Thanks for turning a challenging yet exciting project for my recalcitrant 15 year old into a crushing defeat. Assigned to memorize and recite a monologue, my normally at best indifferent to studying child threw himself into memorizing Aragorn’s Not This Day speech from Lord of the Rings. He practiced, I helped coach him – it was so, so much nicer than the normal hand wringing and occasional screaming involved with helping with homework.
Pumped for his performance, he left for school not with his normal shuffle but with Actual Excitement. Actual. Excitement. You know, it takes courage for a 15 year old boy to stand before his peers to perform. As he launched into his performance, you stopped him, saying he could not read the piece because it was not from a play. I am not sure where that communication broke down, but apparently it did. You went on further to tell him it couldn’t be something he had seen before, because he was supposed to read something that he could “make his own”. Because as we all know, only one actor can ever perform a piece, and no other actor can adapt that and “make it his own”. There have never been any part reprised, no adaptations, no actors replaying roles that have already been done.
Feeling shamed, angry, and defeated, my son came home to relate the story. He gets home at 4:15. The alternative you gave him was to That Night memorize a piece from a play in order to get credit. Daunting. I pulled down several plays from the shelf and found a monologue from Richard V that was in the similar vain of inspiring troops to war, wasn’t so overwhelmingly Shakespearean in language and coached him through it as best I could, He was intimidated but worked hard into the night to get er done. Understanding and memorizing a Shakespeare piece in 6 hours is hard for actors. Guess what? My son isn’t an actor!
Well, Little Lady, you truly cemented your Bitch of the Year award by then informing him that it couldn’t be Shakespeare, either, as you already had studied Shakespeare and wanted something contemporary. While clearly this boy somehow missed the details of the assignment, he clearly got the spirit of it, worked hard, got shot down, worked hard, got shot down. What an amazing educational moment. Couldn’t you have let him get through his chosen performance and spoken to him after class to work something out? Could you have handled this any worse? You have made me want to shout out “Break a Leg!” with a whole new intention behind it.
So I leave you with this
“You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!”