April 03, 2006

On stage

I love going to school plays, concerts, and recitals -- which is a good thing because I have so many kids and extra kids that I go to lots of them. Sometimes I will drive to Camera City to see Drama Niece in a play, but all of my other extras go to schools nearby, which makes going to their events easy. Last Friday night we went to the play at the private school that Older Neighbor Boy goes to.

This play had all kinds of stuff worth seeing. Colorful costumes! Hand-painted sets! A cleverly choreographed scene in a train performed by teenage boys who took their parts very seriously. A dance scene performed by four girls have had ballet lessons and three girls who were trying very hard. The male lead was a bit young for the part but he had this terrific catlike way of moving across the stage. One of the actresses had a beautiful voice, and the others get credit for enthusiasm. The director had clearly taken liberties with the play itself because I could see older people in the audience looking puzzled. It is very hard to follow the plot of any school play when you haven’t seen the original so I was a little fuzzy on what was happening myself. Anyhow, the play did have a happy although somewhat strange ending that included herds of young people marching through the audience and playing musical instruments.

We sat in a big group, those of us who had come to see Older Neighbor Boy. His Mom and Dad were there, of course, and both his siblings. All four grandparents showed up, and an aunt, and an older cousin, who is home now from Iraq. I came with Boy in Black, Shaggy Hair, With-a-Why, Skater Boy, and Blonde Niece. And his brother, Philosophical Boy, had a friend with him. We made a pretty good cheering section.

How big of a part did Older Neighbor Boy have? Well, he walked onto the stage twice. And he spoke one line.

17 comments:

ArticulateDad said...

That reminds me of my first performance on a European stage, at the culmination of a month-long performance workshop. I had understudied the role of Don Ottavio but was not able to perform it. So, as consolation, they asked me to play the role of the toy seller Parpignol. Never heard of him? Well, I had two entrances, with ever so slightly varied rhythms, lasting a total of about 11 seconds.

But, boy was that a great costume! Top hat and scarf, and all. I looked so dashing, and the kids in the chorus loved me. Couldn't have been a better consolation!

jo(e) said...

ArticulateDad: Oh, it's all about the dashing costume. And the props. Older Neighbor Boy got to carry a pitchfork, which everyone thought was very cool.

wolfa said...

_The Music Man_? Has a train scene and lots of people playing instruments.

jo(e) said...

Wolfangel: Yep, that was the play. Or I should say, it was a version of that play.

peripateticpolarbear said...

There are no small parts.....only large cheering sections.

Bardiac said...

I bet he LOVED that you all went to cheer for him!

Way to go!

Leslee said...

I love school plays!

And I love that the kid with one line and two appearances had such a big cheering section!

ABDmom said...

The Music Man is an odd show (I was in it, so I say this firsthand). The stage version is very different from the movie version, which probably explains why you saw confused faces in the audience.

In particular, the endings are completely dissimiliar. The movie does a "fantasy ending" where the kids suddenly morph into a great marching band, with baton twirlers, fabulous costumes, and great instruments. In essence, the movie suggets that Harold Hill wasn't that much of crook and that he taught the kids how to play.

The stage version--as it is written--isn't that generous. The instruments come in, the kids play, and they sound AWFUL. They're supposed to be just horrendous. But the townsfolk are so proud to see their kids performing that they start standing up and saying, "That's my boy! That's my boy!" etc. The curtain goes down with the kids stinking it up, the parents bursting with pride, and Harold and Marian shrugging their shoulders in disbelief.

Does that account for the reactions you noticed?

jo(e) said...

ABDmom: Yeah, we saw the version where the kids did not ever learn to play the instruments. But I think there was also something puzzling about the piano teacher/librarian woman and her relationship to the music man.

Mona Buonanotte said...

jo(e): My first ever play I did as a grownup was a bit part in "Death of a Salesman". I was a bar floozy, I was in one scene and spoke 7 words. But the cheering section of family and friends made me feel like a star! Older Neighbor Boy felt the same way, I'll bet!

Honeybee said...

I think there *is* something odd going on between the librarian and the Music Man, but I can't remember the details. Was he just swindling her like everyone else?

My high school did that show after I graduated and the lead was *perfect*.

I myself once played a male sheriff with a huge (fake) belly, a moustache (yay for latex glue) and my long hair tucked into a big hat. It was pretty damn funny.

Yankee T said...

We just went to see Younger Daughter's friend, Flower Girl, star in the middle school production of Cinderella. The sound system was so lousy you couldn't understand a word, but Flower Girl has a lovely, true voice, and it was a joy to hear her sing. And YD told me I made more noise than Flower Girl's whole family, applauding and whistling. Born to embarrass...that's me.

BeachMama said...

I love school plays, they are great! Even better is getting together a huge cheering section for one of the actors even if the part is a very small one. Hope you all had fun.

cheesehead said...

I love this.

Kathryn said...

jo(e),- posts like this are why I'm so glad to know you....You really DO enjoy all these things, and as one who is married to an endurer of all school productions, I am always sitting there waiting for LongsufferingClockmaker to either a)snore loudly or b)say even more loudly just what he thinks of the lead, whose parents are sitting 2 rows in front...so it gets a bit nerveracking. Left to myself, I'd be there cheering along with you...thanks for celebrating the unsung stars :-)

SingingOwl said...

This took me back to sitting in a darkend h.s. auditorium watching my son play the lead in "No No Nanette" and some western I've forgotten the name of, and "Hello Dolly." Their production of the last was truly impressive. It was great fun!

kathy a said...

how wonderful! it is the biggest thrill to have an enthusiastic audience!

a few years back, i did costumes for an ambitious middle-school production of midsummer night's dream. it was a small cast [most kids did more than one part, so lots of costume changes], and so i sat backstage to shush the actors, move things along, poke the forgetful ones when they were cued, pick up discarded costume pieces, safety-pin costume emergencies, pass out ice-water, etc. really a fun time! my daughter [who played a fairy and a mechanical] couldn't stop talking for hours afterwards!