“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been depos’d, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d;
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping kill’d;
All murdered – for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps Death his court: and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp;
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchize, be fear’d, and kill with looks;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit –
As if this flesh, which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable – and, humour’d thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and – farewell king!”
Then: applause! I did this speech for the performing part of our course. We had to memorize a passage and perform it in front of the class. My hollow crown was simply a crown of flowers that I had bought previously. I sat down (even though people had told me not to because it’d be boring) and said, “For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
Everybody was silent and almost in awe. I was in awe of myself because I managed such a perfect delivery – my voice wavered and I was panicking because I was starting to feel the pressure that Richard II was feeling. Only seven people got votes for the best performance and, even though I didn’t win because one girl sang a song and she won by default, I was one of the people who got votes. Because the more I spoke, the more I felt like crying and the more I resented the crown that I had taken off of my head and had placed in my lap. And it just made me think: God, I love acting! And, most of all, I love acting out Shakespeare.
I was told that I had stage presence, a great voice for acting and all sorts of lovely compliments that I brushed off.
But I’m so happy that I managed to do it. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to give Richard II the performance he deserved, scared little thing he is, but I did. It just got to the point where I surprised myself – how was I suddenly feeling so resentful of my crown of flowers and how was I suddenly filled with fear? I kept thinking, Henry IV is going to kill me, I know it.
It wasn’t that I was scared of being up in front of people – I’ve done stage acting before. I don’t care about people watching me. It just came down to the fact that I finally found what my drama class was always yelling about: my inner creative self or whatever. It sounds cheesy, but it was so exhilarating!
And I’m just so glad.