Jason Kelly | May 12, 2017
They were just faces in the crowd last summer at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, schoolkids from South Bend who could have been anyone from anywhere, another anonymous knot of students on a field trip to Navy Pier.
How could the rest of the audience have known? The kids knew, and that was good enough for them, to possess this secret knowledge about themselves, like a superpower.
If they were comic book heroes, they would have shed their everyday clothes to reveal Elizabethan ruffs and breeches, coming to the rescue of theatergoers who lacked their fluent command of The Merchant of Venice. In real life, they kept their collective identity to themselves, proud of who they were and what they represented.
Among them was Cameron Pierce, just out of junior high at the time and already a Shakespearean actor of such long standing that she could not remember her life before the Bard. She pulled aside Christy Burgess, the group’s founder and director. Cameron sensed the perceived distance between how she and her friends appeared, on the surface, and who they were, deep down.
“Miss Christy,” she whispered, “I bet they think we’re just regular kids. I bet they don’t know we’re a Shakespeare company.”