Monday, April 30, 2012

Tech Week

Ah, tech week.

Now, the Matron has never before experienced the dreaded all-intensive tech week herself.  She has lived it only through her daughter, who has pretty much lived onstage since she was seven.

In fact, yours truly is an accidental tech week participant.  She began in a very round-about way by volunteering to READ with third-graders in Merrick's Montessori classroom.  See Merrick, above, as definition of Absolute Perfection.

Those little gung-ho readers--squiggly and animated --  soon proclaimed themselves beyond The Junior Great Books.  Why, they could write a better story!  Why!  They could write a play!   Imagination unleashed they envisioned a wicked witch, active volcano, magic golden stone, and talking animals.  

What could the Matron do but turn those tales into a play?  She wrote a script, assigned roles, secured costumes and parental consent.  Publicist, producer, director, playwright, she secured space with the school and won the principal's approval.

This Wednesday, In The Land of Between makes its world premier.  Parents are coming.  Video cameras will be out.  Cookies are made.  The kindergarten classes will stream into the school atrium and settle in.

The Matron, whose original volunteer responsibilities originated as 45 minutes a WEEK will be up to her slender elbows in talking animals and an active volcano (she's not even going to tell you how she made that trick!) for HOURS this week until the grand event.

However, the play has led Matron to a new great love of her life. In addition to her very own Elmer the Talking Mouse (Merrick!), there's the Narrator.  Narrator is the teeniest, tiniest third-grade girl ever, a wisp with wire-rim glasses and scraggly shoulder length hair.  

Narrator knows every line in the play.  Narrator knows where every scrap of paper should land and she'll tell you.  But sweetly, for Narrator is NOT a tyrant but quite simply a 45 year old organized woman waiting to be emerge.  Why, Narrator could be (but is not) the Matron.  Narrator chews on her pencil and watches the entire play with concern and sympathy.  She fusses over other children's costumes, vacuums when the set is cleaned up and produced programs she typed herself at home.

Narrator is "just more comfortable with a clipboard."   Her own words.

Narrator to Matron:  "Mary this production is a disaster.  Could you bring papaya lozenges next time?  I'm getting a nervous stomach."

Narrator to Matron:  "Mary, did you notice that you forgot a comma on page 3 and 8?  There are also four typos, labelled for correction, and a sentence fragment on page 6.  Did you ever take typing classes?"

Narrator to Matron:  "Mary this play is a metaphor, right?  About moving onto another phase in life and maybe even death -- like the Old Man?"

Oh how the Matron loves Narrator.  Her little right hand man!  

Narrator will grow up someday and never ever attend the Matron's college.  No.  She will be at Harvard or MIT majoring in poetry and neuroscience.

Elmer the Talking Mouse, on the other hand, will be lucky to find his way out of a field.   His most frequently uttered line is "OH THAT'S RIGHT" and it is not even in the script.  It is what he says that -- with a look of delighted stupor on his face--when Narrator reminds him of:  what he's supposed to do, where he is supposed to stand, what he should say and where his mouse tail is.

Matron to Narrator, fondly:  "Maybe somebody made a mistake at the hospital.   Have you ever heard about the 'babies switched at birth' problem?  It's real, you know."

Narrator taking in Elmer who is trying to climb the volcano with a rubber chicken in his hand.  "But he's SUPER CUTE, Mary."

Yes, two smart cookies, felled by one hapless, adorable someday-man.

Wish her luck!   Especially with the volcano which shoots rubber chickens and wrapped gum.