Last night (not Friday -- blame Blogger) was opening night of The Miracle Worker.
All afternoon, Scarlett worked on perfecting her poupourie of gifts for cast members, mostly handmade.
Because she's been busy with her own life and the feedback had been good, the Matron had not much fretted about Scarlett's actual performance. Yes, a fret here and there, but the thought was random.
Yesterday, that fear finally found her and settled into her chest for the entire day. All the Matron desired was this: "Please God don't let her be terrible. Don't have reviewers saying unkind things about her! Don't let her sunny, carefree, confident spirit suffer! Please don't let her do a bad job!"
The Matron does not even BELIEVE in God (or, well, maybe), but she sent out that mantra just the same. She didn't even care if Helen Keller was just competent or just okay. The main thing was not to suck.
At home, the Matron paced and fretted through dinner. Scarlett laid on the couch and chatted with Grandma Mary, the picture of poise. Indeed, she was more concerned with the precise packaging of those presents and the process of handing out, than the actual performance.
Still, she told the Matron that they were to leave the house at 6:07. On the nose. Because she wanted to be on the set checking props between 6:20 and 6:25. And she stood up at 6:03 and said, "Mom, aren't you ready?"
The drive to this theatre is 5 minutes. Actually, John holds the record for the best time and that is 4 minutes and 41 seconds (almost beat you today, sweetie). Payback for those trips to Wisconsin!
So the Matron fretted and paced and felt the demons in her belly. No, she even passed on that glass of wine in the lobby. She didn't want alcohol to numb her from genuinely acknowledging the suckification, should it occur. She needed to be completely in control of her senses.
And so the show opened.
The Matron held her breath as her daughter lunged, heaved, howled and crawled. She gasped during the food fight when Annie lifted Helen, time and again, and threw her onto a chair Every night, Scarlett comes home with bruises, cuts and scrapes. Yesterday? Four long ugly slivers and a new bruise. It's real, people. Scarlett's Helen is supposed to be a thinker -- happy to trick, happy to run, eager to fool--and the Matron thought that came out. She seemed smart.
As the lights went up at intermission, John beamed. Whew. But not the Matron. She is completely 100% subjective and utterly unreliable. She thought her daughter? For sure, did not suck. Good? Who knew. She was way to invested. But others?
The line in the ladies room told all. The buzz? Everybody's loving the show. But when a friend of Scarlett's runs up to the Matron and says: "Mary! Isn't Scarlett doing an incredible job!" all the ladies in line realize Stage Mother in their midst. Those dear women SHOWER the Matron with praise for her daughter.
Thus fortified (and soon, relieved, you know, that whole peeing every five minutes thing!), she had a glass of wine and thoroughly enjoyed Act 11.
The first review came in at Art Examiner. Whew!!
As the lights dimmed on the show, a few people stood up and cheered! And when Helen and Annie came running out, every single person instantly rose as one. Standing ovation.
Thank you, God-Buddha-Allah-Oprah. And she means it.