Monday, July 06, 2009

The show must go on...

I mentioned here, that as usual in this manically busy time of year (it's worse then Christmas I tell you), that between the kids we have had to attend six shows, and they also have four music exams. My fault for allowing them to do extracurricular stuff I know, but they do love it (-:

No 1 spent the first half of last week singing in the chorus of the school production of The Boyfriend. Every other year the school put on a big show at the local theatre, so I spent a large part of last week dropping her off and picking her up from there. As this is also the same place where all of them do drama, I ended up there every day last week apart from Thursday, and on Saturday I think we managed about four trips back and forth.

On top of that no 4 ends her year in drama class with a little presentation, which took place on Wednesday evening, finishing at 5.45pm. No 1 had to be at the theatre for 6.30pm to get ready for the show at 7.30pm. This made a bit of a problem with regards to feeding offspring. So after some discussion, Spouse and I agreed on Tuesday that I'd grab a takeaway from McDonalds nearest the theatre which closes at 6, leave no 1 behind and come home. However, never let it be said that the course of a maniac mother's life should run smooth. Spouse texted me (this is still so novel, he's only just learnt how to use a mobile phone properly) to say he was in Wilkinson's. After no 4's performance, a slightly baffling story about the seaside, I rang him to say we were heading over to McDonald's. I should add here, that we have two McDonald's, the other being in the High Street. At some point in our discussions of the previous night, I had mooted (and discounted) the possibilty of us all eating there prior to the show. However, thanks to the overbusyness of life, and a classic piece of Marital Misunderstanding, where I had understood I would be buying takeaways from the nearer Macs, Spouse had understood the opposite. Which is how we came to be in two different places and had a Moment of Major Marital Dysfunciton causing no 1 to disown us entirely...

Having eventually hooked up, we left no 1 to the fun of backstage, dashed home, fed children, watered plants, put on washing and then came back. Domestic life is such bliss sometimes.

Due to information overload at some point (can't on earth think why), I had inadvertently ordered the wrong tickets to start with. This was not helped by the fact that no 1 managed to lose cheque and order form at school, so I had a very confusing conversation with the woman running the box office as to a) what I wanted (I had completely forgotten) and b) whether or not my cheque had been cashed. The upshot was that we got seats right at the back, which was quite possibly the hottest place in the theatre.

I have seen The Boyfriend once before, when my own school put it on, and couldn't remember anything about it. The plot is pretty lame (but I have been reliably informed it's a parody), about a rich girl searching for a boyfriend, but wanting him to love her for herself not her money, but the songs are quite jolly, and I recognised most of them. For a school production the quality of the performance was very high, especially as girls were playing male roles. Over the years I have sat through any number of dire dire school shows, so this was a lot more fun. But what impressed most, I think was the enthusiasm and energy of the kids. They were fantastic, and it was almost worth seeing for that alone. I wish I could have some of their energy again. (Oh, I can't, I'm all worn out, making sure my children get to their rehearsals on time (-:)

Boyfriend over, and no 1 pulled down from the huge high she's been on for days, it was time to think about the next show, which was one she was doing with her drama group. Friday found me back at the theatre again, dropping off nos 2&3 for rehearsal for their presentation on Saturday morning, collecting them and dropping off no 1, then going back at 10pm (yes I did say 10pm, I can feel the end of my social life for the next ten years fast approaching) to get no 1, after which I certainly did pour myself a very large drink.

Saturday morning I made the mistake of thinking we could still fit swimming in. My first mistake. We got into the car at 9.50, leaving us ten minutes to nip home to pick up the gear they needed for drama. I am quite prepared to think I had been told before Friday night, when the letter came home, that they needed to be wearing black leggings, tee-shirts, and jazz shoes/plimsolls, but quite frankly the way things have been round here lately, I'm lucky if I can remember what I had for breakfast five minutes ago, so I had completely forgotten to check out the situation viz a viz shoes. My second mistake. No 2 does have a pair of jazz shoes, but no 3 doesn't. She announced five minutes before swimming that she had left her plimsolls at home. Grr. We then got back from the pool to discover that no 2 couldn't find her jazz shoes. This may also have been my fault. In my manic cleaning for the Great Party, I have clearly put her jazz shoes somewhere so incredibly safe, I can no longer find them. That memory lapse thing falling usefully into play just at a point when my brain could do with a reboot. After ten minutes fruitless searching and another moment of Major Marital Dysfunction, we dropped them to the theatre twenty minutes late. Whoops.

