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The Aurora arrives in Liverpool.

But it was more the passion with which he taught, and the passion for the subject that he inspired in me and in the other students that put me under his spell. I'd taken acting classes before I got to high school, but they'd never felt like a personal journey of discovery before. He would ask all of the classic acting-teacher questions: What do you want? What's in your way? What are you going to do to get what you want?

But where those questions had always seemed academic before, suddenly, under his piercing gaze, they felt inspiring and deeply, deeply personal. He was asking about the character, about her motivation, but he always said, What do YOU want? He always said, Every character is just some aspect of you, some part of you that you don't usually show the world. So don't ever think of the character in the third person: you are the character, and the character is you.

The first time I ever thought of Ken sexually was actually in the middle of an acting class. We were working on Shakespeare monologues, and I had just done Juliet's "Gallop apace ye fiery-footed steeds" speech, which I still dearly love. I had worked hard on the iambic pentameter the way that he had been teaching us, and I had made sure that I understood - really understood - all of the words, and I had sung the speech like an aria, which had felt really good at the time. The rest of the class had applauded energetically - even Erica Travers, who hated everything I ever did, who hated me for no reason that I could ever see. But when the applause died down, Ken just sat there against his desk at the foot of the stage, face stony.

"Very pretty," he grunted. "The scansion was great, and you're on-voice, which is a nice improvement." Now he scowled, dark eyes flashing. "But. What. The. Hell. Do. You. WANT."

I was caught off-guard by his question, by his tone. I could see my shock reflected in the faces of my classmates. "I... Juliet is waiting - "

"Not Juliet, Allison. YOU. And I know what you're doing: you're standing on a stage, dancing back and forth, looking like you have to pee."

The class tittered. Erica looked like she'd just been given a Christmas present in April.

Now Ken stood, walking to the foot of the stage, and I had to fight the urge to step back, to hide - even though I was humiliated, I knew my need to do what Ken was asking, to learn what he was teaching meant far more to me than my own puny ego.

Still, I couldn't let go. I couldn't see what he wanted me to do. "I'm..." I huffed. "It's... It's just a monologue, Ken - there's no one else on stage, I mean, who could I want anything from?"

"Just a monologue?" he asked, voice low and intense in a way that I found sparked all sorts of interesting responses in my body. "Listen to me, Allison - it's not just a monologue, not just one of the greatest soliloquys ever written." He turned to the class, who were scattered through the seats of the little theater that served as the acting classroom. "What's the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy, anyone?"

The other students, who were all sitting wide-eyed, shrugged or shook their heads.

He turned back to me, his gaze piercing me.

"A... a soliloquy," I rasped, trembling, "is a monologue where the character is alone on stage."

"Thank you, Allison. But just because the character is alone doesn't mean she doesn't want something from someone."

I want YOU, I thought, for the very first time, and was scared speechless by the intensity of the feeling.

Sensing my agitation, Ken turned out to the class again. "Who could she be talking to?"

"To herself?" said Erica, looking pleased to be able to show me up.

"To the audience?" said Jordan, my friend, who looked as if she wanted to throw her arms around me and pull me off of the stage.

"Both good," Ken granted.

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