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The Play’s the Thing

Kathryn Thompson

Right now the play’s the only thing.  Laylee’s in a community theatre production of A Christmas Story, not THE Christmas Story starring Baby Jesus, but A Christmas Story starring Ralphie, the boy who might shoot his eye out.  We are eating, sleeping and breathing community theatre this week and Laylee speaks not a word in the entire play.  She’s more set dressing than actress and she’s having the time of her life.

Tonight she tried to convince me that she couldn’t wear her hearing aids in the play because they weren’t appropriate for the time period.  Nice try Buckwheat!  It’s not that I don’t care about authenticity, but I think she’s a more authentic actress when she can hear what the heck’s going on around her.

I spent all day last Saturday sewing her what I hope is a 1940s-style school dress and all day Sunday crocheting a hat and scarf with my mother-in-law for Laylee’s outdoor scenes.  Dan spent a good chunk of Saturday building and decorating the set and Laylee is out until 9 or 10pm every night, reading and doing homework in the green room and waiting for her turn on stage.

Apparently sometimes she waits too patiently, so patiently that she forgets to go on for her ten seconds of fame because she’s so absorbed in her latest love affair with a book.  This simultaneously horrifies and delights me.  I’m horrified that I spent so many hours of my life driving her around and working on her costume, only to have her forget to go onstage for her scenes, but delighted at the thought of her curled up in a back room at the high school, reading her heart out, oblivious to the world around her.

Magoo wants to be a part of her acting debut, begging to sit through boring rehearsals and watch “just ONE more scene!” and Wanda is oblivious and dirty and her nose is running because she is two. 

Our family is bonding over this little side-trip into acting in a way I hadn’t anticipated.  We’re all taking ownership over the final product and every one of us is proud of Laylee and supportive of the whole process.  It’s fun to watch her confidence grow as she learns to schedule her time to make room for play practice and she gets comfortable attending rehearsals up at the high school without me.

My little Laylee is growing up.  I can’t explain how seeing her stand silently on stage for two seconds makes her seem so much older to me.  It just does.  Maybe it’s because of how much time she spends away from me and how well she’s handling the pressure of something totally new and outside her comfort zone.  Whatever it is, I like it. 

As sad as I am to see my kids grow up, there’s something amazing about the transition.  It’s really fun to watch her figure out who she is away from me and there’s an excitement in wondering what she’ll do and become next. 

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