June 09, 2005

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

Well, the seven year old's spring performance went off just fine, thank you. As I mentioned yesterday, she was in the lower elementary per-duction of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I see from the program notes that this project originally was the brainchild of a couple of Dominican nuns and goes a bit deeper than just having the kiddies get up and sing, instead immersing them in all aspects of the production, something St. Marie of the Blessed Montessori Method would, I'm sure, heartily approve.

In order to ensure that everybody got to perform, many of the parts had multiple players. I knew that the Llama-ette was going to be the West Wind, but I hadn't realized that she was really going to be part of Team West Wind. There were four of them, all decked out in cowboy hats and jeans. (West wind. Get it? The South Wind Crew were all dressed like surfers and kept calling people "dude".) And as the heroine stood by waiting to ask if they could carry her to the Troll Castle (don't ask), they broke into their song and dance routine. The gel is of average height for her age, but she has long arms and legs. This becomes particularly apparent when she's dancing and it gives her a real grace. I never quite figured out if she was genuinely worried before hand, but she certainly didn't look it on stage.

In fact, all of the kids looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. No flubs, no deer-in-the-headlights staring, no breakdowns. Indeed, the only person I noticed who came close to losing it was the woman playing the piano. She hit the most god-awful clunker right at the beginning of one of the numbers and then spent a considerable amount of energy trying to hold in her laughter - I began to think she would start shaking so hard that she wouldn't be able to finish the piece. And for a long time afterward she kept bursting out in giggles.

It turned out that this (short) piece was just the first offering of the afternoon. After the troll princess turned over Prince Antonio to Miranda in exchange for gold and everybody got to live happily ever after, the class were put through various other paces - recitations and songs in French and Spanish, some recorder tunes and so forth. Then came a really interesting bit - the upper elementary class did a short adaptation of The Tempest. I understand that they had got some coaching from somebody at the Folger Shakespeare Library and had, in fact, done a performance there. And for fourth, fifth and sixth graders, they really did a pretty good job. The kid who played Caliban in particular threw himself into the part. (I got the impression he was riffing on Gollum somewhat, which makes sense when you think about it.) And Prospero seemed to still be smoldering with resentment at being set adrift all those years ago.

After this came awards and graduation stuff. Since none of my brood were involved, I frankly didn't pay that much attention. And by then I had other things to deal with. The three year old Llama-ette stayed at school with her class, but the five year old had hitched a ride over to the community center where the performance was being held and was sitting with me. (The Missus was there too, but was busy running the show since she's one of the upper elementary teachers.) This gel had a grand old time, waiving at her friends on stage, clapping enthusiastically and, when the performers did an arrangement of "Row, Row, Row" for recorder and xylophones, breaking out in song. She's a remarkably sunny and sociable creature, seeming to like just about everybody. I think this enthusiasm is a major reason why everybody seems to like her right back. However, by the time certificates were being handed out and speeches made, she got bored. At first, she tried to work it off on me - insisting on looking at my watch every two minutes, complaining that her sandals hurt, squirming and so on. Then she started inventing reasons why she needed to leave the theatre. "I have to go potty." "I need water." "I want to see the sun." "I'm starving." Reasoning that if I had to sit through all of it, then so did she and furthermore that it would be good for her character, I put the ky-bosh on this. Finally, the gel found distraction in playing some inane finger-grabbing game with the girls sitting in front of us and all was peace.

All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon.

Posted by Robert at June 9, 2005 09:13 AM
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