And for once I was SuperMom

Friday, July 5, 2013

Theater 101

               I've been looking forward to this Friday for a week.  Last week I saw a friend post a photo of her and her daughter at a local theater, North Shore Music Theater, waiting to watch a performance of Snow White.  Knowing that friend is more tuned in to local events than me and is very good at age appropriate planning I quickly clicked around and booked tickets online for the next showing of their fairy tale series; Cinderella's Wedding.
             I cringed at the story line, fearing that I was going to set my daughter up for a bedazzled, glittery, hang your hopes on a man feast.  I booked it anyway because I can tell she's been needing a date with Mommy and I really want to expose my children to theater.
             Some of my favorite memories growing up are of going to performances of The Nutcracker Suite, we went almost every year.  My mom would regularly buy us tickets to go see Broadway Musicals that were touring through San Diego.  I loved the magic of it all, getting dressed up, the festive atmosphere, the sparkle of it all.
           Now I'm wondering if my Mom just really likes the theater and it was an excuse to take us.  Her diabolical plan worked, and now I love the theater and can't wait to take my girls.  Just as my mom must have thought, you can excuse yourself to spend the money if you are going to spend it on your children as well.
           So at twelve dollars a ticket how could I refuse?  I know it's not going to be Broadway, but, heck, she's three, she won't know.
           This morning started off with a sad little trot on the elliptical, after straining my left calf I am relegated to gentle cardio, something to which I am unaccustomed.  I planned to put us in sundresses, because you should get dressed up for the theater, but I was assuming a 10am show for children probably didn't need my pearls.  Scott asked if I had a specific dress in mind, I told him the two I was going to let her choose from; a grey one or a pink one.  When I came back from the gym she had picked the pink (of course), so I followed suit and picked my pinkiest frock.  I said silent prayers for good behavior so as not to ruin our date.  I briefly asked her if she wanted a braid in her hair and then dropped it when I got resistance, no use jinxing myself.
           I think every Mom on the North Shore had the exact same idea that I did.  The parking lot and front of the theater was filled, filled, with little girls in sundresses and Moms in casual dresses.  Or grandmas.  Or aunts.  There were a few girls in crowns and blue satin Disney Cinderella dresses.  I thought that maybe I should have let Emma wear her Cinderella dress...then I remembered it's in storage.  I reasoned that I was glad I had her wear normal clothes, to teach her regular expectations for theater going.
           I was surprised to see concession stands outside and little girls bedecked with glowing crowns and butterfly wands.  A strange amalgamation of Disney marketing and theater.  In one particular memory of a theater experience we came out at intermission and there were very fancy people drinking champagne and eating very fancy foods.  I vaguely remember my mother buying me a chocolate truffle.  There was no popcorn and there were certainly no spangly sparkly crowns and crosses.  Emma did notice the light up crowns and I pointed some more girls out that had them.  I held my breath as we talked about them, she did not ask for one.  Thankfully.  I noticed that her little head did not quite clear the seat, I asked if she could see the stage, she said, 'yes.'  I was suspicious she didn't know what she was missing, I surreptitiously scrunched down to her eye level.  She could see the back of the head of the mom in front of her.  I offered my lap, she initially refused.  I saw several people with black plastic booster seats, but being suspicious of the oft nickeled and dimed feeling I get lately when attending any form of 'entertainment,' I didn't seek them out.
         Eventually the play started, after two visits to the potty and eons of waiting.  The circular stage positioned in the middle of the seats lit up, all went dark and we waited.  I was pretty curious to the quality of show we were about to get.  Kind of like Medieval Times with a knock-off Disney feel.  You could almost see the actors counting '1,2,3,and 4,' in their heads during the dance sequences.  And I am pretty sure that Prince Charming is to come out in about five years and Cinderella is going to end up divorced and confused.             And it was precisely perfect for Emma.  I am not sure how much of the story she followed, but she quickly climbed on my lap and was all eyes and ears for two hours. Currently I can hear here using lines from the play while playing by herself.
         Emma behaved as the princess while we were there, there were no accidents, she waited patiently during intermission and did not ask for popcorn instead of the snack produced from my huge mom bag.  I treated her special and she acted special.  A successful introduction to a theatrical experience.

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