Then it was back home AGAIN, with just enough time for a cup of tea, before whizzing back to the theatre (I am beginning to loathe the sight of it), where I left Spouse and no 4 to watch drama, while I took no 1 to her singing exam.

No 1 loves singing, and her singing teacher seems to think she's quite good at it. I do to, the little I've heard of her, because bafflingly, I don't EVER hear her sing. She's constantly on the piano, and not enough on the guitar, but while she clearly DOES practise her singing, as the singing teacher usually seems impressed, I have no idea when. Maybe she gets up in the middle of the night when we're all asleep. Anyway, practise or no, suddenly she was a gibbering wreck, so I had to sit her down in the sunshine and say, Look what's the worst that can happen? I couldsingmajorinsteadofminorforgetmywordsbeoutoftunemissthebeat she babbled incoherently. Right. And on a scale of 1 to 10 this is how likely? No 1 seems to need me less and less, so it was nice for once to think she wanted advice from her mother...

I have no idea how it went, other then that she thought she'd done two songs better then anticipated, but at least it's now over and we don't have to worry about singing again till the autumn. Fortuitously we were able to hook up with Spouse and the others who'd finished at more or less the same time, and after a bit of necessary food shopping, we hopped home for lunch, before I was out again to take no 1 to her rehearsal and no 4 to a football party. Yes. I know she's a girl, but all her mates bar about two are boys, and sometimes she thinks she is too.

At that point I did collapse on the sofa and paid the appropriate tribute to the snoozefest that was Williams v Williams by falling asleep.

But no rest for the wicked. At 5.15 I had to rouse myself to go and pick up no4 from her party, and then after much debate (and keenly trying to avoid another Major Marital Dysfunctional Moment) we agreed to meet Lovely Sister and Niece who were coming to the show at the station and eat in a restaurant near the theatre. This was by far the least stressful option (I having no energy left to even contemplate feeding people), but we still managed to get to the show with only about a minute to spare.

The show itself was... well... baffling. Mainly. The drama group were celebrating fifteen years since their formation, so the show was a medley of all the 41 (yes I did say 41) shows they've ever done. The bits that worked were very funny, like Bugsy Malone done in Shakespearian verse, and West Side Story told in five minutes, but there were several confusing commercial breaks which no one understood, not even the performers, and the whole was a bit of a mishmash. Having said that, the quality of the singing and dancing was very high again, and there are some very very talented kids who were really impressive. No 1 had a few lines for the first time, and managed to not only put on a northern accent, but actually carry it off. Given that this time last year she sulked all the way through a performance she was in on a holiday drama scheme, it was great so see how much fun she was having and how relaxed she was. Because the best thing as far as I'm concerned about the drama group as that it has really given her confidence and boosted her self esteem, which was at a low ebb for a long time as she came to terms with switching schools.

And again, the most fun thing about the show was the energy and enthusiasm of the kids. They gave it their all, and even where it was incomprehensible, it sort of didn't matter somehow, because you could see how much fun they were having.

Yesterday, funnily enough, we didn't rise incredibly early, but we couldn't just sit around all day in our pjs, as we'd been invited to a summer party by a school mum chum. This being the only thing all weekend that I really really wanted to do, naturally I couldn't spend as long there as I'd have liked, as no 1 had booked a ticket to see Twelfth Night with the school. Being completely unable to bar my children from important cultural experiences, I had no option but to let her go. Which meant driving her and two of her friends on an hour round trip. Words failed me when we got there and she announced she'd left her ticket at home...

Still, she did enjoy the performance, and I'm glad she's beginning to get the importance of Shakespeare, so I can't really complain.

But I am gladder still that I won't be spending this week parked outside the theatre, have no plays to watch this week, and the end of term is fast approaching. Any more of this and I'll suffer from complete systems overload...

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