Monday, June 24, 2013

Take THAT, Stagefright


           I know in most parts of the country, summer vacation is in full swing. But here in my little corner of the world, we have another agonizing week to go thanks to the hurricanes and blizzards that visited us this year. But the full-on crunch of homework and projects is finally winding down and has been replaced with field trips, science fairs, Hawaiian shirt days, and my favorites—school plays and concerts.
           Having been bitten by the performance bug when I was in sixth grade I get really excited to see my kids discovering the joy of being on stage. They had been reluctant to try, claiming stage fright (although how you can have stage fright without actually getting on stage remains a mystery to me). Several years ago I auditioned for a local production of “South Pacific” and there was a part for a child Owen's age. I asked him if he'd like to come with me and give it a try. He was wide-eyed with horror at the prospect, “I will if I have to,” he said. I assured him that he didn't have to and he was very relieved.
           During April vacation, he told me his class was going to be doing a play and he asked if I'd help him practice for the audition. After running a victory lap around the house, I settled on the couch with him to read his part. He wanted to be a palace guard—a small part that would allow him to wear his Halloween costume again.
           He got the part and last week after months of rehearsal, we finally got to see the production. He did a great job with the small number of lines that he had. (As we say in the biz, there are no small parts, only small actors.) But my favorite part of the show was an ensemble musical number where the entire cast sang and danced together. When the song began, he sang shyly and danced deliberately. As he warmed to the audience, the desire to entertain became greater than the fear of looking silly. By the end of the number he was glowing. Owen had discovered the joy of performing for an audience.
           When it was over, he ran up to us and said, “That was so much fun!”
           Yes Sweetie. Yes it is.