The moment we walked into the darkened theater I saw the bare stage and spotlights, it all rushed back: the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd, the chills, thrills, magic, mystery, and wonder.
--Sarah Ban Breathnach
This week, I have spent every evening at Braeden's school, helping to feed the cast for the school play. Braeden is in the play* and so my service in feeding them is very self-interested. It's my one big chance each day to see my son. I love to see my dear boy interacting with his friends. I love meeting his new drama friends...who are um, dramatic. One night, Braeden led me backstage to show me the set. It was electrifying.
In my tiny little high school, I was in school plays. I remember rehearsing on an empty stage and then the magic that happened the week of the play when the set was complete. It was a different world.
Speaking of different worlds, Braeden's school and mine hardly resemble each other. At his school there's a parent Drama Booster Club. The parents provide meals for Tech Week and sell tickets and help advertise and sew costumes and build the sets and print glossy programs and sell concessions at the performances. There's a make-up room with big lighted mirrors and counter space to spread out. There's a costume room.
In my school, our director's kids sold tickets at the door. There was a xeroxed copy of a program. I think our director and a handful of kids did the sets. We found our own costumes and did each others' make-up in a classroom, sans mirror. Oh, and the final week of rehearsals, when we were there late (even later when the lead--often Marianne--had basketball practice too) we brought a sandwich from home. That's it.
But it was still exciting. I loved it.
At my ten year high school reunion, my drama teacher was there. He was always kind, a little bit creepy, a lot phony and always, always dramatic.
He said, "Thelma! Tell me you're still acting!" (As if the world would feel the loss if I wasn't.)
I didn't even know what to say to that. I was a young mother with two preschoolers and zero interest or time for acting. It did however provide a lot of entertainment to Olivia when I told her later. Occasionally she'll say to me, "Tell me you're still acting!"
Walking onto the set the other night with Braeden, I thought about being in school plays. I felt a little shiver of excitement for my son.
And I realized I AM still acting.
I am acting like I know what I'm doing being the mother of three very unique children with diverse needs. I have been acting for a long time.
And it's still just as scary and exhilarating as opening night.
*Braeden is an understudy but will be in the performance on November 12.