Was I going to do the class?
Yeah, I guess. That’s perfect. I was just thinking of acting.
So when school started, I chose drama as my solitary elective. When I learned the story of the Tempest, and the characters which reside in Shakespeare’s rich language, I was attracted to three of them: Antonio, the conniving, snide, and murderous brother of the “wronged Duke of Milan”, because I was intrigued by the evil factor – a cynical deliciousness that appealed to me; Caliban, who was the brutal and loud slave of that “wronged Duke of Milan”, because that he was so different from me: raucous and disloyal, and that maybe I could become an entirely separate person (or thing) than I am; or Trinculo, the comical and somewhat awkward jester, who’s character only interested me because of his comedic stupidity.
However, none of these roles would I claim as my own. My given role was Ferdinand, the prince of Naples and son of the King Alonso. To put it simply, Ferdinand was the Romeo of The Tempest – a fluffy character added to the play only as a love interest. I was utterly dismayed. I did not enjoy being approached with this role and in the early stages of my line memorization, I was almost sullen, and slightly despondent.
I attempted several times to “become my character” and found that I honestly disliked him. I simply could not push past me and become him. We were two different souls, Ferdinand and I, and I only met him at the end of the day at drama class. Problems just pulsed through his role – problems that were met only with questions. The largest of which was, “What will my ever-mocking friends say?” Cheesy? Maybe, but it wasn’t a question to be undermined. I was the star-crossed lover. I was the lover-boy. All of my lines were besieged with chivalrous love.
It wasn’t until late in November (I knew all my lines, but I was never overwhelmingly enthusiastic about them. Never.) that I realized that I wasn’t going to perform my role like a loser. In short, I wasn’t going to do it grudgingly and I was going to have to let Ferdinand in and “do the best [I] could do with what is given to [me]”.
It was hard. I found myself admiring other classmate’s lines and feeling something I was missing in Ferdinand, being so focused on either despising him or drilling him into my reluctant brain. But I wanted to love it.
So I made a resolve. Ferdinand was going to help me out, and, slowly, he did. We started to abide each other and made a flimsy truce. We were going to do this on December 14th and December 17th: then we were done and we could finally part ways and be rid of each other. After that I became a little more committed to Ferdinand. I realized him. He realized me. We could do this. So we’re going to do it. We might not be best buddies, but we’re trying.
I will probably always remember Ferdinand. And I will always remember my first theatrical introduction to Shakespeare as The Tempest. I’m going to remember it in a good light and I’m going to remember that it was a great time trying to reason, grapple, battle, conquer, and eventually ally with Ferdinand. Nevertheless, there’s a rumor that next semester the drama class is going to do a TV show: I somehow hope I get the role of serial killer. Just kidding.