Jason Kelly | September 13, 2017
Editor’s note: The 6th through 12th graders of the Robinson Shakespeare Company, part of Notre Dame’s Robinson Community Learning Center, have been invited to perform Cymbeline this summer in Stratford-upon-Avon and present a workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Notre Dame Magazine reports on their journey here.
Josh Crudup could fool some people back in the day, or at least win them over with the sheer force of cuteness.
“He had these chubby little cheeks,” Christy Burgess says. As a second-grader trying to get out of doing his homework, he would let tears roll over them. This would weaken grown-up resolve.
There were other techniques, too. One time a Robinson Center tutor came to Burgess saying she thought little Josh might be sick.
“He said the room was spinning,” the tutor said.
Burgess was onto him by then. She also had just seen Josh playing four square out on the playground, so she diagnosed him, correctly, as concocting a ploy for sympathy rather than experiencing an actual symptom.
He’s 16 now, an incoming high school junior and football lineman who’s still charmingly childlike in many ways, but no longer able to fall back on the quivering-lip method of getting his way. Not that he’d use it much. This Josh isn’t one to wriggle out of responsibilities. Burgess, the director of the Robinson Shakespeare Company, introduced him to the consequences of that a long time ago.
Josh learned his first Shakespeare lines secondhand, listening at the kitchen table while his older brother practiced for a role in Macbeth, the Robinson ensemble’s first production in 2008. Josh recited them with pride for Burgess, who said she needed to get him into the program.
When he joined the next year, the memorization didn’t go quite so well.
“Did he tell you he was kicked out?” Burgess wonders.