Today the littles, my brother-in-law Leroy, my nephew Shaker and I went to the Grand Opera House to see Junie B. Jones the Musical.
I love that place. I really do. It put the art in architecture. Oh wait…..well, it is beautiful and a sight to gaze upon. Add in a live performance, and it’s one of my favorite places to be.
Today was Shaker’s and Leroy’s first visit to the Grand. We were in the right place at the right time and got front row balcony seats.
The play was funny and received many LOL’s (laughing out loud) from my crew. Especially when the two tall male actors came onstage as Lucille’s best friends who rhymed, Camille and Chenille. Because rhyming names is an important quality to have in a friend. Hilarious.
That’s when I sat up and took notice. Well we all did actually, but I started paying closer attention to exactly how many actors were in the performance. I mean, there were a lot of characters–Junie B, her Dad, her Mom, her teacher, the bus driver, two girls on the bus, Lucille, Herbert (I think that was his name–her new BFF), Gladys Gutzman, Camille, Chenille, three other classmates…..
That’s a lot of people.
Leroy said he thought there were maybe fifteen people putting on the performance.
I watched costume changes and was amazed that this one actress changed shoes with every costume and character change–and these were the lace up above the ankle Converse type sneakers. Nothing quick and easy. No slide on shoes for her.
Turns out Leroy was way off. When the play was over and they had the curtain call, there were six talented men and women on the stage.
Six. That’s it.
I was amazed and very impressed.
Leroy and I were talking about it this evening. He said, “Yeah, if that had been me, after about my third line or so, I would have said, ‘Okay, I’m outta here.'”
Me too. Based on costume changes alone.
While the guys who played the two girls were good, I was most intrigued by the young woman who played Lucille and Ricardo and a girl on the bus. Her costume change each time was from hair to toes. And she went from playing a girl to another girl to a boy with a distinctive accent. It was fun and mesmerizing to watch.
Leroy and I were very impressed with their changing roles and playing so many characters well.
After talking with him this evening about it, I headed out with my chauffeur hat on and delivered little people where they were supposed to be. While sitting and waiting, I went through my checklist on what I needed to do when we got home. And the rest of the week.
And then it hit me.
We are all like those actors and actresses, aren’t we?
Costume changes, role changes happening regularly, sometimes with only a moment’s notice.
And we do it.
The only difference is–
We’re winging it.
No rehearsals, no nets, no one to answer when we call out “Line!”
No second takes.
This is it. And we have to be ready for our next scene at all times.
Now that’s what’s impressive.
We don’t give up after a couple of lines or ask for an understudy to take on the role.
We get up, we get out there, and we do it.
Might not be an award-winning performance every single moment, but hey–we show up and we perform and we play more roles than we ever imagined we could.
I think that deserves a standing ovation.
Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to share live theater with those I love. I give thanks for the hands that built the building we sat in and for the powers that be who make sure it stays as it has always been, an important and beautiful part of our cultural story. I am thankful that the play was good, and that Shaker seemed to have a great time. Most of all, I give thanks for those in my life who play numerous roles and have set the bar way high for the smooth costume and role changes.
So what if we don’t always seem to get our lines right. The actress who played Ricardo entered the classroom as him and spoke in Spanish. “He” then explained that since he speaks two languages, it’s hard for him to remember which one he’s speaking at the time.
I feel you, Ricardo. It’s like that in real life too. Sometimes there’s so much going on, I don’t know which way to turn, let alone what needs to be said or what I’m trying to say or where I’m supposed to be. But, as with the other classmates, grace abounds and we move on.
Tonight I salute you all with a standing ovation. Way to go! You showed up. And you haven’t given up. It’s not easy, this living life thing, and you haven’t quit yet. That is phenomenal!
Who needs to hear the words “You done good” and get a standing ovation from you? It’s free, and it doesn’t take long, and it just might put a smile on someone’s face.
And that’s the gift that keeps on giving. Grace. Encouragement.
Bravo! Brava! Well done!
Love to all.