Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rosie played Titania -- she was awesome, of course

In the 7th grade, Rosie played Titania for the annual class play.

I talked her dad into coming see her as Titania. I had asked him a gagillion times to come see her, indicating my willingness to bypass her court-appointed attorney/guardian-ad-litem. The guardian-ad-litem was supposed to approve all visits and the guardian said they had to have some therapy together before she'd let her dad visit her. The guardian-ad-litem forbid Rosie's father from being alone with her but I knew that Rosie needed her dad. I regularly offered to arrange visits.  I also used to write to her other relatives in his family and offer to pay to fly her to visit them. No one ever acknowledged my offers.I was surprised when her father showed up for Titania. Surprised, grateful and pleased. She needed her dad.

She played Titania with a British accent. No one told her to. One of the teachers asked her why she chose to go with a British accent. She shrugged and said 'it just felt right'.  It was charming.

With no school budget for costumes, it was up to parents to rig the actors. We shopped a lot for Titania's costume. We chose a soft pink and even softer, faint yellow pale paisley print, a dress with very plain lines. Then we attached a couple yards of shimmering gauzy fabric whose color was 'irridescent'. It was sorta white but it shimmered and picked up all colors because of the metallic shimmer. Although the dress was plain, whenever Titania moved, an ethereal cape of that shimmering irridescence followed her. Probably not the most ingenius costume ever invented but for a low-budget 7th grade play, I was proud of it. And she was gorgeous. She's always gorgeous.

Another parent in the class had taken charge of rehearsing with all the girls who were generic fairies. This mom was a take-charge bossy gal. We rented the small theater in the unused public school next door to our school for the play but this mother traipsed over there for her fairy rehearsals and we got charged $400 in extra rent for the rehearsal time, which had not been part of our rental agreement. She had just assumed she could use the space lah di dah. As soon as she saw Rosie's shimmery fairy cape, she went out and bought the same fabric for all the girls. She was jealous that Rosie was cast as Titania and her daughter only got to be Hermia. Hermia wasn't a fairy so no shimmer for her!! but that mom personally spent her own money to give all the other girls shimmery capes because she was jealous of Rosie's glow. Only she made tiny capes, because the fabric was expensive.  Our fairy cape was a yard and  half long and had cost about $15, in 1995. Rosie was the fairy queen and my daughter. It made sense to splurge on her fairy queen cape. The other girls got short capes that were barely noticeable.  Queen Titania was supposed to be a fairy queen so of course she should have had the most regal, most shimmering cape.

The best way to know Shakespeare's plays it to see the same plays performed again and again by children in good schools like Waldorf.  Deep community grows in a Waldorf school so I loved all the children in all the classes, all the plays. Listening to a child I love recite lines from The Twelfth Night revealed the meaning behind the words more than any other experience I have had watching Shakepeare plays, and I have watched many professional productions.

Of course, listening to my daughter memorize her major roles, for she always had a lead in any class play, even in college, helped me understand Shakespeare. She tended to memorize the entire play, as, perhaps, actors often do. It makes sense. If you spend months preparing to perform a play, you get to know that piece of art in an embodied way. The actors, even child actors, love their colleagues on stage and their friends in class. Such actors listen deeply. And loving adults in orbit around the children listen and love deeply too.

I wonder if Rosie still remembers all the lovely things she memorized in her acting career.