Silverwolf Acts Shakespeare with John Ritter

One of Silverwolf’s ancient memories, recordere during his sojourn in the human form, the form of depravity, was his indelible experience of acting Shakespeare with John Ritter.

Under the watchful eye of the ebullient Addison Myers, who was such a good drama teacher that he was soon snapped up by Beverly Hills High, the assembled Thespians set to work on the dueling scene from Romeo and Juliet, that all-male scene in a play concerning ying-yang dynamics. Silverwolf was assigned the task of playing Romeo, while Mercutio, and the sub-direction of the play, under the general tutorship of Mr. Myers, was undertaken by a cat named John Ritter, whom Silverwolf recalled had a famous father. What struck one about John was his utter earnestness in throwing himself into the production of the play, and a complete lack of that pompous conceit that actors are supposedly so notorious for displaying. With John, we were all in this play together, and the product was the product of us all. No fustian in John.

We must have rehearsed that play for six weeks, prior to our performing it at the Shakespeare Festival at U.C.L.A., when all the schools in the L.A. Unified School District would send their representative Thespian delegations armed with a scene from the poor old tired Bard of Stratford, who must be truly sick to death of hearing his same old lines delivered over and over for about 500 years now. What bliss to be forgotten after you die, and take your place amongst the obliterated phenomena of this vast cosmos, where all facts and actions are retained only in G-d’s memory and mind, if he has one. No such bliss for poor old Shakespeare until the sun blows up.

One of the hardest things for Silverwolf, in performing the scene, was when he had to stab Tybalt, played by Hector from Ecuador. Hector had a way of rolling his eyes heavenward when Silverwolf would run him through with his rapier (not really—just make believe, for the record) in such a comical way that Silverwolf would be busting at the seams. In fact, Silverwolf’s main fear for six weeks, was that he would break character at the final performance, after the troupe had couped the first prize.

As it turned out, his fears were almost realized. On the day of the Shakespeare Festival at U.C.L.A., the troupe performed and won their first two rounds. This winnowed out 90% of the schools. Emotionally exhausted by having to kill Tybalt twice in a few hours, and contain his glee at seeing Hector roll his eyes in death, Silverwolf, in concert with John, Hector, and those whose names have slipped from Silverwolf’s memory with the passage of two score and more  years, managed to give another brilliant performance, which catapulted the troupe into the final trial. And once again they succeeded, thanks to that divine diva who hovers like a mother hen over Thespians. G-d loves Thespians, and so do the Fates.

Now repaired to Royce Hall, the troupe awaited the final declaration of the winners. Over 100 schools had competed, and presently the top three were to be announced. And Silverwolf’s school was one of those three.

There are moments in life, key turning points, when one sees things as they are with great clarity. And such was that moment, as the troupe sat nervously fidgeting, not knowing whether to gear up the adrenaline for another performance, or brace for the disappointment of a second or third place finish. (The winning scene was to be performed, yet once again,  in Royce Hall before all the assembled Yobos.) For it was at this moment that Silverwolf knew, with a great assuredness, that the last thing on earth he wanted to be was an actor, and the last thing he would be capable of doing was going before the eyes of 600 assembled Yobos, and once again stabbing Hector (not really, for the record), and not melting into a pool of giggling jelly in front of 600 very embarrassed high schoolers. Silverwolf didn’t want to be there; Silverwolf didn’t want to be an actor; Silverwolf had stagefright!

“And the winner is…” A groan of disappointment went through John Ritter and the assembled troupe; a flood of sweet relief went through Silverwolf’s cerebellum. We had not won! We had come in third! What joy for Silverwolf!

It was thus that Silverwolf learned he did not want to be an actor. But it was also thus that he acted with someone who did want to be an actor, who was completely devoid of that selfish self-centeredness imputed to most actors, and who went on to practice his craft for decades, bringing great joy to hundreds of millions of people, literally billions of times.

Acting Shakespeare with John Ritter: Not something Silverwolf will soon forget.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf.

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