Beware the frumious bandersnatch

Is that how it goes? I always loved the Alice in Wonderland books, at least until the loverly youth theatre guild I used to work for put on a production of “Alice’s Great Adventures in Wonderland”. Yes, that was the title. That’s because we didn’t use a published script. Our wondrous executive / artistic director wrote our script herself. I am not using the word “wondrous” sarcastically at all. Our director was (and is) one of the most talented people I have ever known. I loved her then and I still do and now that I am back hanging out in the corporate info-tech world, I don’t see her often enough. But like many people who are gifted with creative genius, working with her could sometimes send the sanest of us (and I am not necessarily among the sanest) screaming out into the snow in stocking feet.

“Alice’s Great Adventures in Wonderland” was one of our large venue, large cast plays. I think there were 55 kids in that play. There were three Alices and two or three of most of the other characters who had any lines at all. We would double or even triple cast these large plays so that different actors played their “major” roles in different performances and most actors had more than one role. So if you were Alice in two performances, you might be an oyster and maybe something else in the rest of the performances. This method of casting was wonderful in terms of providing more kids with acting opportunities. It could also be a logistical nightmare, especially when the *parents* got involved… “But Uncle %K@Ld9 from the Planet Zephron III can only come to the Saturday night performance, yada yada.” People? Research your kids activities *before* you sign them up and then leave it alone.

And I’m not even gonna talk about the costumes. All I have to say about that is that the *volunteers* who coordinated the costumes for those plays were goddesses! I will never forget one play when we were a few weeks into the rehearsal schedule and hadn’t identified a *competent* costume coordinator. Board members were wondering why one kid who usually auditioned for our “big” plays and whose mom was an uber-competent costume mom hadn’t shown up. Hmmm… Then I ran into her at the Westgate Kroger! She hadn’t received the audition postcard! I rather warily said, “Yaknow, if your daughter wants to be in the play, I think she could probably have a role…” I reported this back to the director and wouldn’t you know, not only did that kid get a role (or two or three) but that costume mom ended up on our board of directors.

I had fun doing that “job” for quite a few years. I loved driving all over town running errands or hauling kids to rehearsals. I loved running around backstage in whatever venue we were in. I loved doing the website and creating forms and flyers and tickets and play programs and whatever else I needed to create. I loved hanging out in Office Max making quazillions of copies of things (except when their copy musheens weren’t working well). I didn’t like holding hands with the panicky parents (why didn’t my incredibly talented kid get the “lead” role, yada yada). In the end, the info-tech cube world is a better fit for me. I’m still trying to figure out if I chose that route or if it chose me… It definitely pays better!

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