Growing up, I put on my fair share of plays and performances for my parents and babysitters. I remember one in particular that must have been torturous to my parent’s friend who was put in charge of us while they were at a funeral.
After she took us to see the newest Superman movie, her daughter, my brother, sister, and I acted out the entire movie. The ENTIRE movie, scene by scene. Now the props were exceptional, mind you, we even upended all of the dining room chairs to build the perfect recreation of a cave of icicles, but as an adult I think of what a saint Jo-Ann was to sit and watch us just play. Sure we had rehearsed it a little bit, we had some rough guidelines we all went by, but really, we were just playing and having fun while she sat captive as our audience of one.
As a parent, we have experienced (and sometimes endured) a litany of our kids shows, dances, plays and performances. I do love to see their creativity and cooperation, I just don’t necessarily care to sit there while they’re creating and cooperating. There is truly great value in kids producing their own shows from their imaginations and in learning to navigate the give and take of each of the participant’s contributions and ideas.
I don’t remember where I read it, it was in a magazine long ago, but it is one of those snip-its that has stuck with me and that we instituted in our family the second I learned of the idea.
The mother writing the piece said she required her kids plays and performances to be short and well-rehearsed, then she would watch them. Our kids got right on it and since then, whenever they have a show for us to see, they tell us, “It’s short and well-rehearsed!” They even monitor one another. Last week Anna had a piano/musical instrument show she prepared and Michael checked in with her before I was summoned, “Anna, is it short and well-rehearsed?”
The short and well-rehearsed guidelines have served us well and really have inspired the kids to take more time planning their scenes, working things out before we arrive on set and figuring out how to make transitions between actors and props. Sometimes they’re still a little tedious, but mostly, we enjoy watching the kids shows, grinning all the way through impressed by their inventiveness.
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014