Am-Dram: Junior Edition — Opening Night
Youngest Son is performing this weekend in his junior high’s production of The Borrowers. He and most of his friends are all in the show and tonight was opening night. One of the actors had been sick during the day and missed school. School policy says that if you don’t show up to school, you can’t participate in any after-school activities (games, dances, performances, etc.). Poor guy wasn’t feeling too great when I saw him this evening and another actor took over the part. He had to come out with the script in his hands because he didn’t know the lines but did a really good job as a last-minute stand-in.
I was asked by the drama teacher/director to do some old-age makeup on one of the girls so that she’d look like the mean old lady she’s supposed to play. I agreed (in exchange for free tickets) and enjoyed showing the kids how I could take one of their friends from a fresh-faced young lady and make her look old and grouchy. I wasn’t as pleased with the makeup once I got out into the audience and I discussed with the director about changing it and making it more noticeable for the last two nights. She agreed and I’m looking forward to seeing the look on her face tomorrow night when she’s made-up. She was shocked tonight — so tomorrow could be horrifying for her. But, I made sure to give her a good pep talk before the show because she was so nervous. She’d played the Genie in last semester’s production of Aladdin and was worried she’d set the bar too high for herself since this is a drama and not a musical. I told her not to worry and to remember that the audience may have read the book or seen the movies but they don’t know the lines for the play. All she’d have to remember is to get out there and have fun with her part and she’d be just fine.
And she was. Actually, they all were. Oh sure, there were forgotten lines and cues and props that went missing. That happens in any show. What I was worried about was Youngest Son. He has a habit of ad-libbing when something’s not quite right or if he sees something wrong. Did he do it tonight? You betcha he did!
It was funny that Husband, one of the other actor’s father, and the junior high assistant principal were there for the performance tonight. They were all major characters in our recent Am-Dram production of Arsenic and Old Lace. When one of the Borrowers suggested reviving Mr. Clock with some elderberry wine, we all thought it was kind of ironic since that’s what killed the 12 men in the cellar in our play. I was praying that Youngest Son wouldn’t say something like, “No! Not that! It’s from the Brewsters’ house!” and, fortunately, he didn’t. But, when the Borrowers left a “sugar cube” onstage during the scene change to Youngest Son’s scene, I could hear Husband laughing because we both knew he’d never let it just sit there.
And he didn’t. Youngest Son is playing Gypsy Boy, a Romanie Traveller, and is decked-out in a horribly mis-matched outfit which is perfect for his character. Mid-scene, he walks over to his “caravan” to get a boot and stops to pick up the “sugar cube” asking, “‘Ow the ‘eck did this get out ‘ere?” After going to get the boot and not finding it, he comes back out and says, “Well, there’s supposed to be a boot but I canna’ find it and it’s supposed to be in me caravan but it’s not so why don’ ya’ sit down an’ I’ll tell ya’ about it?” I heard from him after the show that some of the kids were thinking about throwing the boot over the set and hitting him with it. I’m glad they didn’t — it would have just made him improv even more. Fortunately, the other actor onstage remembered his lines and kept the scene going so that Youngest Son could recite all of his lines and didn’t have to ad-lib anymore.
It was a little rough in places, but all-in-all the kids did a great job. Looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow night!