Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All the World's a Stage for Our Family

Mike and I were both involved in the theater in our teenage years--me behind the scenes, in the box office or as an usher, and Mike on the stage. We are both theater lovers and have been season ticket holders at Portland Center Stage for much of our married life, and we've also taken the kids to the Northwest Children's Theater and Oregon Children's Theater on a regular basis.

We started instilling the love of theater in our children at early stages...starting out with Portland's own Ladybug Theater for small children (which, incidentally, has been going since I was a child!), and Chris and Kieran have gone to summer camp with Michelle and Matt at the Ladybug Theater. Chris has also taken acting classes at school and at the community center.

It wasn't until this year, however, that he was finally able to act in his first play with a real script. His middle school produced "The Glass Slipper," a spoof on Cinderella. Chris' role was the announcer, Mr. Sez-So. They had two performances last week, and all of the parents were surprised at how well the kids did, given the difficulty of getting them all together in one place for rehearsals (with all their conflicting appointments in the afternoons) and the fact that they didn't seem very prepared a few days before their performance.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the performance or of Chris in costume...but here are some photos from the display in the hallway at the school. He did a great job! He put on an English accent for his role, and (ironically), his English cousin is also in a play this fall, putting on an American accent!

Here's Chris!

The younger kids were mesmerized by the performance, and the whole family enjoyed the show. It was a great experience for Chris, and he's looking forward to trying out for "Bye Bye Birdie," which they will be doing in the spring.

The men in our family seem to have the acting and performing gene. All four of them love to be in the spotlight. I am less apt to jump on stage unless I'm singing or making music.

Kieran has now decided that he wants to stage a play at Maplewood. This idea has been lying dormant for some time, as I recall him pushing this idea several months ago before he got to kindergarten. He heard the Gray principal talking about how the parent-volunteer director had approached him about putting on a fall show. So Kieran has decreed that Mike needs to talk to the Maplewood principal about producing "The Lion King." He will, of course, be Simba--we have a bit of a Lion King obsession going on at the moment. "Now I just have to decide who will do concessions..." (Mike was in charge of concessions last week.) I have a feeling that he's not going to drop this idea any time soon! He's been actively practicing his ROAR! He is so anxious to get on the stage.

Nicholas is our little songbird, and I have no doubt that it will be a matter of months before he's ready for his stage debut.

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being."
--Thornton Wilder
"Theater in America is a kind of weed sprouting up in the weirdest places. It's deeply democratic and deeply human, and I think it's one of the best things our culture does."
— Mac Wellman

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