Sunday, October 06, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Think Of The Children

Theatre and children
A dangerous combination
Get them early, get them hooked
Have them act out stuff from books
Admittedly it’s not that cheap
Until you watch them laugh and weep

Number 263 is the introduction to a piece I wrote for class for and about children.

Innocent Enjoyment
“I still think we should have gone to the skate park.”
Although she had already won, Jenny continued to convince her friend. “It’s great! There’s music and dancing and fighting. It’s like a live action Glee, except when it goes wrong.”
“We’ll be stuck inside all afternoon.” Despite her gloomy words, Ella looked more interested.
“Nah, this is the last day my sister can let us in. Tomorrow is dress rehearsal, and we’re at library club, and then only people who pay can see it.”
Walking down the alley to the stage door, Jenny texted her sister while Ella read the graffiti on the wall. The door opened.
“Ah Ginny and friend. Helen’s brats.”
Jenny smiled sweetly at the young man dressed all in black. “Good afternoon Ken. My name’s Jenny and this is Ella. We’re here to see Miss Sharp.”
“Come on trouble. We’ve got you the best seats in the house.”
They weaved down a stark, white painted corridor, past closed doors with muffled shouts coming from them. At last they stopped. Ken knocked, but Jenny barged through and opened it.
“Which part of ladies changing room don’t you understand Ken?”
Jenny tried to look extra cute to the women packed into the tiny room. “Sorry, that was me. And Ella.”
“Helen! Deal with your guests. And we’re all decent now, so you can turn and face us Ken.”
Helen slid out from the back, into the corridor, shutting the door. “This way. Thanks Ken.”
Over her shoulder she called, “How was school?”
“Oh, you know, alright.”
Ella spoke up. “Miss Bates lost our maths homework so we have to do it again.”
They came to another room, with crates of cans and bottles, packs of crisps and a bowl of fruit. “Extra maths? How awful. Right. One drink, one snack and one piece of fruit each. Hurry up.”
They circled past a rack of clothes, bounced up some stairs and emerged by the side of the stage. “Can we go out there?” asked Ella.
Helen checked the clock on the wall. “Okay, but quick.”
They walked out to the middle. Ella gave a twirl, her school skirt flying. Jenny bowed to the left, the right and finally the centre. The dozen or so people out in the seats ignored them.
“Five minutes everyone!” The noise of the speaker was muted out here, but a man at the front of the stage repeated it in a voice that reached every corner of the theatre.
Helen led them to the stairs at the side of the stage, past the filling orchestra pit. They went up to the middle of the ground floor seats. Helen waved at a man with a greying beard. “John. You know Jenny and this is her friend Ella. If they’re noisy throw them out.”
Ella pouted. “No! We’re good girls.”
“John’s the director so we all have to do what he says.” John snorted. “You’re okay with them John?”
“We’ll be fine, won’t we girls. Now go backstage Hel, we’re late enough already.”
The curtain came down for the intermission. “What did you think girls?”
“It was great John!” said Ella.
“Yeah, the music hits you like, like Thor’s hammer.”
John frowned. “You’re familiar with the Norse myths?”
“No, it’s from this comic Ken gave me last night. Look. ‘You cannot thwart the will of the Odin-son.’ WHAM! Down goes the Wolverine.”
John was bemusedly flicking through when Helen came up. “Were they alright John?”
“Short attention span, crunching during the emotional bits, cheering every mistake? I think they may be the perfect test audience.”
“See? We were perfect.”
Helen grinned. “How long do I have? I need to get them home.”
“We’re only half an hour late for dinner break. Take forty minutes.”
She led the girls away as he called out the same information to everyone else. They headed out the stage door, past the smokers and ran for Ella’s bus.
After they waved her goodbye, Helen and Jenny walked down the road. “Can we have chips?” asked Jenny.
“Let’s see what Mum has left for you. I told her I didn’t have time to cook, but you know what she’s like.”
“Yeah, and I’m not allowed to after my chicken chasseur went tits up.”
Helen stopped and looked at her, eyes narrowed. “Jennifer Sharp.”
“What? John said it when that man dropped his tuba.”
“Yes but John swears like a... do we need to have the talk?”
“About ‘propriate and in’propriate words and how when you was a waiter, everyone swore in the kitchen and never in front of the customers and what my friends say isn’t always suitable for school and adults?”
“Yeah, that talk. Mum worries about you, you know.”
“Sure. When she’s there.”
Helen couched down. “You okay Jen? Tell me if you’ve got a problem.”
“Just. You know. This time of year. I miss Daddy, that’s all.”
“Me too sweetheart. Me too.”
She stood up and took Jenny’s hand. They started down the road in the evening light. “Want to sing that song from the theatre?”
“Sure, okay.”
I am the very model of a modern Major-General
I’ve information vegetable, animal and mineral
I know the Kings of England and I quote the battles historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical...
(884 words)

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