On the Tuesday of production week of a high school musical, everyone cries. It's just a standard rule of the business. Things that were perfect suddenly fall apart, the lead gets sick, the stage right wall falls over, everything runs incredibly slow and you don't have time for notes at the end...and you REALLY need to give some notes. That's pretty much how it goes. You try not to panic, but you know in your heart that it's really to late to fix everything, and que sera sera. But you're...disappointed.
Tonight wasn't like that. Tonight went really well.
And, sidebar...I have come to realize that if I were to tag topics in this blog, the whole "high school theater director" thing would come up a lot. I didn't know it would go that way when I started this, but I am realizing that that's exactly what has happened. I have a lot of other passions in my life, but a lot of them are too personal to write about. I don't say much about my marriage on this blog, though it could be a blog in itself. Really. But it's more than I want to tell you. And I was actually chastised for not writing more about my children, which made me feel both selfish and oddly assured. Selfish, because out of everything I am doing right now for "work" in my life, that is the most important. I am raising Little Women. It should get more "air time," so to speak. But assured because when I set out on this whole mothering road, I was determined not to let it be my only way of defining myself. I saw how easy it would be for me to shut myself off to all of the other parts of myself, and how unhealthy that would be for me. I don't think everyone does that, but I think that I would have been in danger of that had I not made a very deliberate choice not to do so. I'm kind of proud to know that regardless of how selfish it might seem, I am still a whole entire person, all my very own. That person writes about whatever is stirring her soul in that particular moment.
Anyhoo... directing. This blog has turned out to be the blog of a high school director. I sometimes think that this world...this little microcosm of the cast of Glee and the freshmen who know every lyric to Sweeney Todd, and the kids who put on tap shoes for the first and only time when they are 15...this world would make a cool reality show. Their little romances and their funny vernacular and their family conflicts and the way they leave it all behind when they show up the in the auditorium, the smell of which will always be the real smell of home. People would watch that show, and the Misfit Toys would have a whole bunch of people just rooting for them, and it would be a big burst of positive energy in the world. Kind of like that episode with the wheelchair kid from Glee. Couldn't have been cornier, but didn't you kind of feel better about the world after you saw that?
Anyway, these kids, my students who I only get for such a short time, are so brave, and so open to the world to get up on the stage and wear an awkward dress and try to tap dance in front of kids from the lacrosse team and kiss a boy, if they're lucky, at the cast party. I just love that they have this. I love that I get to be a part of helping to create it for them.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know about Matt. This Thursday, our opening night, would have been Matt's nineteenth birthday. And his mother, whose child has now left this world, is coming to see the show. That's how brave she is, and how much this thing that we do matters. The way she wants to mark his birthday is to come to see our little high school musical. We have a bouquet of roses that we are setting on a chair for Matt, and a card we'll sign tomorrow, and a variety of small, private tributes to him in the show. I hope that it will bring her some measure of comfort.
And so, on this Tuesday night of production week where everyone cries...some set changes were slow. The leading lady's dresses were ugly. The props weren't quite ready. But the kids showed up, and they strapped on their tap shoes and they had their little dramas and blew off their homework and had little surges of adrenaline and pride. I don't know what will happen in these next few days. I will do all that I can to help them feel as supported as possible, but then, when the lights go down, it's all them, and no matter what the theatrical trainwreck, it will be joyous. It will be exactly what it's supposed to be for each of them.
I write about this job so much in this blog because I feel so blessed by it. I have so many blessings in my life, some too big to express here...though I'm trying to chip away at some of it as I go along. I feel deeply stirred by my work, but it's that tiny degree of separation away from the big stuff that allows me to express something real and meaningful without giving too much away.
That's how I have found something of a balance between blogging and journaling. It took me a while to find, but I think I'm nearly there. Funny, though, because just that confession felt like walking the line between the two. To say that there's so much more than I can't tell you - good, bad, and ugly. I don't mean it to be a tease, but an acknowledgement that I'm still finding my way.
Stepping stones, though.
Thanks for reading about my students. And I kind of know that if you've read this, you're kind of rooting for them. It's just another way to send a little positive energy into a cause that's well deserving of whatever positive energy it can get.