Yesterday, Joy took Kate and me to the Fox Theatre to see Kate's very first play. The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps you've heard of it. I've spent an obscene amount of time in theatres. Load in. Strike. Rehearsal. Build. Search for a friend's contact lens. You name it. Over the years they lost some of their sparkle for me. I have a scar on my right ring finger from a glue gun gone bad while I was building the buck basket for The Merry Wives of Windsor. I broke my foot during a strike while launching myself, gazelle-like, through the house toward the booth. But I still love theatres and the Fox, of course, is Fabulous.
It was a pleasure to take Kate there. To see her eyes as wide as they can get at the sight of the building. We took her down to the bathrooms (Joy and I were both nervous that she'd pee on one of us during the performance) and I sat her in front of one of the gigantic make-up mirrors while Joy put lipstick on her. She pursed her lips as though she did it daily. As we toured around the main theatre, looking at the orchestra pit, me pointing out the booth, Kate became quiet. I wasn't sure if she was overwhelmed or bored.
She sat on my lap the entire first act. She was thrilled to see a dog on stage. When the tornado swept Dorothy away she huddled under my chin and announced "I want to go home!" But she didn't mean it. Three hours, that show was. She spent the second act on Joy's lap (peeing on neither of us) and never stopped looking around. She ate most of Joy's popcorn. She loved the Cowardly Lion. She bravely faced the wicked witch. When we left, she was so tired she nearly fell asleep in the car.
I stole glances at her in the rear view mirror. I remember my mom taking me to plays when I was little. I thought the actors were wonderful. After the plays I'd line up with all the other little knee-biters and get their autographs on my playbill. Amazing to me, was how easily watching Kate in the theatre revived all the magic that I thought had gone out of it. To her, the wicked witch really flew, just like Peter Pan really flew around Wendy's room when I was about her age. I saw Kate's little open-mouthed gaze up at the stage and even the facts that no one even attempted to conceal Dorothy's mike and the lighting designer had some unresolved issues melted into meaninglessness for me. Ah, once upon a time, when magic was everywhere...
Joy got us good seats, but Kate only has a box seat at home.