An Introduction to Theater

It is two days before Christmas, and our traditions are in full swing. The elf has been cleverly hidden each day, our advent calendar has seen treats depart, and many batches of toffee have been made. Yesterday, however, we departed from our tradition and added a first-time experience to our lineup of activities. At Maddie’s request, we attended our first full-length play at an actual theater.

Over the last few years, we have attended some smaller shows put on by a local theater group. Those are typically one hour in length and in a small room in an art program building. The same group puts on a holiday production each year that is geared toward the younger crowd. That production is always full length at the larger theater. Given the girls’ attention span, I have never thought to attend it.

At the end of the short play we attended this year, however, Maddie heard words that lit up her eyes. The holiday show this year would be Beauty and the Beast. There was no doubt in Maddie’s mind. We would be attending.

The morning of the show, both girls were excited. They dressed in their finest and insisted that their hair be curled. Actually, Riley insisted that her hair be straightened first and then curled. Her intent gaze on the straightener let me know that no logic would reason with her. So, with hair straightened and then curled, we left the house for a luxurious pre-show meal.

Our meal was actually at a local IU restaurant that serves both breakfast and lunch at the same time and was a hangout for those hungover students. But, today it was a luxurious pre-show meal. Riley and Maddie feasted on a pancake the size of their heads and ate almost every jelly packet on the table. Stomachs full and faces washed, we headed to the show.

Maddie, who is appropriately scared of grown-ups dressed in animal costumes, needed quite a few pep talks and assurances that the beast would not be near her to enter the theater. Once she did, she was taken. The girls both enjoyed the theater itself, but you could see that Maddie had a particular interest.

The show was good. There were some strange songs thrown in with original Disney songs, but the cast did an excellent job. Maddie watched the whole show with fascination on her Grammy’s lap. She was absolutely taken with the story, the characters, and the theatrics. Her only criticism was that Belle’s hair was not appropriately put in a bun as it should have been when she changed into the yellow dress. Sigh, she is my daughter.

Riley, who is also very much my daughter, had a hard time sitting still and was very ready to go by the time the second act rolled around. A bag of popcorn kept her content.

When we got home, we downloaded the Disney movie version, and Maddie spent the evening telling me the differences between the show and movie. It’s hard to tell whether she will grow up to be an actor or director. Either way, it seems the theater is in her blood.