|Playing Boy in Henry V -1998|
In high school, The Fall Festival of Shakespeare was the highlight of my school year. Their opening night is tonight and I wish everyone the best of luck!
I'm also participating in NaNo this month. My book is about some of my experiences acting and I wrote this little essay about my favorite moment of The Fall Festival. Part of NaNo is not going back to edit..so please forgive my grammar! It is a work in progress.
If you are in the Berkshires this weekend, Go out and support!
The Fall Festival
I thought I would write about something amazing. The Fall festival of Shakespeare in Lenox, Ma. My old high school stomping ground. Ten high schools do a Shakespeare play. They perform them at their high schools and then they perform them all over one weekend in a marathon! It is non competitive and is a weekend of celebration. I did this all four years of high school. It taught be how to act, about Shakespeare and about my own humanity.
My senior year I played Julia in Two Gentleman of Verona. We did an In-school performance the Friday of the first weekend. In my first scene, Julia is gossiping with her nursemaid Lucetta. “Of all the men that everyday encounter me, which is the worthiest love?” They then name names and discuss each option. The director had told me to point out men in the audience for each name.
The first time we performed for an audience it was at an “in-school” performance. This is always painful because teenagers are generally too cool to laugh and be supportive. They are also being forced to watch this play; it is not their own choosing. When I got out on stage I was secretly scouting for the right guys to pick out. I picked out my math teacher, a jock and my gay boyfriend. No one laughed. No one laughed for the rest of the play. Over the course of the weekend, our parents and friends gently laughed and chuckled. That made me feel a little bit better. And less like a complete loser actor.
When it came time to perform the next weekend at the festival, I was very sad that this was my last year. I wanted to get out of high school and get out of my hometown. But the fall festival was very hard to leave behind. I remember saying this to the costume designer. She said, “Bigger and Better things await you!” If only she knew about Off-Off Broadway.
I was so sad and nervous, but also very excited to perform. I went out onstage. When the time came I pointed out another teen in the front row and the entire theater erupted in laughter. It actual took me a back, which made them laugh even more. That was probably the greatest theater moment of my life. I felt like I was amazing. That is the amazing things about the festival. Actors, directors and crew behind the scenes all come together to support one another. I knew that all these people had my back. That they knew what I was saying and they were ready to laugh.
-By Gillian Hurst 2012