Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Show notes

The line snakes through the double doors closest to the auditorium, stretches past the main foyer and ends at the lobby front door. We time our arrival to the line perfectly, resulting in us happily standing about thirty people back from the front. With the two performances spaced out, day one at 1:00pm and the next at 4:00pm, there is plenty of room for friends and family to catch either one of the school's performance of Alice in Wonderland. The long line is filled with chatter and anticipation finally ready to see day one of the finished production, a production that ended up being cut from a nine day schedule to seven after a few days of snowy weather. Suddenly the line perks up and begins move into the auditorium, people quickly finding their seating preferences, scan the playbill and do a last minute check that phones are off and cameras are on.

I flip open my camera as the lights go dim. I know my son is mostly in the first half, but I do not know when the first appearance of Tweedldee and Tweedledum will hit the stage. My son is the latter of the twin characters, with his friend playing the other Tweedle. The play starts, Alice whining and fidgety about her boring life, until everything she knows it turned upside down as she descends down the rabbit hole. The stage is filled with kids singing the catchy songs and swaying to the rehearsed steps, while the audience is gushing about their future stage stars. As quickly as the white rabbit dashes across the stage fretting over lateness, Alice is questioning which direction to take. Suddenly out of the side stage, Tweedledee and Tweedledum bobble out, banter about their sense of direction and hurl a few quick insults at each other. I am grinning like the cheshire cat seeing my son effortlessly recite his lines and confidently work the stage. A couple of fun songs and later Alice needs another nudging, which calls for another appearance of the Tweedles. First Dum proclaims, "He went that-a-way..." then Dee retorts "No he went that-a-way...", ending with another round of parting shots at each other as they waddle off the stage. 

At their third appearance on stage, I finally realize I have a camera in my hand and proceed to snap a few photos of Tweedledum, mostly of his side and his back as I try not to stand up and run around the auditorium like paparazzi seeking the best side of an actor climbing out the window of some rehab facility. I remain calm knowing that I have two performances to capture the essence of the Tweedles. 

The last number involves the full cast and reprises the signature song, which gets the audience cheering and clapping to close the show. The lights go on and we all make our way to the lobby and wait for our little thespians get out of their costumes and back into street clothes. My wife and I are chatting when I see our son step through the doors, t-shirt, black shorts and big red circles on each cheek. Everyone gives him a great hug, proud of his accomplishment and his performance, he quietly thanks everyone for coming, As we stand outside the auditorium, someone asks which way is the exit, we look at each other and exclaim..."You go that-a-way!" 


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