The Matron was a bit disappointed that the callback was so, well, uneventful.
She was also surprised, considering that several days ago, this message appeared on the answering machine. Conjure upbeat female voice:
"Hello! This is a message for Scarlett from the Children's Theater. Because winnowing down from 350 people was just so much fun, we decided to hold yet another open call in order to add a gazillion more children to the mix! That means Wednesday's callback will be the first of two! Instead of a 15 minute solo audition, you'll be doing singing, dancing and improvisation in a group. The final callback we save for the anointed and their runners-up."
Spool forward to Wednesday. Scarlett yawned the whole way there. "I'm so tired. How long will this take?"
Matron: "Aren't you a little bit excited?"
Scarlett (shrugs): "Not really."
Once there, each child received the same number they were given at their original audition. Scarlett pinned 226 to her chest. The Matron nearly fell over when 502 walked by.
The Matron, having learned some lessons, brought papers to grade and Riding Shotgun: Women Write about Their Mothers. This is a perfect book. She thinks you should read it!
And Scarlett yawned and languished and sighed and read her book as they waited in Rehearsal Room B. She nearly fell asleep, she was that noncholant.
At precisely 7 pm. someone came in and said: "Okay Group B! Step on up!"
Scarlett could barely stand, she was that weak in front of her mother. "Bye Mom," she moaned.
But in a magical moment, the Matron happened to catch a glimpse at her daughter -- who thought she was out of the maternal eye range -- and friends? The Matron now understands what the phrase 'gleam in her eye' really conveys. That child radiated and blew, energy just flying off of her. Those eyes blazed.
The Matron is not quite sure why Scarlett must establish portrait of stoic disinterest in front of her mother (and father). She suspects that her daughter wants to make clear: this is mine, not yours. So they will not share in the experience, in anyway, whatsoever.
And this Stage Mother thinks that is a very fine idea!
During the audition, the Matron kept her head low. She thought grading papers would make her far more unapproachable than reading so she spread out the whole darn mess and worked.
She did follow, however, the activities of another Stage Mother who had caught her eye earlier because she looked like her child's personal trainer. First, the woman wore a polyester workout suit with the top neatly tucked in. This suit was pink. Pop, pop, pop pink! With little white flowers around the edges. For some reason, this bothered the Matron who believes that pink flowered sweat suits in women over fifty are, well, frightening and possibly illegal. Contributing to the look was behavior: she carried her daughter's gear (the child was not a teen, easily 16) and handed her the water bottle whenever those lips required moistening.
The amazing thing was the daughter drank and handed the bottle back for her mother to hold, poised at her side for the next sip.
Maybe the Matron was doing it all wrong! Because earlier when she noticed all these water bottles and gear (what were these people carrying in the big bags?!), she asked Scarlett: "Do you need a drink of water?"
During the audition, Pink compared notes with several other mothers. They discussed upcoming auditions, directors, company politics and fine arts training. There were several groups and couplings, actually, parents who knew one another from previous shows. The Matron listened from time to time, but all they talked about was their children.
Yawn. There's a war going on, folks! A black man and a woman are duking it out to be President! Husbands to complain about! Jobs to discuss, local politics, and don't forget Al Franken!! Say it isn't so, Al. The Matron just can't help but be annoyed at you for owing $70,000 in back taxes from 17 states while you're running for Senate. She thinks that's just sloppy. Now even she doesn't want to vote for you! If your mistake means six more years of Norm, she will personally come after you!
And she has a secret weapon.
Friends, online and off?
The Matron now understands two things. First, the Stage Mother material is so rich, so textured, so fundamentally screwy and askew (and she means the psycho-dynamics, the people, the hours, the competition - every last little bit) that this could make a very fine book? The next YA novel?
Second, she now knows she possesses an amazing secret weapon. A tool so powerful that it can only be deployed with gratitude, respect and care-- your beautiful, unstoppable, indomitable good energy!
Because today this message appeared on the answering machine. Use the same voice you did for the first one: "Hello! This is the Children's Theater calling for Scarlett! Scarlett, we would like to see you at the final callback for Madeline and the Gypsies. The callback is one hour, 7-8 pm, this Sunday, May 4! Congratulations."
That zip and pop in the child's eye? The Matron can't help but think it was you. Thank you for that good energy!! She also believes that collective power planted that book idea. She's doubly indebted.
One more time? Sunday, 7-8. Aim that ray.
The greedy writer that lives inside the Matron? She thanks you!