looks like Twilight meets R&J.

This year’s presentation was Romeo and Juliet.  I was ecstatic for a few reasons.  First, this is actually one in our literature books, and second, I teach it every year.  Double score!  We both got crazy-eyed with happy thoughts and reserved not the usual 40 tickets, but a whopping 80 tickets with visions of Romeo dancing in our heads.

Yikes.  But we had high hopes. Maybe too high as Mercutio states, “True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing by vain fantasy.”

Let me just state that, for the days approaching the trip, it was as if “the mad blood stirring” was a reality.  Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

Finally the big day arrived.  We herded 80 students into two school buses at the blistering early time of 7:35 a.m.  We ventured on the hour and a half bus ride to Cleveland.  We gathered all of the students and promptly got them seated in the theater.  We smiled as we sat down in our seats, breathing a collective sigh of relief.

The set. Taken without a flash before the show began.

Intermission came.  Our students deserved halos for their amazing behavior during the first half of the performance.  Brainvomit40 looked at her watch: 11:39.  The buses had to be back by 2:25 for their routes.  Would the show be finished and we be out the door before 1 p.m.?  Enter nail biting.

Throughout the second half (and I must say half, it was technically Acts III, IV, V), I couldn’t focus.  All I could think about was what was coming next.  Here is a look into my mind:

“OK.  She is getting the sleeping potion.  Finally.  Good.  Now she is going to have a monologue and drink it.  Fine.  Now Romeo is going to find out she died.  OK.  We’re good on time.  Crap.  Romeo still has to fight and kill Paris and there is dialogue.  Darn.  OK, he took care of Paris.  Now the death scene.  Geez.  Totally blanked that the Friar’s so many lines here.  Come on already and bring out the Prince to wrap this up!”

By this time, I have no nails left to speak of.  I would be lying if I didn’t confess that we were about to cheer when Juliet said, “O happy dagger!”

The play ended, and we made it on the buses by 1:06.  We made it back to the school by 2:22.  Whew.  I should have been feeling down because it was over, “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” but instead I was thinking thank goodness this is once a year.

I still love the Bard, and I appreciate the opportunity to showcase how incredible his words come alive in a live performance.  “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.”

To Shakespeare!

Here is another post I wrote about the Bard.  Enjoy!

Hair on Hair

This weekend has been a progressive bad hair day.   Saturday evening we were invited to go to a masquerade ball.  It actually is just a fundraising dinner at the community country club and people dressed pretty and wore masks.  Mine was from my birthplace of New Orleans and was quite festive.  There was a photographer there and pictures were mandatory.  Look, I am not normally camera-shy, but I was having a bad hair night and I just wasn’t into it.  At all.

After the “ball,” we headed home to catch up on some DVR stuff (like this week’s favorite, Grimm), and my phone started to light up like a vacancy sign at Myrtle Beach.  Plink, plink, plink.  I grabbed it, muttering about who would be texting me so late, and then I realized: someone was Facebook tagging me in the pictures from the event.  Bad hair and all.  Super.

Side note:  I am very particular about the pictures of me that go on Facebook.  It is not that I am hiding my identity or true self, it is just that I like to be the one to tag myself.  It is just a thing I have.  Sometimes it feels like Facebook is a little TMI instead of being something that I can control.  Also, the person who tagged me in all of the pictures WASN’T EVEN AT THE FUNCTION.  Creepy.

Truth is, I am growing out my hair for Locks of Love.  However, I am a horrible hair stylist.  I did not pass Go or Collect 500 dollars in the school of how to do my own hair.  Thank goodness it is naturally wavy because I really don’t have to do much to it.  For a formal function, though, I am (and was last night) at a loss.

Sunday, the hair issue continued.  Mine ended up in a loose, twisty pony tail and stayed that way all the way up to Cleveland.  We are season ticket holders for the Broadway Series of shows in Cleveland at Playhouse Square and today’s show was the Broadway revival of Hair.  How fitting.

The show was what I expected – peace, love, happiness, war protests and “long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, down to there, hair.”  There is a thing about this show.  Historically, it has a nude scene in it.  Totally naked, not PG, not PG-13, but nude as the day they were born naked.  I wondered, would Hair in Cleveland be like Hair in NYC?  Would Hair show all the hair?  Would Hair take it to that level in Cleveland during a Sunday matinée?  Now, I have seen shows that sported hair – in New York, but never in Cleveland.  So, I was curious.  Was Hair going to be all that Hair is traditionally supposed to be?  Well, now that I have piqued (or peaked – wink wink) interest, I will tell you.  In a moment.  I need to savor this second.  OK.  Time’s up.

Yes the cast of Hair bared all.  For a brief moment, under very low, blue-tinted lighting, they did drop trousers.  And then it was over.  Pretty anti-climatic (no pun intended) leaving me to wonder if it was really all there.  Hair.

When I got home, I took my hair out of the pony, put my Playbill away and placed my mask in the van to take to school and hang up on my bulletin board (because, like doing my hair, I stink at decorating bulletin boards).  I passed a mirror and thought, my hair isn’t too bad at all.  Like a masquerade, my hair can be something to hide behind, but, like the musical Hair, it is also part of my identity.  So I will just let it go.  For now.

“Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair.”

One of the masks from the "Ball of Bad Hair."

Peace, love and let the sunshine in.