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Shakespeare in love

November 19, 2012

I got to be a stage mom last weekend. It was awesome.

A couple of months ago, The Boy and The Girl learned of the Augusta Junior Players’ upcoming Aladdin Junior show. Both wanted to audition. They hadn’t ever done anything like this before, but what the hell. There’s a first time for everything.

We had a little pep talk. I wasn’t trying to crush their confidences but hoped they didn’t expect to snag the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin on their first go at it. They understood that we might not end up with any parts, but just the experience of trying out would be fun (yeah right, right?).

When we arrived at the audition, my once confident daughter clung to my hand. The Boy marched right in. Once The Girl found a friend, she went in, too.

A few days later, I got a text from a friend congratulating The Boy on his role in the musical. What??? I hadn’t heard, but wow! I checked the website, and it was true. The Boy earned the all-important role of Guard #5. When I told The Kids, The Girl was understandably disappointed. I told her that she might not have gotten a role on the stage, but she got the next best thing. “Won’t it be fun to tell everyone that your brother is in the show?” She nodded excitedly. Manipulative parenting points for Mama.

The Boy probably helped his chances when he stood up and sung by himself during the audition. It showed confidence and willingness to try something new. He confided that he didn’t really know that many words to the song, but he did try. When he finally admitted that he didn’t know any words, I had to laugh. He knew “A. Whole. New. World.” He hummed the rest. Whatever works, kiddo.

Fast forward about seven weeks. We had nearly nightly rehearsals, sometimes ending with a late bedtime for The Boy. Somewhere along the way, he landed an additional role, and it was his best role. He was crowned Prince Dahdu Rahn Rahn, also known as Price #2. He tried wooing Princess Jasmine, as she was to marry a prince, and only a prince, the very next day. The director asked if he could dance. He replied, “I only know a couple of dances.” I’m not sure what those dances are, but the one he did wearing a turban and wielding a plastic sword did the trick.

Production week, while exhausting, was a thrill. The set was in place, and it was time for full dress rehearsal. With the guidance and discipline of some very talented adults, these kids had come a long way. There was harmony! And acting! The scenes were blocked! The costumes fit and makeup was applied!

The cast was running through a scene, a rather dramatic scene, when a shadowy figure dashed behind the main characters. The Director interrupted the actors, yelling, “Was that The Boy? Boy! Was that you?” I prayed it wasn’t. Oh, but it was. He’d exited stage right instead of stage left. The venue we used didn’t have a true backstage area – just left and right. Because he went the wrong way, the props he needed for the next scene were on the other side of the stage.

After a puny “yes” came from stage right, the director made him promise not to do that again, no matter what. Well, guess what? He did it again. I’m pretty sure he thought that if he didn’t look at the crowd, no one could see him.

The show did go on, and it was a great show. The Boy remembered all of his moves and didn’t run across the stage another time. He got distracted once when he spotted his (girl)friend Macie in the crowd. That’s not what I meant when I told him to picture the crowd nekkid if he got nervous.

I think he’s been bitten by the bug. I’m learning that the acting bug bites hard. I’m ok with it, though. It was a great experience, and I’d love for him to try out again. I cried happy tears during both nearly sold-out shows.

Talking to him, as he came down from the post-show high, I told him I was proud of him. It was the coolest thing he’d ever done, mostly because he did it on his own, and I made sure to tell him. We only knew a couple of people going in, but he made new friends.

After our little chat, he started to walk away but turned and came back to me. Putting his hands on both of my shoulders he said, “By the way, Mama, thanks for letting me do Aladdin. I love you.” Being a stage mom sure does have its perks.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 19, 2012 2:38 pm

    This is the most wonderful story – the beginnings of that wonderful stage magic – for both of you! Congrats to your boy, congrats to mom, congrats to the little girl who supported her brother (and to Macie for being there!) Keep supporting him – he’ll never forget it! (BTW – you’ve inspired me to write about my son’s acting debut – look for it…coming soon!)

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