Last night was opening night for the Young Footliter’s production of Aladdin…and despite the oppressive heat, those kids were FABULOUS! Though he’s had larger parts, I think this is one of the best plays Preteen has ever been in. It’s a great script, great kids, great directors who really balanced each other’s strengths and weaknesses…Mary really outdid herself on the costumes this time. And the Middle-Eastern dancing was a nice touch. I even managed to make the right lights come on at the right time (it wasn’t that hard). I LOVE doing tech work for these plays.

At the end of every rehearsal and performance, Tali brings the kids together for “final circle.” She has them hold hands and close their eyes. Then she says, “Let’s have one good thought about ourselves…something like I’M GOOD!” Then, after a moment of silence, she says, “Now let’s, if we can, have one good thought about our friends here…something like YOU’RE GOOD!” And then they shake hands for “Shalom and peace.” At the beginning, a lot of these kids were too “cool” to close their eyes and any of this stuff. I saw a lot of nervous titters…a lot of giggling…and very few kids were actually closing their eyes. Most of them were checking everyone else out to see what everyone else was doing. But as time went on, they started doing it. And now they repeat the whole thing along with Tali, “Let’s have one good thought about ourselves…something like I’M GOOD!” It’s kind of fun to watch! I’m not normally one for “touchy-feely” stuff like this, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the transformation in the kids…and I think it makes them all really feel part of something special.

It’s tradition for the entire cast to go out to Village Inn after the first performance. The people at Village Inn all get that sort of deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces when we all come in…imagine 35+ kids who are already wound up, already out past their bedtimes, all crowding into tables together while their parents try to provide something of a buffer between them and the rest of the people in the restaurant…and then we give these wound up, overtired children SUGAR! Ah well…it’s part of the experience.

I chose NOT to have pie at Village Inn last night because I’m going to have ice cream tonight at Coldstone Creamery tonight (2.5 pounds from my goal!). Taking Preteen out for ice cream USED to be our family tradition for opening night…before we knew about the Village Inn tradition, and before we knew the other theatre families well enough to want to participate…so now we go out for ice cream on the second night. The third night is strike and cast party. And then it’s all over. Til the next play…

Aladdin in the park…

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