Still Hurting

Thursday was good. The principal of our afternoon show was a fantastic woman from Atlanta, Georgia (when she said it it had more syllables than I can imitate. I love how Georgians pronounce Georgia.) who was excited to have us. She wanted to know our whole life story and was happy to hear all about our lives. In our second show at the school though, a kid got up and left during our show and didn’t return. He was angry because he couldn’t see, I think, and two teachers chased after him into the hall. I’m sure he was fine, but it reminded me too much of other events that may or may not haunt me. I couldn’t get her out of my head that night and I wonder if I ever will. I wish I would have woken up that morning and sat with her.

Hindsight.

The kids enjoyed the program immensely however, and it was a joy to bring theatre to children who do not get to enjoy it on a regular basis.

Friday’s shows were stellar.

I've finally made it in this world. ;)

The Marquee at Lenior City

We pulled up to our school to find that we were on the marquee! Our morning school had a fantastic principal who greeted me with a smile and a hearty handshake. His name was Skip, and I could tell he loved his job so much. A woman named Mary coordinated our visit, offering us refreshments and a pitcher of filtered water that was delicious. Two teachers, a PE teacher and an Art teacher, also made us feel welcome by offering their services and being very friendly. The children were fantastic to work with as well, and we were sad when we had to leave.

Our afternoon show was great too, but after the second one I started to feel my throat tighten up. Uh-oh. By the time we got to the car, it was difficult to speak and impossible to swallow. We checked into our hotel and I immediately climbed into bed, happy that it was the weekend and I had time to recover. I slept from 5 pm til about 10, then went back to sleep after chugging some water. When I woke up at 6 am, my throat was feeling a bit better and it wasn’t as impossible to swallow. I watched the sunrise and made my way to the breakfast room to drink all the orange juice I could get my hands on. I’m able to speak again, but my throat still feels pretty dry and I’m on strict vocal rest so I can kick it in the bum.

Andy and I have two tickets to horse riding stables at 3 pm. You can bet I won’t be missing that. The last time I was on a horse was 11 years ago. Too long, if you ask me. High-ho Silver, away!

Put on a happy face

So, I bought a ukulele. 

I’ve been learning a song a day – to keep things fresh. So far I know “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Let It Be” by The Beatles, and “Creep” by Radiohead. This means that my chord knowledge is expanding as well.

This morning we had a very early start, because we had to drive around the large lake. While the sun was coming up and while Andy was driving through the Cherokee national park, I played ukulele. It was refreshing. It was almost surreal.

It’s the weekend, thank goodness. Doing this show takes a lot out of you every day. Today was especially challenging. We had a long drive to our first school. When we got there, we found out that we had arrived before some of the office staff had – and school wasn’t even going to start until 15 minutes before our show. No big deal, we’re flexible. We did two early morning shows to an attentive audience. However, in the younger children’s show, one little girl in the front row got scared and started crying. Her friend next to her calmed her down and she eventually warmed up to the show. She was in the pre-K class, so the whole experience was probably brand new to her. Also, our volunteer in the second show decided to kick Andy when he was playing the Sneaker.

At lunch, my stomach became very upset and I had to retire to the car to lie down. I’m not sure if it was the germs from kids or the sketchy chinese place we ate at – but something was not right in my stomach. I got over it pretty quickly in time to drive to our afternoon school.

In our afternoon show, we had more challenges. We were only able to be in the space 10 minutes before the show started. It was a race to put up the set. Then the students were under strict instructions to sit in the bleachers, so we had to move the set so they could see the show. No big deal, we’re flexible. The show was kinda twilight-zone. The kids enjoyed it though, and they seemed to learn lots. The volunteer was the tiniest 3rd grader I had ever seen. When I gave her the scroll to hold, she looked like it might tip her over.

Fridays, so far, have been the most strange days of our tours.

Purpose

We had the best show today.

With Andy and the Orange Moose of Wisconsin. Not taken today, but I thought it was too good a photo to pass up.

It all started with a drive up the mountains on windy roads. When we got to the town, I went in to meet Principal Richard. Richard is a kind older gentleman, the kind of man you want your children to know. He treats every single one of the kids as his own. He plays with them, jokes with them, gives them hugs.

We set up for the show and we were finished about 20 minutes before go-time. Richard came in and asked if we wanted to start early. We always say yes to that question. So he started bringing the classes into the gym.

The entire pre-K through 6th grade school came to see the show. They were the best audience we’ve had so far. So attentive and excited. When we got to the ‘volunteer’ section of the show, I say the following.

“Looks like I’m going to need some help to defeat the Sneaker! Who wants to volunteer?”

Before I even said the word help, a young boy in the back with an orange sweatshirt on raised his hand like a shot. I typically pick the first hand that goes up, or the child that looks the most excited about answering questions. This boy beat me to the punch, so I immediately went to him.

“What’s your name, mister?”
“Channing!”
“You need a super-hero name, Channing! How about Super Channing? Sound good!”
“Guess so!”

As Andy and I play our scene, occasionally I turn to the volunteer to ask him or her a question pertaining to the information we learn throughout the show. Things like ‘should we turn off the light when we leave the room?” and “Should we ask our parents to replace old lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs?” They are all “yes” answers, but the kids feel like they are contributing and are very excited to be a part of a show.

Channing was no exception to the rule. In fact, he was the rule.

He expounded on the importance of saving energy, interrupting me several times to tell me why we should save energy and how to do it. Teachers were laughing so hard. One of them wiped tears from her face. Another teacher took out a camera and started snapping pictures. The other students were cheering Channing on. It was a lot of great energy.

At the end of the volunteer section, Channing took his seat and he beamed with pride as the students around him gave him high fives and pats on the back. We wrapped up the show and told them they were our best audience. The principal asked us if we could take a photo with the kids, so we posed with them for one smiling shot, then a silly shot. Then they returned to class.

As we were tearing down the set, Richard came back and asked if we wanted some refreshments. He brought us bottles of water and homemade cupcakes. I think it may have been the best cupcake I have ever had. Then he asked us why we chose Channing. I told him simply that typically the first kid to shoot their hand up was paying the most attention and deserves the shot. Then we learned that Channing was autistic. Richard told us how he really came out of his shell with us and how cool it was to see him do that.

We were thrilled to learn that we made such a difference in this young boys life. Beyond that, it was a thrill to share the stage with him! His knowledge of energy conservation put us to shame! He was the best kid ever.

I love my job.