MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SCARE
What was Shakespeare thinking? Some young lover pretends to die. But no one tells that it is pretend. Then the boyfriend really dies. Girlfriend sees and she dies. Yikes. So I plodded on rehearsing my lines for Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was Thisbe in the play within the play. And yes I was part of the forlorn lovers carousel. A lion had to pounce on me and bloody my cape and leave it in the woods. My boyfriend would recognize it as mine and out of despair, kill himself. Not like a cowboy but with a soliloquy and much ado about something.
The lion in our High school production had tiny eyes that looked that way because her glasses were so thick. She also wore a lion mask. We literally had to guide her on stage. She was to blindly pounce on me and pull off my cape with a lot of growling. That was the idea.
The big day came. It was our first performance. A newspaper reporter was there. This was huge for all us budding thespians.
Suddenly it was my big scene. I was dressed in a flowing gown. It ‘flowed’ six inches over my shoes. The girl who wore it the previous year was six feet. I was a whole foot shorter. I sighed and gripped a bunch of skirt in my fist and walked on stage.
It was the matinee. I saw the sea of faces looking up. Our director pushed lion into the forest. I was center stage. I felt the pull as my cape was taken. I heard the roars. Not just lion roars. Then I felt cold.
I looked down my dress was in my hands. I had been disrobed. Those roars were from the audience. A whole row of boys on the back had finally taken interest in a Shakespearean play.
N.K. Wagner is the publisher and Executive Editor of Page & Spine.