18 April 2005

Something Different

Among their other children's shows, Elden Street does an annual show called "Something Different," which is fables and fairy tales from around the world, told by a troup of six or seven actors in a fun and high-energy style. It's theater for kids, so there's at least one chase through the theater and the house. This year's stories included "The Tiger and the Pit," "The Tortoise and the Hare," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Peter Cottontail."

7-year-old Samantha and I headed out with the necessities for the day - I had the car keys and she had her Disney Princess Ariel cell phone (which was much admired at the theater) and $10 in "mad money," provided by Stacey. She took a call on the Toll Road - from Krista, I think - and explained that "I'm going to see a play, so I can't talk right now. I'll call you *after* the play." Krista is probably still waiting for her return call.

Sam likes to sit in the front row, so we got there nice and early, which gave us time to hang out with Mary Ann and Sally, something I always enjoy. This also meant that Sam got to learn about headsets,which will serve her well when she becomes a Stage Manager. She also got introduced to Dave in the lobby (where he was avoiding vocal warm-ups) and he was informed of her Stage Management tendencies.

We took our seats at 10:42 and the first "how soon?" question happened at 10:45. We were joined in the front row by Ashley and her Mom. Sam was showing Ashley her cell phone and mad money and asked me what "mad money" was, so I explained about having enough money to get home if one gets mad at one's date, which led to a discussion among the four of us about how old is old enough to date. Sam opined that 16 is a good age. Ashley - who is nearly 5 - said that she already *has* a boyfriend. (Tragically, this relationship is doomed, as Ashley and her family are moving to Connecticut soon.)

Sam asked at about 4-minute intervals when the show was going to start. I told her that it would start after Miss Holly closed the curtains at the door and the lights went down over the audience, which happened at 11:08. So, basically, Sam and Ashley were pretty darn patient: 10:42 - 11:08 is a long time to wait for something to start. (Next time we'll remember to bring one of her books.) After the show, Dave asked Sam if they'd missed any cues and she said, "Well, you started 8 minutes late." (Okay, in the interests of full disclosure, she wasn't wearing a watch and I was, so she got that piece of info from me. At 11:08. She passed it on to Dave over an hour later. I stand by my assessment of her theater future.)

The show was just terrific. Lots of energy, lots of jokes - both good jokes and dumb jokes - for the kids and the adults, and engaging actors. I think that "Hansel and Gretel" was my favorite of the day, simply for the sight of Dave in a big, pink, fluffy skirt with matching hair thing. (And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here to see Dave in the big, pink, fluffy skirt with matching hair thing.)

Director Holly was committed to cross casting, so the man in the story of the tiger in the pit was played by a woman, the tree was played by a human, etc. And in "Hansel and Gretel," the woodsman was played by a woman as were Hansel and Gretel. Vivian - the woodman's spoiled, nasty fiancee - was played by Dave in the aforemetioned BPFSWMHT. (Note: guys ~ community theater is an excellent way to meet women. Just keep in mind that you may be doing it while wearing a BPFSWMHT.)

After the show, Sam asked Holly if she could go backstage because she got a backstage tour her first time there and as a future stage manager she needs all the behind the scenes info she can get. Holly refused on the (completely legitimate) grounds that the evening shows props were making the backstage area a bit of a hazard, not to mention that Sam might be a hazard to the props... So Sam found Sally and got a tour of the booth. (Another reason to keep bringing her - I'd never been in the places she's getting toured through. Thanks, Sam!) And she got to climb down the circular staircase, too.

And then it was off to McDonalds. Sam, it seems, can navigate the mile-with-four-turns to the McDonalds after having been there twice before. Another data point for that whole Stage Manager thing. Stage Managers are filled to the brim with useful information. We split a couple of Mighty Kids meals and headed home.

The Reluctant Dragon goes up in June. I've already invited Sam.

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