Fertile Ground Portland

A Festival of New Works Blog

Inspired by… Cancer and Beauty and a 9 Year Old Boy January 19, 2012

Filed under: Inspirations,Penguins of Ithaca,the creative process,the writing process — fertilegroundpdx @ 7:31 pm

What inspires a Festival project? Here’s one extraordinary answer from playwright David Berkson.

Fifteen years ago, I began tutoring 9 year old boy named Eric. My new student had recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and was being homeschooled. Told by his family of a voracious appetite Shakespeare, I was asked if I could take an hour a week to help foster his burgeoning interest.

Eking out a living as a professional actor in San Francisco, I was happy for the work. And I was especially pleased to meet my new charge; even at our first interview, Eric wasted no time. He wanted to talk about The Merchant of Venice. Bothered and fascinated with the Bard’s treatment of the Jewish moneylender Shylock, Eric wrestled with the most troublesome issues in the play before finally asking: “Was Shakespeare anti-Symmetrical?”

Most malapropisms reveal ignorance. Eric’s revealed knowledge. And curiosity. Read the rest of the story.

You can check out his piece, The Penguins of Ithaca,  January 27, 28, 29 @ 7:30pm at the Northwest Academy Blue Box Theatre, 1130 SW Main St, Portland OR 97205. Tickets available through www.fertilegroundpdx.org.