Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Small Parts

As theater directors often remind the cast, "There are no small parts!" Our kids had "small parts" this time, but they performed them with lots of energy and humor.

Godspell is full of the parables of Jesus. At one point, a busload of kids arrives for a field trip at the Art Institute, and Jesus invites the kids to help him tell the story of the sower and the seeds. Bantam9 and a buddy were the rocky soil. Showing off their muscles, they stomp to the front of the stage, grunting loudly (which always got lots of laughs) before delivering their line, "Rock solid, baby!" and executing a chest slam. Then the little seed faints as she says, "I should have brought some sun screen!"

When the field trip kids come out of the Art Institute later on, Jesus divides them into the sheep and the goats. (Shame on Bantam9; he was one of the goats--and an ornery one at that!) "Aw, Master," says one of the goats, "if we'd have known it was you, we'd have taken you to Starbucks for a Frappacino!"

Blondechick was in the parable of the Good Samaritan. One of the Disciples invites "a few friends from the theater district" to help tell it. ("Oh no...not THEATER PEOPLE," Judas groans loudly.) "Can it be a musical? I love musicals," Jesus exclaims. And a musical it is, told with rewritten snippets from other musicals. From the victim's first steps ("Ease on Down the Road" from The Wiz) to "Suddenly Samaritan" (to the tune of "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors), musicals tell the story. The Priest who passes by on the other side of the road, costumed like Evita, sings, "Don't cry for me, you poor victim" (to the tune of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina"). Then it was Blondechick's turn, as a Judge.

Dressed like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde to give that judicial look (this shot was at a dress rehearsal before they found the perfect pink suit), she trots out to the front of the stage, bats her eyelashes, says, "Ready? Okay!" in her best saucy blonde voice, and sings:

When I see depressing creatures
With their dirty smelly features
I remind them on their own behalf
Celebrated heads of state, or
Especially great communicators
Did they lie down in the street?
Now don't make me laugh--He, he!
You're not pop-u-lar.
It's all about pop-u-oo-lar.
It's not about aptitude,
It's the way you're viewed,
So you'll have to pardon me,
'Cause you're not pop-u-lar

She finished with a heel kicked up in the air, to resounding applause each time!

(Click here to view the inimitable Kristin Chenoweth performing the original version of this very cute song, from the musical Wicked.)

It was impossible to get a good shot of Bantam12's part, since his scene was in half-darkness, but let me describe it. In "All for the Best," Jesus starts out the number with a little soft-shoe. Then Judas sings a counterpoint at twice the speed, then they sing together, and then are joined by a company of singer/dancers as the pace picks up. The final time through, the lights go out and a strobe light comes on, creating a frenetic feeling...and then the Keystone Cops run through the aisles and across the stage, bumping into each other and falling down as they chase Robbers in black and white stripes. They all stop frequently to face the audience, making faces and waving their arms, which, in the strobe light makes them look like they're in an old silent film. The Cops each catch two Robbers, holding their arms up in the air just as the lights come up for the Finale and hearty applause.

BUT, on Friday night in the half-darkness, Bantam12 slipped on the stairs in one of the aisles and knocked himself out. I saw him go down; then I saw the Cop hauling him to his feet. It didn't look like Bantam12 was helping him much, though, and then he looked so dazed in the lights that my first thought was, "Great acting!" But then he half-smiled, sort of inappropriately, I knew, as he's supposed to look sullen and hangdog. The Cop help him off the stage and no one noticed anything. Backstage, he was able to walk, but in a drunken fashion and kept repeatedly talking about his hat, which had fallen off in the aisle. Everyone started asking him if he was okay, as it became apparent that he was not!

I had made my way back to the Green Room by then and was quickly escorted to where he was standing. He was very confused about what had happened. He said he didn't remember anything except waking up in the Green Room; he thought he'd been asleep and he couldn't understand that. I left him for a minute and when I came back, he asked me if I had been there before. Every time I checked his pupils, he asked me if I had done that before, and he kept asking me if I had called his dad (I had). He was weak and a little nauseous when standing. He started talking about his next scene but couldn't remember where he entered from or who he stood near, and he got a little teary as he told me, "Mom, I don't want to forget everything."

My friend, a nurse, was in the audience and I found her at intermission; she talked to Bantam12, and then she and my husband (who was checking the internet by then) gave me a list of symptoms to watch for, especially those which meant he needed to go to the ER. Fortunately, he began to regain his memory and his strength, and though he had missed most of his scenes in the second act, he wanted to go on for the finale. I let him, since I knew he stood in the back and could just sit down, unnoticed, if need be--and he was fine. That night he had a headache, but he was okay the next morning and went on for both Saturday shows, under my watchful eye. So praise God for protecting him and our family from a much worse scenario!

So. Small parts; big memories!!


Donna Boucher said...

Thinking of you and saying a prayer, Jeanne.


martha said...

Praying for you today, Jeanne. Love, Martha

Erin said...

Oh, man! I'm glad he's ok!

Jenny in Ca said...

what a scary episode, so glad Bantam12 was o.k.

I am loving all your photos!