One of the pleasures of working in a school is the perennial nature of the year with the same events—contests, concerts—made new. Last week, for instance, just before Thanksgiving, the predictable convergence of occasions, the Shakespeare play and Young Alumni Day, brought home the truth of the predictable-unpredictable.
I hadn’t staged
before because I thought that the colossal Falstaff was beyond the range of our young actors. I was wrong. The boys and girls all reached beyond expectations, and eighth grader Manas, with pillow tucked under his doublet, showed that he had more than enough comic genius and intellect to become a most entertaining Sir John. “Banish plump Jack,” he says, “and banish all the world.” Every Thanksgiving, some actor, boy or girl, surprises me in a blaze of daring. (They probably surprise themselves.)
The day after the evening performance, on a Tuesday afternoon, young alumni (70 of them this year) visited with each other and 20 of their old teachers in the Dining Room. Often unrecognizably tall or hirsute and often wearing their high school colors, they all seemed new to me, newer versions of themselves, I guess, and often delightfully unexpected. This year’s boys seemed very happy to be back at the School and in the company of friends and teachers. And as in years before, those who return see the School with more perspective, I think, and hold close the time they spent on 78th Street. Every year this way, just before Thanksgiving.
Fortiter et Recte!
David Kersey h'98