We are lucky enough to live a stone’s throw away from a college. There are certainly drawbacks to living on a college campus, like when the students are on the prowl at 1am Saturday mornings and yell and laugh and fill the early morning air with their drunken post-adolescent angst. Or when they steal our pride flags. Or when they leave a container of half-eaten chicken tenders outside in our stroller and beer cans on our lawn.
Anyhow, it’s a mixed bag. But one of the good things about the college is that they have children’s programming on random Wednesdays and it’s free to the public. Unemployed as I am, I was able to take Boychild to two consecutive Wednesdays of live entertainment.
First up were three clowns with bubbles and balloons and an anthropomorphic mop, which he enjoyed. Well, lemme clarify: he really enjoyed the person dressed up as a T-Rex who chased the three clowns. He also enjoyed the fake cat that they threw onstage. “He made the cat fly!” he exclaimed during the show. Boychild was adamant that he should be allowed to go up on stage. He really wanted to be a part of the show, but I successfully derailed his attempts at stardom. At the end of the show, the clowns tried to make a giant bubble, but never managed to get it going. Boychild turned to me and said, “They tried so hard, mama.” Swoon! Love this guy. So caring. We met the clowns after the show and they were gracious and funny and tried to give Boychild a balloon from the show, but he ran away from it. He’s scared of balloons now?
Next was Peter and the Wolf with an orchestra, dancers and narrator. I have my own personal journey with Peter and the Wolf. The first time I got a leading role was the Wolf in my little ballet class when I was, oh, 11? It was great! I can still hear the screams of the scared little kids when I came out onstage. I also had a reinforced tail that was stitched to a pair of hot pants under my fur suit. So awesome. I got to jump and snarl and eat a duck and scare children- pretty much the best moment of my life up ‘til then. So when I heard there was a performance, I knew BC and I had to go.
I came prepared with plenty of snacks and drinks to occupy Boychild while everyone got seated and so forth. Prior to the performance, we had some lovely music introduced to us by the conductor. BC is in that phase where he repeats everything loudly, so each time the conductor mentioned something, BC repeated it for at the entire auditorium of 400 schoolkids to hear.
“And first we have the Peasant Dance,” said the conductor.
“Ma. Maaa! That’s the preasant dance,” says Boychild.
“I’d like to remind our audience to please remain quiet during the performance,” said the conductor.
“He wants us to be quiet,” says Boychild at full volume.
And so on. During the actual piece, BC gave a running commentary on the animals, letting me know where the cat was, what they were doing to the wolf and that the duck had duck feet. He also laughed and kept checking in with me to make sure I was laughing too. It was adorable, and despite his loud audience behavior, everyone surrounding us found him (mostly) hilarious and charming too. But then he wanted to switch seats and began to march down the aisle. I chased him down and then he started to shriek and hit me in the head, which prompted a move to the lobby, where a concerned box office staffer asked me if he was okay. I wanted to say “define ‘okay’. I mean, he’s two, so this is normal but not really that okay. ” He walked and screamed for a bit, then we reentered just in time to see the Wolf being taken to the zoo. All was resolved, both on stage and in the house. There was much applause. Is there anything cuter than baby applause? Those two little chubby hands smacking together and the little face not really understanding why they’re doing it but enjoying it anyway? So cute.
After the show, we got to go up to the lighting booth and make the stage different colors! Then we screamed and cried all the way home. I’m doing my part to raise the next generation of theater-goer. If you, too are taking a toddler to the theater, might I recommend that each show contain a person in a T-Rex suit? Oh, and bring lots of snacks.