Last night, we took the family to see Oliver! Having not attended a play before as a family, we forgot that you have to get there quite early, not like a movie, so we were seated near up in the back, near the moon. (You didn’ t know that school auditoriums extended all the way to the moon did you? Neither did we.)
The opening was rocky, we could hardly hear anything. But, luckily, there was very little dialogue. They’d edited out nearly everything that wasn’t a song and replaced it with brief narratives, and the songs were sung clearly enough for us all to hear them. Unfortunately, the director thought she would be artsy and choreographmuch of the action on the sides of the theater rather than on the stage, with the result that it was very hard to see. I came away with a great appreciation of center stage.
The action and singing was cute though. The children were quite slight. Much smaller than I remembered high school students as being…because they weren’t! It was not until intermission that we realized we were not watching a high school performance. We were watching a secondary school performance: ie 11-13 year olds. Considering that, it was really very good!
Then, Nancy came on. In among all these slender, boyish players with high squeaky voices came this lovely, extremely well-developed blond girl who was larger than the rest of the children, but only by a little, and sang like something out of a dream. We have listened to the disk we have over and over. This girl was just as good as the professional on the disk. She was just amazing — all the more so for the contrast between her and all the children around her. Where their voices faded and dropped off, hers swelled and filled the house.
The strangest part about it was that, from where we sat next to the moon, she looked exactly like my friend Nancy, who must be about three times older than this twelve or thirteen year old. My short term memory is very good, but my long term memory gets fuzzy. (My memory of when we did Oliver in high school — granted I was watching from the back as a stage hand/stage manager, can’t recall which I was on that show — is really dim, with pieces of it returning to me out of the ‘mists of time’ like something from my Prospero novel.)
So, I know that twenty years from now, when I look back, I’ll remember this event as the unexplainable experience of the time we heard my friend Nancy sing in Oliver. ;-)
The Cherubim was funny. First, he insisted on going to the bathroom. They nearly didn’t let us out. Good thing they did because the moment we got out there he started announcing in a loud voice, "’Got to pick a pocket or two.’ No!" (That song had just started.) Then, during Intermission, he kept repeating a line from his favorite song (Cher-rio But Be Back Soon) sometimes followed by "Nooo!" When Nancy got killed one of the boys yelled "Oh, no!" John thought it was the Cherubim, but I think it might have been Juss. But at the end, just as they were finishing up, the Cherubim calls out "A-a-a-a-chu!" in a clear voice so that the whole auditoriumshears it. Luckily, he was quiet the rest of the the time!
The kids loved it. John poled them afterwards and Juss summed it up. "Like it? I loved it so much that-I-could-scream-but-I’l-wait-until-I-get-out-of-the-car!" (When we got home, he announced, I forgot to scream when I was outside, went outside, and yelled, "Yeah!") Even the Cherubim said "yes" when poled on whether he enjoyed it.
A fantastic evening!