Mary, having been enrolled in a ballet/tap class for almost a year now, and having watched many hours of Angelina Ballerina before I banned the whiny little rat from the airwaves, considers herself something of an expert on dance performance. And since she has been watching me head out to rehearsal after dinner several times a week since January, she was more than intrigued and desperate to see what Mommy had been working on in her spare time.
"I want to go see you dance on the stage," she said repeatedly. I was nervous, however. Not that I didn't think she could handle the show's subject matter (It's 42nd Street, which in the world of performing arts is a freaking sugar cookie), but because I didn't know if she could handle two plus hours of sitting still and not talking and I was scared to try that out in a house full of paying audience members. My director came to the rescue and allowed her to attend the final dress rehearsal, in the company of my friend Meg.
There's nothing like getting a four year old's perspective on your months of hard work (and let me tell you, turning my sorry self into a tap dancer of any class was hard work).
The first time I stepped on the stage I heard a joyous "Mama!" from center house. That was an ego boost (and also affirmed my suspicions that, like her "mama," Mary is apt to comment her way through any performance. My mother hates to watch many films with my father and me for this reason. We're horrible). Then, apparently, she got annoyed whenever I left the stage. She would ask Meg where I'd gone. Apparently Mary felt I deserved constant stage time (that's my girl!).
Then there were the parts of the show she probably didn't get. People tripping over phone cords. People thrilled about finding a dime in a trash can (I'm not even 100 percent sure if, in this world of debit and credit, Mary could identify a dime on her own power). She wanted to know why people were so cranky (for those unfamiliar with the show, the main actress Dorothy is something of a...force to be reckoned with. And by that, I mean mean alcoholic. Maybe the subject matter is somewhat mature for a preschooler). And when the act one finale hit, from the audience, there was a loud "IS THE SHOW OVER NOW?"
So maybe we wait a few more years before bringing her to Broadway. But she was thrilled to go and wants to go back. I remember being eight or so and seeing some second cousin in a production of "Carousel." That's when I realized I wanted to be on stage, too. I wonder if Mary's got the acting bug herself now.
After hearing Mary and Anna fight over a napkin this afternoon, resulting in much wailing and gnashing of teeth when I took it away (literally, a napkin from Subway, and they were tugging it back and forth, about to go all Solomon on the thing), they certainly already have a flair for the dramatic.
I guess we'll see at the dance recital in June.