Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't Get Me Started: Mariah

We had a capable, note-giving, cue-calling stage manager, Celia.

Calvin was gaining a tiny bit of traction in the confidence department to support him as our lighting operator.

Now for the sound department.

I wrote a note to Mariah's mom asking what she thought of her daughter taking on the job. Mariah is the youngest of the four daughters adopted by this family. All four girls were born in Haiti and Mariah is now in third grade.

When Mariah auditioned for the Shakespeare Club, she spoke so quietly I had to lean far forward to hear her. She had learned the lines and I noticed that she'd rewritten those lines on her own paper and decorated them with swirls of sparkly ink.

Her mom answered my query by saying Mariah would likely be terrific as a sound operator because she's very bright...but: be prepared for acute shyness.

When Mariah joined us to watch a rehearsal, she sat next to her sister Celia. Mariah followed the dialogue in her own script. When she noticed Celia's page hadn't been turned to the next scene, she gave her sister a nudge. Oh, she's a bright one all right. Mariah's all over it.

But she barely spoke. If she spoke it was a whisper.

"Do you think you'd like to be our sound operator?" I asked.

Blink. Think. Nod.

"Okay, then," I answered loudly as if to make up for her quietness. "Don't worry, we'll train you how to do it."

Blink. Think. Nod.

"See ya soon!" I called out, hugely chipper.

When Mariah came to rehearsals, she joined her sisters and helped clean the room after everyone else had gone. I showed her the CDs she'd be using. Music for pre-show and another disc of cues including the opening, three bell chimes and our curtain call music.

I let her press the buttons on the CD player we used for rehearsals.

And something happened.

Tina, Mariah's third-grade teacher, found me on the campus.

"She's talking. Mariah's chattering about the play and her job as sound operator and what she will do and the actors...and everything. She's talking!"

Once Mariah was in the auditorium — set up with her equipment, trained, ready and pressing those buttons — she was suddenly fully engaged conversation-wise.

Rachel shared with me how Mariah was all, "My dad this and my dad that", "And I was thinking this and I was thinking that" and "She should do this and he should do that." Fully engaged.

Don't ask me how that happened. I have no idea but it did.

If I was lady Macbeth I would live in a BIG house. And I would have a BIG BED whith purppleish blueish courton auround the whole bed. And every morning I sit in a green chair and eat bread and drink wine.
Lizzie, 4th grade

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