Friday, March 30, 2012

The Play's The Thing

"A play!  There's going to be a play!" 

No, not Shakespeare's Hamlet but an original production written by our music teacher: The Medieval Musical!

Katherine is so excited about the 5th grade school play.  Here's a girl who signs up for drama camps in the summer.  A girl who writes, directs and stars in her own basement productions on a regular basis.  She immediately takes the script into her room to practice for her audition and to analyze the pros and cons of each part.

"I want to be Queen," she announces after much consideration.  "Or Princess Caroline or Princess Catherine.  If I'm Princess Catherine I'll ask Mrs. White if she can change the C to a K.  My next choices are Peasant 1, Peasant 2 or the Jester."  The production is a musical so Katherine wanders around the house singing, "I want to be queen," in preparation for the singing part of the audition.

After school auditions, Katherine is so excited.  We bump into her teacher in the hall.  "Oh Allison, I wish you could have seen Katherine's audition," she says to me.  "She had such stage presence!  She was such a natural!"

The next day I am rushing to meet Katherine by the flagpole.  I'm behind schedule and I'm worried that she'll be upset when I'm not in my usual spot.  Sure enough,  I find her crying hysterically.  But it turns out she didn't even notice I was late.

"We got our parts for the play today," she sobs.  "I'm not the queen.   I'm not Princess Caroline.  I'm not Princess Catherine.  I'm not even Peasant 1 or Peasant 2!"

"Are you the jester, then?" I ask.

"No!" she wails.  "I'm, I'm....I'm a kitchen maid." She can barely spit out the words.

At first my protective instict kicks in.  I see my beautiful daughter hurting.  I want to help her.  I want to fix it.  I want to complain to the teacher about the unfairness of it all.  Why have students write a list of their top 6 choices if it's not possible to give everyone what they want?  Why praise an amazing and creative audition to get hopes up?

Instead I take some deep breaths and I wait.  I wait until she's calmed down.  I wait until I've had time to think.  Then I give her a Great Big Mom Pep Talk.  I tell her it was a tough competition and she did her best.  I tell her she can choose to be gracious to her friends who landed those coveted roles.  I tell her that every role is important.  That sometimes small roles done well can have more impact than the big roles.  In short, I tell her to be the best kitchen maid ever.

Last night we saw The Medieval Musical.  Katherine's main scene is towards the end.  While the royalty sit primly at the banquet table talking of expensive fabric and dancing Greensleeves with the knights, the kitchen maids wait in the wings.  After the banquet, the kitchen maids emerge with brooms as partners while they dance around the banquet hall cleaning dishes and fending off giant rats competing for table scraps.  Katherine looks so animated and happy despite her soot covered face. 

I may be a little biased, but I think she is one of the best kitchen maids ever.

The group of best kitchen maids ever!

1 comment:

  1. Allison --

    Katherine will always be my princess and you my Queen! PTK