I waited to post this until the kid with the face shown graduated. It was taken in Novemeber of 2011. Does the person who donated those masks to me still read this? I hope so, because those masks made four boys very happy.
Those four boys just needed a fine arts credit. They can’t draw. They can’t sing. They can’t dance. They can’t play instruments. So, for three years they procrastinated, and they ended up with me. Four popular, athletic varsity teenage boys slowly becoming men.
They were shocked they had to work outside of class. They were shocked I was giving them responsibilities. They didn’t realize how much work it was going to be. They just needed one fine arts credit.
“If you crew this show, you’re going to be on stage.”
“What do you mean, on stage?“
“You’re moving the set pieces between vignettes. I can’t darken the stage or I’ll lose the audience. It’ll be done in full lighting. I have masks for you.”
In the last two weeks of the show, they devised little physical bits as they moved set pieces. They improvised. They competed on how quickly they could move sets. It was something new every night—and better. And when a set piece was misplaced, the most popular boy in school gave an a shy sophomore girl a hug after she missed her mark and said, “I’m so sorry. That was my fault.” And he meant it.
After curtain call, as we mingled in the lobby with the audience, they beamed as strangers came up to the boys in black and said, “You were so funny!” It meant as much as any three-point or home run they ever did.
“I learned so much!” they said later, shocked. ”Can we keep the masks?”
“Yes, because I don’t want them now that you’ve been breathing in them all week.”
And one of them looked at me and said, “I’m going to save this. It’ll remind me of the time you made me an actor when I thought I was just going to move some stuff around.”