12.08.2004

And a child shall lead the way ...



Kids, right? I am working on a show right now with a bunch of kids. Seriously … me and the guy who plays my husband are the only 2 full-fledged card-carrying grown-ups, and then 3 half-adults (read: 25 or under), and a slew of 10-17 year-olds. It’s completely daunting. I have no idea what they’re thinking, and I have no frame of reference to even guess. Am I even semi-cool? Am I a complete dork just like I was in high school? Am I standoffish and snobby like I used to think most adults were? Do they care? Do I care? Do I care if they care? Do they care if I care if they care?

So … huh. Interesting. I guess I care.

And what’s that they say about kids & dogs (& robots or something)? Never work with them because they’ll upstage you every single time? I’m here to tell ya … it’s the truth, the little hooligans! And that’s exactly why you should work with them, every chance you get. These kids work my ass off, and god(dess) bless ‘em for it. Ain’t no free ride in this cast, Gannon. They make me earn every moment in the best way possible, and they remind me constantly what “in the moment” actually means.

If, at their age, I had been even one-quarter as self-possessed as these kids, I’d be the freakin’ (peaceful and benevolent) ruler of the world by now. Where do they get this confidence, and where the hell was it when I was 14? Can I buy it somewhere now? They are smart and funny and talented and distinctly un-shy and what galls me the most … non-awkward. How is this fair or even possible? I was a freak of a pre-teen and teen. The natural instincts they have on stage are exactly what some of us pay many thousands of dollars in training for … to learn tricks to approximate natural instincts. And then the years spent trying to un-learn it so we can finally return to our roots and be as open as we were when we were children.

I have treasured the whole process of this show … working with amazing human creatures on a truly feel-good holiday show. I would do it again in a second. If the audiences receive only a fraction of the gift I’ve been given this holiday season, every single one of them will walk out of the theatre with hearts singing, burdens lightened, faces smiling, and souls calmed. If only for a little while. And that, my friends, is theatre worth doing.

It’s the best “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” ever!