My oldest will be in a play at college this weekend, and the arts are on my mind. I have sometimes joked that I have a houseful of performing seals! My children have acted, sung, danced, played musical instruments in venues ranging from school, to church, to children’s theatre, to professional theatre, to a symphony hall.
Whether it was on Broadway or at your neighborhood elementary school, name five experiences of the performing arts that have touched or tickled you.
Shamefully, I am a day behind on my own meme! But I plead the performing arts as my excuse. Last night we saw #1 Son in a play put on by a senior at Formerly Methodist Currently Hiptastic University as her senior thesis project. It was based on some of the stories in Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. It was an unusual production. When did college students become so conscious? I seem to remember sleep-walking through most of my undergraduate career.
Five is not really enough slots for me to make a list, but I will just give you the first five that come to mind.
1) When I was 11, I took a trip to New York with my dad, just the two of us. We stayed at the Plaza. We ate breakfast at Rumpelmayer’s, in the St. Moritz Hotel next door. And we went to the theatre, most notably to see Much Ado About Nothing, with Sam Waterston as Benedick and Kathleen Widdoes as Beatrice. My husband claims that I enjoy bickering and mistakenly think it is romantic; if he is correct, you may blame William Shakespeare and these two inventions of his.
Many years later, I had the pleasure of seeing #1 Son play Dogberry in a production of Much Ado at his high school. He was wonderful. We often (okay, almost always) think he is the highlight of whatever play he is in, but this time it was the truth.
2) #2 Son doesn’t act anymore, but when he was 7, he played Michael in Peter Pan. It’s pretty thrilling to see your child “fly!” A few years before that, #1 Son had played Slightly in an Equity production, and I have to say that seeing him dance on stage was pretty thrilling, too, since I didn’t know he could!
3) The Princess sings in a girls’ choir, a really wonderful group. There performances are all exciting, but I could hardly keep from crying when they performed at a festival a few weeks ago and sang with a much larger group an exquisite arrangement of “How Can I Keep From Singing.” I was all over goose bumps!
4) #2 Son plays in a wind ensemble for high school students directed by a professor at Nearby University. Every concert is a revelation. Some of my faithful readers may remember that I was and had a little nutty. The music I heard once I settled into my seat proved to be cathartic, as I wrote then.
5) Finally, I loved seeing Wicked on Broadway last summer, and being there with The Princess. I couldn’t show her quite as posh a time as my dad showed me, but we loved being in The City together and the show itself was thrilling to watch, and thrilling to see her watch.