I love my time in the orchestra pit during Homeschool Dramatic Society plays because of what I see onstage. However, most of those two hours per performance are some of the most uncomfortable I spend anywhere ever! My jobs there are to remind the youngest dancers of their moves, to direct a song on occasion if the musical director is playing an instrument, to watch for set or prop glitches that need to be communicated to the backstage crew, and to direct the curtain call. Occasionally, I’ll give an actor a nod of the head or something to remind them of something he has forgotten to do or I simply notice that an actress needs to smile and I give her a great big CHEESE.
My spot is great when I am standing to direct moves or a song, but it doesn’t take long for my seat of 4 2x4s strapped together to get rather uncomfortable.
During a performance last week, the residents of a labor camp dug ditches while three Nazi soldiers chatted nearby. With no responsibility at the moment, I took the opportunity to stretch my arms out wide behind the railing that separates the pit from the theater seats. It felt good to get a good stretch.
After the play, the young man who played the head Nazi told me that I really had him puzzled. He kept wondering, “What? What? What am I supposed to be doing?” He couldn’t figure out what Miss Charlene’s outstretched arms meant.
Oops. I wasn’t giving any kind of signal at all, just stretching my arms.
It is easy to give and receive wrong signals or mixed ones. Ray and I have been married for almost 45 years and I doubt that a week goes by when we don’t have at least one instance of a miscommunication. If you have homeschooled long at all, you have probably experienced times when you told your children to do one thing and they thought you meant something else entirely.
Onstage last week this young man portrayed a mean Nazi. He did a good job. That was quite a feat for this kind and thoughtful young man whom I am honored to call my friend. I wouldn’t lead him wrong for anything. Communication — that’s something we all have to work on every day for our whole lives.
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.
My son, if your heart is wise,
My own heart also will be glad;
And my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak what is right.