Sometimes we make decisions, with little forethought, that end up having profound impact on our lives – and the lives of those around us.
In early August, a friend called in the middle of a Tuesday. She said she was signing her daughter up for an acting class later that afternoon and was wondering if I wanted my daughters to join them. She added, “I went to this group’s production last spring, and every child there was happy. I decided right then we were going to do this.”
I trust my friend’s judgment. I want happy too and thought, “Why not? My girls enjoy theatrics.”
I had no idea that the minute-long conversation would take over a large portion of our family’s lives over the next few months.
Within minutes of arriving for class registration, I realized I was in for an experience unlike any I had ever signed up for with my daughters. Thirty minutes later, I was looking for things to hold on to as the metaphorical train I was on moved full-steam ahead.
Before we got home, my daughters and I were nearly frantic, re-enacting monologues as audition possibilities and singing every show tune we could. Within 24 hours of my friend’s phone call, I too had memorized a script from “Alice in Wonderland” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
I recognized and became fearful of the powerful urge to become a full-fledged stage mother, as I consciously had to stop mouthing the words of the songs my daughters were practicing.
By Friday, both auditioned. Saturday, they went for callbacks. By late Saturday, they were cast (in non-speaking roles, I should add) for a mid-October all-children production of Annie Jr. at Angelle Hall. We went through all the talk of “no small roles, only small people” and moved on to embracing their characters.
Since then, they’ve had theater class or practice three days a week. And they dance across the living room more often than they walk.
All in all, 67 children and teens were cast in the production. Volunteers are creating more than 80 costumes. The prop list is two pages long. The hours involved in putting this show together boggle my mind.
But it’s fun.
Piper, our 8-year-old daughter, will be one of the un-named orphans. At one of the first rehearsals, as the cast was preparing to practice, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” the director wanted to make sure all of the actors understood Annie’s story.
“We don’t have any orphans here,” the director said.
Both the director and Piper have relayed to me what happened next.
According to both sources, Piper raised her hand.
“Actually, I was an orphan,” she said. And, with that, she began to explain her version of events that led her from an orphanage in China to Lafayette. Turns out, her version includes references to Chinese politics, cultural traditions and divine intervention. The play, Annie Jr., seems to have helped her to better understand her own story.
You just never know where quickly made decisions may lead.