Friday, September 3, 2010

Millie's Dad

"Millie, your dad's going to help us with the lights."

"I know, and he knows everything," Millie beamed, and hugged my legs.

Yup, Millie's dad, Rob, would prove himself worthy of his daughter's pride. Rob works in the film and television industry as a "grip" and when his wife and daughter offered his services to The Shakespeare Club I could only hope that he was both game and that he'd be free from work when we needed him.

Early on the Wednesday morning of our technical rehearsal I wandered alone into our school's auditorium. I took a breath in the cool air and thought about how the next two days would unfold. The word that popped into my head was mayhem.

On this day, lights would have to be adjusted by Rob, teetering high on a ladder. Sound equipment would need to be set up with yards of cable taped down from one end of the auditorium to the other. Two little kids, Mariah and Calvin, would have to be trained to run the equipment and learn their cues. Actors, onstage for the first time and bubbling with jitters and excited to be out of their classrooms, would have to be corralled into professionalism.

And everyone would need SNACKS to keep going.

I couldn't even start thinking about Day Two and the four performances that would take place. I had to imagine it one step at a time and keep my eye on the ball: that frosty margarita when it was all over.

I pulled out chairs for the actors onstage. I made sure we had the tallest ladder. I rustled around in an overstuffed closet for the sound and light boards. I wondered if anyone would show up. I worried and called Rachel's cell to make sure she remembered. I unpacked props and put them under appropriate chairs.

"Hey, Ms. Ryane!"

"Hi, Krystal, how are you this morning?"

"Good." The little girl studied the auditorium and watched me set things in place.

"Do you want us now?" she asked with hope in her voice.

"Mmmm. Not yet, Krystal, no actors until this afternoon. So you should go back to class and we'll get you when we're ready."


"Hey, Ms. Ryane!"

"Hi, Mark."

"Our teacher wants to know if you need us now."

"Tell her not yet, Mark. Actors, this afternoon. I'll just need Calvin and Mariah this morning."

"Oh. Okay."

The buzz was in the air and the knots were in my stomach, twisting and weaving — and then in he walked, like the hero in a white hat from an old-style western.

Millie's dad, Rob. He carried a box of lighting gels and wore a cheeky smile.

"Oh, thank God, you're here," I sighed. "I'm a technical idiot and we'd be lost without you."

Right behind him, Rachel arrived with her coffee, fresh-washed hair and a huge grin.

"Here we go," she said.

Here we go indeed.

My best friend Celia helps me but sometimes I dont. Even thou I don't help her that doesn't mean I'm not her best friend. So if you don't help your freind and our freind dous don't be ashamed.
Lizzie, 4th grade

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