Shakespeare once described love like this; ”Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste. Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste. And therefore is Love said to be a child, because in choice he is so oft beguiled.”
I can tell you this much, if William had lived in the 21’st century, he wouldn’t even had bothered to buy the typewriter. Love stinks. I know it. Joan Jet, the artist behind the actual song “Love stinks”, know it. And O.J Simpson’s wife ought to know it. I’ll bet she turns over in her grave every time she hear “All you need is love”.
It all started when my school decided to put up a play. “To present our school in a more artistic way”, if I quote our dear principal correctly. Surely enough, my instincts told me this could be a valuable experience to have on my record. “Tom Prinze: Leading actor”. Definitely, could like the sound of that. Bet Yale could appreciate that too. On the other hand, you have the public humiliation. Yale? Or humiliation? A slight sigh escaped my friend Carrie’s lips. “It’s not nude posing you know. As long as you stand upright and smile, they will applaud. You’re safe”. I signed up.
On the first briefing, we were told that the play chosen was “A midsummernights dream” by the one and only, William Shakespeare. Great. The only man to have written without commas. At least, that’s what it felt like every time I tried to read his work. Three pages per sentence.
Audition. This was the hard part. Fortunately, Carrie had helped me find this great text from “Romeo & Juliet” and I felt well prepared.
“Tooom Prinze! You’re next! Hah! Seems you already have your title boy!” I guess by title, he referred to my last name. Funny. Really funny. Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I hear that… Well, then I actually would have one nickel. I got on stage ready to make the best performance in history of man. Then SHE walked in the room. Let me explain the capital S, H and E. She was the most beautiful creature I had seen in whole my life. She didn’t walk. She floated. She had this thin, almost fragile silk dress. Her blonde hair were dancing around her deep blue eyes. Her smile stole my mind. Literally. My head was as empty as a McDonalds restaurant in fat-camp. “Hi! I’m Grace. I’m playing the part of Hermia. Reading for the role as Lysander?” Lysander? Reading? I could hardly remember my own name. How could I answer? I took the easy way out. “Yes”. The evaluator were beginning to loose his patient, temper and apparently, glasses. He recovered them, put them on his head, and started to look for them again. “ Shall we begin? Mr. Glass seems impatient today.” If I had been able to speak, I would have made a great joke right there and then about glasses and Mr. Glass. I would. But I couldn’t. That’s how Tim Burton ended up as Lysander, and I ended up as horse number three. And that brings us up to date.
If you can think of a great way to impress a girl wearing a horses ass, let me know.
Didn’t think so. Even Carrie feel sorry for me know. She never feel sorry for anyone. Premiere is next, can’t blame me for being nervous. Although I only have one line, or not so much a line as a sound, I still feel a strong sense of stage fright. I would have thrown away my costume and focused on my homework a long time ago, if it hadn’t been for Grace. Grace. She really lives up to her name. More than you can say about me.
I have really developed a strong hate against Tim Burton. I don’t know whether I can blame it on his personality or on the fact that he plays Grace’s boyfriend in the play. I’m rooting for the first one. But seeing him kiss her at every rehearsal must have something to do with it. And I feared this rehearsal would be no different. Tim is all over her, and the worst part is really that she seems to enjoy it. How can my feelings for Grace remain while I know she will never fall for me? The dialogue started. First act. Lysander and Hermia. Quite ironic actually. To sum up the plot of the play; Hermia and Lysander are in love, and flee to the woods in the hope of getting married. Unfortunately, Demetrius, who is also in love with Hermia, follows. Helena who are in love with Demetrius, keeps up the chase. Then something about elves and magic. Now, it is quite obvious that Grace fit the role of Hermia, and I have to painfully admit that Tim matches the role of Lysander quite well too. If I were to be Demetrius in this amusing setting, where was my Helena? Who is chasing me? No one. Grace started to read. Slow.
“If then true lovers have been ever crossed, It stands as an edict in destiny. Then let us teach our trial patience, because it is a customary cross, as due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs, wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers”. Whenever Grace is on stage speaking, the whole room starts to spin. The stage turns into nature, Grace into Hermia and worries into passion. It feels like she talks directly to me. It doesn’t matter that she looks at Lysander, or that my face is in a mouldy, old moth-eaten horse. The setting is all wrong, but everything feels right. When she speaks. When Grace turns into Hermia. Carrie had been blessed with the role of Helena. No wonder, she loves Shakespeare. She is also a natural on stage. Me and Carrie had been friends forever. She had told me about girls, and I had told her how the boys looked in the shower. A fairly good deal. Carrie read her part with great interpretation. Call you me fair? That fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair! Your eyes are lode-stars. Your tongue's sweet air is more tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear. My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye. My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated. The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art. You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
She was great. Everybody thought so. This was the last rehearsal before the premiere, so everything had to fit. Including my costume. Which it didn’t. Slight panic. The funny-looking costume designer came running to help me. Being stabbed with nails really helped me. The costume were now fitting me, but the panic wouldn’t let go. I can’t just drop out now. The people from Yale needs to see Shakespeare on my record. Hermia, I mean Grace, needs to see me in fifth act saying my best “Hiaaay” ever. I wont let them down. I can’t..
Glitter, spotlights and makeup everywhere. In a few hours, the most tragically comedy will play its way into the eyes and ears of the audience at Rigdemont High. People are already starting to arrive. Grace seems so calm and together. I don’t know how she does it. She flirts with Tim and giggles every time he forget his lines. The word has it they are now an item. And after this night, the doubt will be gone. They really light up each other on stage. Everyone will see it. Including me. I need comforting. Carrie comes over to me. “Hi horsy! Brought you a little something to help you get threw this dreadful night”. “Dreadful? I may going to be a challenge, but I won’t say dreadful”.
“Your parents are here. And they brought a video camera”. Ok. I were right. It’s not going to be dreadful. It will be worse than that. The gift was a little plastic horse with the initials T.P on its but. The gift is great, but I still cant forget Grace. I told Carrie. “Cant you understand she doesn’t want you? Why dream of the impossible if you have something possible right in front of you? Maybe its time you start dreaming of someone else”.
“Threeeeeee minutes to showtime everybody! Everyone in their places!”
Carrie left. Everyone came running around in different directions. Confused and scared. The most confused and scared person of them all was me. And I weren’t moving.
Was Carrie my Helena? Had she liked me all this time while I chattered on about Grace? How could I not have seen this? The curtain had been lifted.
The audience laughed. They cried. They even cried and laughed at the same time. Clearly a success. They especially laughed when I forgot my sound in fifth act. Can’t focus. The play stopped for a fifteen minute break. I had to sit down. The audience were still clapping and cheering when Grace came over to me. “Hi Tom. Was I any good out there?” I couldn’t answer. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you all this time, Tom. I know you like me. I didn’t think much of it at first, but it seems this night has changed something. How come I haven’t seen this before? Thou eyes have a gentle spark.” Was I dreaming? The set transposed to a forest. Sweet Hermia are sitting right in front of me declaring her love for Demetrius. What about Lysander? Before I had time to think things threw, she kissed me. The room started to spin again. I’m not in the woods with sweet Hermia. I’m backstage with Grace. And for the first time in months, I finally knew my place.
Demetrius: But, my good lord, I wot not by what power, but by some power it is. My love to Hermia melted as the snow. The object and the pleasure of mine eye, is only Helena. To her, my lord, was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia.
But, as in health, come to my natural taste, now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.