I am participating in a local Youth Theater production with my nine year old twins. I have never tried to act before, but Kennedy, who has been in three different productions so far and is really coming into her own as an actress, roped me into this.
I couldn’t deny her.
We’re doing the Three Musketeers. There are some very good teenage actors as well as a bunch of children (age 7-10) and a few adults. The play itself is not very much like what Dumas wrote, but it’s filled with intrigue, sword fights, and the occasional damsel in distress.
One interesting thing about this setup is that, on stage, I am on equal footing with my kids. The director is the boss. This is kind of cool if my kids are goofing off because I can just ignore them and let the director be the heavy. If, on the other hand, I’m the one goofing off, then it’s just kind of pathetic. The other thing that’s interesting has to do with relating to teenagers. It’s hard to describe, but I realize I haven’t had much to do with teenagers since I was one.
For example, after work the other day I rushed to the theater and arrived a little late. One of my scenes had already started. Feeling somewhat self-conscious, I raced over to a group of seven- and eight-year olds, and said my line: “We’re so happy to see you!”
But it came out sort of tremulous and the director paused the rehearsal.
One of the Musketeers, a good looking boy, maybe 13 or 14 years old, was the first to speak. “Creepy,” he said. “You said that like Michael Jackson.”
I wasn’t sure if I should scold him or defend myself for being late. Finally I just laughed: He was right. It was a creepy delivery and could have only been improved by wringing my hands and panting.
Skewered by a 14 year old!
But it was satisfying to laugh with him and the rest of the cast. I felt like I was part of the group. When I was a teenager, I rarely felt that way. It’s too bad we didn’t have a drama club in my high school, but I’m glad my kids get to have this experience.