Saturday, February 5, 2011
Delightful break in the ubiquitous football action - spent a day and a half with our three year-old granddaughter, Emma. Lunch, stories, pre-dance class "rest", (nostalgically fun) delivery of pink tutu-clad "Isadora-in-training" free-form dance "movement" pupil (Never watch, honest) but DO listen. LOVE the happy/tappy strains of "I'm Just a Broadway Baby" 'stage-shouting through the walls), our house for a "sleep-over (a little din-din then hot tub apres shower whence we water romp with giant rubber duckie - ". . .put tail in, put tail out, put tail in and shake it all about. Ya do the Wackie Quakie and you turn yourself around. . ." to BIG GIGGLES), a little "Happy Feet" penguin CD, nite-nite and jubilant anticipation - starting @ 6 AM - to seeing a touring production of "Thomas Saves the Day" at 10:30 AM! We're going to really SEE and HEAR that wonderful little 'loco' THOMAS!
It was a dreary, windy, rainy, day OUTside BUT WE were on cloud 9, squinting from the glow of pure joy, as we sloshed with the throngs from parking lot to (seemingly miles-away) "Entrance" to the Ted Constant Convocation Center of Old Dominion U. In Norfolk, VA. Got baby brother Charlie an "official" Thomas-the-train-engineer hat for the beach this summer, wildly colorful, strobe-like "Thomas" flashlight for Emma, then. along with Poppy and Aunt Margie (visiting for surgery; legally blind), we efficiently made our way (stopping only for popcorn) to our Row H (for HAPPY) center, level 1 seats in a record-breaking, sopping wet - from rain - 32 minutes. Got ALL situated/settled in; explained the importance of the tech engineers (they were set up 8 -10 yds in front of us) re: sound, lights, doing all the "stuff" that would make THOMAS' show run without an 'un-hitch'. And then that magic moment: House lights going down, stage skrims lighting up, and the FOLLOW SPOT - neon-bright and embracing our narrator. He lays out the plot-line: Big storm last night, power out, annual "Lantern day" Festival will be ruined - UNLESS -you got it: "THOMAS SAVES THE DAY".
And then "Modernity" settles, like a rude, rough, torn and obtrusive blanket. Having been instructed that CELL PHONES AND FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY were strictly 'verboten', at least half of the boorish, thoughtless, witless, clueless ADULTS - accompanying/supervising - a tot community of close to a thousand, ranging in age from the abhorrently inappropriate first-and-only-child, among the toddlerhood genre for a mere 3-4 months to the far-more-apt and trying- to-'get-into-THOMAS' 3-5 year-old set - wbip out their ever-handy/available/"sent from my's" so that - ready? - they can either conduct vapid conversations with their peers OR (and certainly a brand new form of shocking breach-of-taste-phenomenon for this 'hexagenarian', ie, taking photos with their pudgy, hand-held devices of THEIR PROGENY ATTENDING/ENJOYING a well-done, well-rounding- imagination-developing, educational, colorful, enriching, etc, event bountifully/at-impressive-imposition,-presented, parentally-inspired/executed EXPERIENCE. And (pu-leez pardon the cliche) adding insult-to-injury (as re: the innocents, the producers, performers, THE very "THOMAS" icon itself) physically manipulating, interrupting these sub-minors' attention/enjoyment of the production to record (again - for 'the Jones' & the grandparents) images of these same innocents enveloped in the arms, laps "Baby Bjorns, etc) of the "because we care-are-involved-informed-coper-raising-on-a-wet-Saturday-morning" parents/primary-care-givers.
Such was the distorted experience for moi, that, when (as the story-line theme was 'working together) the cast (throughout) called for audience 'help'/participation, that Emma and I (poor child followed my crazed lead) WILDLY "choo-choo-ed; clap-clapped, shrieked 'GO THOMAS!'/ 'GO TEAM!'" to those painful decibels that used to only be reserved for the "Peppermint Lounge" in the 60's. So there. I said it. I was not amused with the audience/current trend in take-your-kid-to-a-family-"thing" demonstration today. All commentary/response/explanation invited. QUESTION: WHY would you attend a LIVE children's performance only to 1) ignore the performance, 2) distract the attending child from experiencing/ enjoying the performance and 3) go to a great deal of trouble/physical discomfort/expense only (APPARENTLY) to utilize YOUR digital toys such that you could 'PROVE' to posterity that you, as a parent, were the "s___"? Ya know, they made ME want to SHOUT! Emma had a ball. And, ". . . that's what it's all about." Later, L. . . .