“Thank you!”…


Did I mention that I may have volunteered to help with the school play?

Well, I did.

That’s right. You’re looking at the new assistant director. It’s my fault. I went to the meeting.

I’ve been getting the e-mails for months now about how they desperately need an assistant director for the school play. I wanted to volunteer, but I have a four year-old and a one year-old. How much am I really going to accomplish?

Also, I heard through the elementary school grapevine that the current director has been doing it for years and since her youngest is now in fifth grade, that’s it. She’s out. This is her last year, and so the assistant director’s chair falls in a bit more of a spotlight than I had hoped for.

Sure enough, in the first meeting after listing my minor and brief experience with theatre that far trumped anyone else’s experience in the circle one lady said, “I am so glad we have someone to direct the play next year.”

I said, “Let’s just take it one year at a time.”

So, now I’ve helped with the auditions, callbacks, and casting of an elementary school play and let me tell you it is like “House of Cards” out there, people! The politics! “So-and-so’s Mom is running costumes, she’s gotta have a line!” “This kid’s in fifth grade, it’s his last year!” “I’ve tried sticking this kid in a narrator part before and his mom was not having it.”

And … wait for it … I’ve already gotten my first angry parent e-mail.

That’s right. It was the last group of auditioning fourth and fifth graders. I was running dangerously close to my paid parking threshold and didn’t want to get a ticket. And the casting directors weren’t cutting any of the little darlings short. And some of the kids sang long songs.

Evidently, one kid the day before had sung an “original song” entitled “One Hundred Pirates on a Treasure Chest” to the tune of “One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall”. And he sang the whole thing. No one had the heart to cut him off and this kid sang his way all the way down to one.

So, I explained to the last group, after the fortifying blurb that, indeed, everyone was going to get a part, not to worry, blah blah blah, because heaven forbid anyone experience the sting of defeat, that we were running short on time and I would have to cut them off after a minute of their song. The first boy came up. His song of choice was “Radioactive”. After a good listen, when we had all made our notes I gave him a crisp, “Thank you” and a huge smile.

The next day I had an e-mail forwarded to me.

The e-mail referred to me as “that girl in the middle”, and listed my crime as cutting off her son before he could get to the chorus at which point in time his “darling personality” was supposed to have been revealed.

There was also a response from the director who defended me gallantly to the mother, which I appreciate.

But, I mean, well … welcome to the elementary school play, Barbara!

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