Cameron Column #106 School Play Copyright 2000 W. Bruce Cameron http://www.wbrucecameron.com/ ==> Please do not remove this copyright it is a legal notice <== My son recently had a small role in his school play, an egregious bit of amateur theater which appeared to be about George Washington and Global Warming. My boy played Che Guevera and also danced and sang backup during a number in which Daniel Boone lamented the fall of the American garment industry. The play's author, a music teacher who looked like a mummy freshly shed of her wrappings, aggressively mouthed the words of the songs in front of the assembly of fourth graders, who earnestly sang lyrics like "With cows emitting methane / that is coming out in gales / we all need to take a breather / get out and save the whales!" I had been introduced to the music teacher once, but was unable to think of her as anything other than "Miss Lip Pucker" because of the extraordinary concentration of dour fault lines which gathered together around her mouth when she spoke. Her eyes flashed sharp as an eagle's whenever anyone in the audience tittered at something on stage-this wasn't supposed to be cute, it was theatre! Like every other father in the room, I saw most of the play through the small viewfinder in my video camera, conscientiously recording something nobody could stand to watch the first time. I reflected on how much the performance would be improved by the appearance of a beer man. When my son took the stage I stood up and zoomed in on his face. No one behind me objected to me blocking their view. As Che, he explained to a group of nodding children why it would be a mistake to cut funding for bilingual education. Focused tight on his facial expression, I noticed something in his eyes as he projected his voice out toward the audience, and a small smile crept across my lips as I felt an intimation of what might be coming: He was enjoying himself. My son is one of those people who instinctively understands there is no sense in the expression "too much of a good thing." I once watched in fascinated silence as he emptied an entire spray can of whipped topping on a piece of apple pie, industriously building a mound as large as a beach ball. Now, finding himself at the center of the theatrical universe, he was unwilling to surrender control of the audience. At the end of his speech, his small knot of friends shouted "Si! Ole!" and then turned to the rest of us and translated: "Yes! Ole!" They next marched obediently off the stage, while a new group raced out to sing a rap song about the evil tobacco industry and the benefits of medicinal marijuana. My son stayed. He joined the end of the chorus line, clearly so over-exposed to the production's lyrics that he matched every step of the choreography perfectly. That everyone else was dressed like Ralph Nadar and he was clothed as a revolutionary seemed to bother no one-except, of course, the music teacher, whose pale, powdered skin flushed an impossible purple. Even as she mouthed the words "tobacco folks / want kids to die / while poor sick patients / can't get high", she was stabbing the air with violent hand motions, seeming to indicate that after the final curtain, my son would find himself disemboweled. The next song was a solo, a young girl dressed to resemble Monica Lewinsky singing "Leader of the Pack." Che Guevera stood respectfully just outside the pool of stark blue cast by the spotlight, mouthing the words but emitting no sound. When Miss Lip Pucker hissed "get off the stage!", the soloist misunderstood and stepped out of the spotlight, creating an odd bit of theater as the two actors faced each other in the dark, the music surging to its finish without accompaniment by a vocalist. The grand finale was next, the entire fourth grade rushing out, holding dead flowers and singing about acid rain. I wisely stole around to the side of the stage and yanked my son from the group prior to the arrival of Miss Lip Pucker, sneaking him out the back door. "Son," I told him truthfully, "that was the best school play I've ever seen." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For reprint permission, including web sites, please write me at Bruce@wbrucecameron.com This newsletter may be distributed freely via e-mail but you MUST include the following subscription and copyright information: The Cameron Column, A Free Internet Newsletter Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 2000 To subscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "subscribe cameron" in lower case as the first line in your message. Yes we want more subscribers! Please tell your friends about the Cameron Column. If you want to unsubscribe, write email@example.com and send the message "unsubscribe cameron
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