Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Eight: Trash and Treasure

Today, I was told my script that is currently running (and packing in houses) at our children's theatre was trash, but marketable trash, so it was still useful.

Tonight, I went to Robbie's day school (Day school at night? Preposterous!) for the school-wide Christmas play. You had about 15 two-year-olds in angel costumes, about 15 three-year-olds in all black with stars on sticks, and all of the older children playing Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, a four-headed donkey, cows, chickens, sheep, and...um...well, I'm not really sure what the last little girl was. Cute. That's it, she was supposed to embody "cute".

The program started with a very long procession (dang it! Procession! I was looking for that word the other night and couldn't think of it!) of stars, followed by a very long procession of angels. We were afraid Robbie would see us and immediately want to sit with us. However, as he walked by our seat, he was looking in the other direction, so it was all good. In fact, I was really proud of the way he behaved all night. The stars sat in the choir loft on the stage while the angels sat in the first two rows of pews for the whole program, except during songs, when they'd stand and sing however many of the words they knew. Several children spent the entire program crying that they wanted their mommy or wrestling with their teachers to get their halos off of their heads, but Robbie sat quietly watching when he wasn't singing, he stood when he was told, he sang when he felt like it, and he jumped up and down to the music when the music warranted it, whether the kids around him were doing so or not.

I was a proud papa.

The program was appropriately titled "A Starry, Noisy Night" or something like that. Imagine all those young children in one space with all their parents and younger siblings and cousins sitting there watching. There was not a silent moment from the time I walked into the sanctuary until I got in my car to pick up dinner and come home. The narrator (God bless her), one of the teachers, kept pressing right on with her dialogue no matter what was happening on stage. The scene changes consisted of two teachers picking up a new backdrop and holding it up for the duration of the scene, and then switching to a different drop between songs. Every older child had a speaking part, and they all spoke their individual line as loudly as possible. I could actually hear every single one, which impressed me. My favorite was "HUSH! YOU'LL WAKE THE BABY!!!" Though the child with the line "REMEMBER THE BABY JESUS, AND THAT HE BRINGS PEACE AND JOY TO ALL THE WORLD. (Turns to her teacher holding the microphone) That's all," was also a highlight.

Also, Mary kept trying to toss her head scarf back out of her way, and it kept hitting Joseph in the face. Also also, Joseph was determined to make sure Mary's arm was through his as they left at the end of the play, even though she kept tearing her hand away from his. Also also also, the four children playing the donkey were held together by a rope around their shoulders to keep them from getting too far away from each other. It looked like four kids on a single leash. Also...

There are tons of alsos about this performance. And I leaned over to Kim afterward and said, "We've got about sixteen years of these left." Christmas plays, church programs, choir concerts, band concerts, sporting events, spelling bees, school plays, whatever. Lots of places to go, lots of things to see. Hundreds of quiet evenings at home that we'll never have.

And I smiled more than just a bit at the thought.