Yesterday I took my 6-year-old daughter Evie to her first ever theatre experience (excepting her own dance recital): The King and I. She loved it, as I hoped (and deep down knew) she would. Evie loves music, so I was sure a musical was the right thing for her. I explained the story a bit before the show so that she went in with a semi-understanding of what was happening. Evie also showed a fair interest in how the stage work was done: the orchestra pit (behind which we were sitting), the backdrops and set changes . . . I told her a bit about what a “scene” is, and she asked what the actors do when they aren’t on stage. “You’re either in a scene or you’re not,” I explained. “When you’re not you wait until it’s time for you to go on.” We talked about wardrobe and quick costume changes. Evie says she’d love to design costumes for plays and movies. And she is artistic, so maybe she will. But it was just such fun to share my love of theatre with her.
“How do you know so much about it?” Evie asked. I explained that I’d done some of it in college, and had a friend who used to do fashion design (I’d been her model) and had worked in theatre wardrobe departments. That I used to help at a community theatre, that I had been part of an acting troupe. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I started talking about it.
After the show was over, Evie said it was too bad there wasn’t a way to go back and meet the actors. I told her sometimes, in some theatres that’s possible. If you know someone, or if you have a special pass, &c. But then, as we were exiting the auditorium, the door to the wings opened and out came Anna and the King! Evie was speechless. I told the actress it was Evie’s first ever visit to the theatre, and she asked Evie how she liked it. Evie said it was wonderful, and then couldn’t find her tongue again. But the whole experience made a big impression on her. She came home singing “Getting to Know You” and talking all about the show and meeting the actress. Now she really wants to see Mary Poppins next summer, too. I do so hope she continues to enjoy the theatre!