It all began with a rainy Monday and The Kiddo’s bright idea to put on a play.
It went from there into full-fledged crazy.
First, I was up against some serious obstacles. My star is only three years old. She doesn’t read yet, which makes it tough to run lines. My other problem? The little diva wanted a role for her stuffed Stegosaurus, Dino.
I love a writing challenge. It wasn’t long before I had the problems solved. Insert myself as narrator, who could spoonfeed The Kiddo her lines. And as for Dino—I had her voice down pat. Creative juices were flowing. This was going to be fun.
I curled up in my favorite chair with my pen and a notebook. Fifteen minutes later: I had a working draft of “The Princess and the Dinosaur.”
Now here’s the thing about me: when things go well, I don’t know when to put on the brakes. Next thing I know, I’m on the phone, inviting Wonny and Papa (grandparents) to our fabulous play on Friday.
And of course my mom informed me she wanted refreshments. Shit.
Monday afternoon, we jumped into rehearsals with gusto. I read my lines with all the flourish I could muster. The Kiddo’s face collapsed and she bawled red-faced through both rehearsals. I thought, Crap! This is SO not good!
During her nap, I designed and printed programs and tickets, praying it would all work out. Good news: the programs looked better than the ones from our local professional children’s theatre. The bad news: the star still hated the play. Damn.
Tuesday morning, The Kiddo told me she didn’t want to do the yucky play. She informed me she thought the Black Moment was too black. The writer in me couldn’t give up. When things aren’t working, it’s clearly time to revise.
Tuesday afternoon, she approved the revisions and declared the new Black Moment to be just kinda gray. We drove off to the Salvation Army store to find sheets to paint for our backdrop. We enjoyed a frutiful creative meeting over lunch at the Greek restaurant.
Wednesday, rehearsals continued and we painted the backdrops. We got green paint on the floors and walls. I thought it might be fun to do dinner theatre, so I called Wonny and Papa and asked if they wanted potato pancakes or fries with their take-out church fish fry. I took orders and had a few laughs with Mom over how the play was going.
Wonny told me she wanted snacks during the play, too.
“What???” I told her, staring into the phone. “This thing’s only three freaking minutes long! How many snacks you think you’ll have time to eat?”
Wonny wanted snacks. Ok, The Princess and the Dinosaur? I put dinosaur fruit snacks on my grocery list. Before bed, The Kiddo told me she wanted to add a dance number after the curtain call. To Brown Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison.
Thursday, The Kiddo didn’t want to rehearse. She wanted to play with her fairy princess set. I told her Dino was unsure of her lines and needed another rehearsal.
We held a dress rehearsal, during which the cats wreaked havoc. Baxter played with the string I’d rigged to give Dino a more artful entrance. Simon tossed around the plastic baguette we used as a prop.
“BAXTER YOU GET OUT OF HERE!!!!” The Kiddo screamed.
“Just ignore them,” I told her. “They’ll probably be in the middle of things tomorrow anyway.”
Baxter gave me a dirty look. But we all knew it was true.
After lunch, I drove to Karl’s Market to buy The Kiddo’s favorite ranger cookies for after-play refreshments and macerated a pint of frozen raspberries from last year’s garden for sundaes.
Now, the big day looms before us. Props are tucked away where cats can’t get at them. The castle and forest backdrops are waiting to be hung from the entertainment center with masking tape. The costumes hang in the closet, ready. We know our lines and if we forget, who cares? I’m hoping for the best, but things have gotten kind of crazy. (okay, totally)
But no matter what, no matter if the backdrops fall and the damned cats tear everything to shreds, I have to say it’s been an awesome project. We overcame challenges. We had fun. We created. And we did it together and that’s all that really matters.
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