Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"To beguile the times, look like the times"

My sophomores have three weeks left of school, and we have begun our study of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays:  Macbeth.  I'm sitting here in my Macbeth t-shirt that reads across my chest, "double double toil and trouble."  I bought it this winter when I went to see the play starring Ethan Hawke on Broadway.  It was an incredible performance, but I was aghast to find that on a Saturday afternoon the theater had not sold out.  How is that possible?  Macbeth and Ethan Hawke.

My sister, my friend Katie, and I had driven through a blizzard from Massachusetts to see this play.  A BLIZZARD.  No joke.  The snow was falling so hard that we considered turning back when we were about an hour outside of the city.  It was crazy, but we all agreed that it was worth the trip.  The performance was stunning with minimal set and powerful emotion.  The exchanges between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were laden with passion and sexuality.  Ethan Hawke absorbed the character with every breath.  He became the evil serpent whose desires and "vaulting ambition" destroyed him.

During the intermission, we asked the ushers if we could move our seats closer to the stage given that there were so many empty seats on that snowy afternoon.  They didn't say yes, but they didn't say no.  They looked the other way, and we advanced toward the stage bringing us mere feet from the 90's heart throb. 
Our promixity to fame emboldened us, and after the show we made our way to the stage door in hopes of meeting Katie's Hollywood crush.  A family had somehow gotten on the visitation list, and as the herd opened the door to enter into the backstage hallway, we hitched our horse to their cart.  We were in!

I argued that our best chance of meeting anyone was to play it cool--you know, "to beguile the times, look like the times."  I suggested we sit down at the lounge tables and pretend  we belonged there.  My sister, on the other hand, thought that we should just declare our fell purpose, so she walked down the hallway and told the first person she saw that, "we are looking for Ethan."

"Oh, ok.  What's your name?" the man asked.

"Megan," she replied.

"Is he expecting you?"


"Right, if you can just wait right here, I'll get Jeffrey to come help you.  Jeffrey!"  I swear "Jeffrey" is code for "we have some crazies in here!"

It was only seconds before Jeffrey was on the scene, ushering us back toward the door we had snuck in only minutes before.

"If you can just follow me, right this way, you can step out here and Ethan may be out in a little while."

That was it.  We were in and out in a matter of seconds, no brush with fame, no autographed playbill,  no drink with Ethan Hawke.

We waited for about an hour to see if Ethan would show his face outside of the stage door, hoping beyond hope that he might catch wind of our desires to meet him.  Alas, we saw no one but a few delivery fellows bringing food to the actors in between sets.  An utter failure.

During the nine hour car ride home, we laughed about our silly expedition.  I blamed my sister's brazen forthright admission for our failure, but the truth is, we had no chance of ever reaching the dressing room door.  No matter how much we longed for that intimate moment with stardom, we had to accept what was also true for Macbeth, "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir."  We might have had more success randomly bumping into Ethan at a coffee shop.  I guess there is sitll hope for that chance encounter.  

If we learn anything from the play, it is that man can not force the hand of fate, nor can a girl get a photo op with one of her favorite actors.  

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