It is late afternoon. Katybeth is sitting in her blue Honda van in front of the Chicago Waldorf School, waiting to pick up her tenth grader, Cole. Cole enters the van by flinging open the van door, throwing himself into the car, and slamming the door.
(speaking in a very loud, exasperated voice)
Mom, you are not going to believe this. I cannot believe this.
(startled from her iPhone game of Blocks Classic, Katybeth immediately shows motherly concern at the angst of her son)
I HAVE MORE LINES IN THE PLAY.
(the car drives away fron the Chicago Waldorf school parking lot, and the narrator steps into the spotlight)
Plays at a Waldorf school are a big deal. They are a part of each year’s curriculum, and every student in the class participates. The goal of presenting a play is to unite the class artistically and socially. The different roles in the play are assigned by the teacher, often based on what the teacher feels the student needs to strengthen in himself or herself. So a shy teen might be given a bold, outgoing part, or a boisterous, outgoing teen might be given a sensitive, compassionate part.
If Cole attended a different high school, his thespian career would have been over in eighth grade, and that would have been triple fine with whipped cream and a cherry on top for him. However, at the Waldorf School, he is pushed, pulled, and booted out onto the stage and into the spotlight. While Cole begrudgingly accepts his role in the school play, Katybeth is happy that he is learning and practicing the invaluable skills of speaking and presenting well. When she becomes discouraged at Cole’s lack of enthusiasm, she takes heart in knowing the world will be saved from yet another droning PowerPoint presenter.
(wearily driving the car toward home, knowing her evening just got longer because she will fall victim to practicing lines with Cole, she mutters….)
The drama teacher hates me.
(and then offers, with fake enthusiasm)
Wow, more lines!
(with pain, angst, and heartache)
YES, MORE LINES. WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE MORE LINES? THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY CLASS THAT ASK FOR MORE LINES, BEG FOR MORE LINES. I HATE THIS, I REALLY HATE THIS. IT IS PROBABLY GOING TO RUIN MY LIFE. I AM GOING TO NEED THEATRE THERAPY.
(turning to Cole and using a warm and reassuring motherly tone)
I bet you can learn those lines in under an hour tonight. You have a great memory. We can work on it together.
(wailing with distress)
I HAVE MATH HOMEWORK, I HAVE AN ENGLISH PAPER, I HAVE TO WATCH MY YOUTUBE NEWS VIDEOS. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO LEARN LINES, MORE LINES, SURPRISE LINES. I AM BEING TORTURED. LINE BOARDED.
(feeling her patience ebbing, seeks desperately for a way to distract Cole from his pain and suffering and save her sanity)
Cole, would you feel better if we stopped at Walgreens and I bought you a new highlighter so you can highlight you new lines? Any color you want.
(perks up—he loves highlighters—and replies in a calmer voice)
A new highlighter would be helpful.
(pulls the car into Walgreens and sighs with relief as Cole leaves the car to shop for his new highlighter)
(returns, enters the car, pleased with his yellow highlighter)
Mom, I think I know why I don’t like being in plays and practicing lines.
(turns to look at Cole with a curious expression)
I’m just not into D-R-A-M-A.
(beats her head on the steering wheel)
Could there be a reason the drama teacher chose scenes from Metamorphoses for the tenth grade to present? Scenes that are full of greek angst, tragedy, searching, transformation, consumption, and manic humor?
To be continued… Showtime is in two long weeks.