Friday, April 24, 2009

Bright Lights, Big Stage

Today, Maya attended her first theater production.

Circoluna (Circus Moon) at the renowned Minnesota Children's Theatre Company featured the world's only shadow circus, an audience that averaged three feet tall, and piles of sock puppets to entertain the restless monkeys before the show.

Of course, no matter how well you know your child, no matter how realistic you aim to be, there is always discord between the image in your head when you purchase the tickets and the reality when you arrive to the show.

As Joe punched in our credit card number to reserve the tickets, we excitedly pondered the Disneyfied version of how it might go: Maya aglow in her prettiest dress, eager and curious about the events on stage, thoroughly entertained by everything she saw.... and asleep on the ride home after all the excitement.

Reality was much more quirky and entertaining. Maya went back and forth to the bucket of sock puppets no fewer than four times before finally getting brave enough to wear them. Then she scoped out the snack counter and declared herself starving, despite a snack in the car.

When I refused that, she took the time to look around at all the other kids, and was suddenly overwhelmed and timid, traits I rarely see in her. While we waited to be guided into the theater (restless children are wisely kept far away from the stage before the show), Maya grew more and more nervous. Her expression says it all:

Once we were ushered into the theater, Maya was more than a little alarmed when I asked her to sit on the small benches up front with a passel of other eager preschoolers. So I sat nearby, in the aisle. Five minutes into the show, it was clear that my hovering perch was more for me than for her.

The excitement of the show, the lights, the puppets, the sound effects, completely enthralled her, making her brave and creating an instant bond with the children around her.

I was enthralled too. I watched her every expression. She laughed and clapped through most of the show, turning to me from time to time to mouth "This is so funny." She covered her mouth with her hands when Luna's light went missing, and blew fairy dust onto the stage with the other kids to help find it.

I guess most of the morning was pretty true to our vision. Her mix-matched, self-selected outfit was much more her style than a princess dress. Her outburst mid-show, when she stood up and said loudly, "Mama, mama, I'm still really hungry. Can we get a cookie on the way out?" was a classic, "who's kid is that?" moment. In that crowd, it was fairly easy to feign anonymity.... until she started to ask again. With a hasty nod and some covert gestures, I had her seated, quiet, and enthralled once more.

Later, while we lunched, Maya told Elliot all about her date with mama, and assured her little sister that, when she was a big three-year-old, she could come see the bright lights and big stage too.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

A star is born! So glad you got to see the play! Have a great weekend! LOVE MOM


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