A couple of weeks ago Surfer Dude's class put on a play about the Jamestown settlement as part of a history lesson. Somehow he and one of his best friends ended up with two of the larger parts, and we were on pins and needles leading up to the performance. We ran through lines until he had them down cold. He emoted from one room of the house to the next. Then in front of a school day audience of parents and lower grade children, their class brought Jamestown to life. Beautifully.
And he's had the acting bug ever since. Like there isn't enough drama in this house already.
His friend may have even been bitten harder, although that's difficult to imagine. The friend's dad (who is a good friend) and I tried to steer them into the same drama class that Gumby is going to be taking this spring, but they were too young. But...there is a play being staged in March that was holding open auditions - and they wanted to go. They were casting adults and children, and from the sounds there were not a lot of parts available, but the kids were determined. They would also be casting some extras and understudies. If you survived the first cut call backs would be Sunday. I privately said to the Film Geek that for $40 a kid to be in the play the producers would find as many parts as kids who showed up. I'm cynical that way. I can't help it. (I also made a point of taking Surfer Dude to this thing myself, since the FG and this director have worked together many times and I didn't think that should be a factor in his decision. On the subject of cynical).
So Saturday afternoon we showed up for the auditions. Self esteem not being one of his issues, he was convinced that he had a lead part in the bag. I tried to insert a little reality into his fantasy, as I knew they were expecting a full house of applicants and that he had no real experience besides school stuff. I pointed out that he had several friends trying out and they all wanted the same parts. I told him it was all about the experience and if he didn't get a part it wouldn't be the end of the world. I said to get out there and do the best job he could and not worry about the rest of it. Most of all, I said, have fun.
The theater was full of parents and kids. There were a bunch of people I knew, including a lot of the kids trying out. It was social hour for the adults as their kids went up on the stage. The director ran them through their paces and then broke them into groups. For three hours he had them run through lines in various formations. I was so nervous I had to take the stitches out of the hat I was knitting two times. I should have given myself a pep talk while I was at it.
When it was over the friend's dad and I privately agreed that, though they had done well, they probably didn't have a realistic chance at a part. There were a lot of kids there with experience. And, most importantly, the big audition scene our guys did was with adults who chewed the scenery and spit it out. Our kids could barely get a word in edgewise. But they had had fun and gained some experience, and that was a good enough thing.
Two hours after we got home we got the call back notification for today. So did the friend. As we were dancing around the kitchen singing at the top of our lungs (and dodging butt biting dogs who get all weird when we dance) I didn't really feel cynical about the reasons. The joy on this kid's face was priceless. I'd love to think it was because he knocked their socks off.
But if every single person who showed up gets a part, I can totally handle that.