No one cares for YOU a smidge when you're in an ORPHanage

For years, I’ve felt that my definitive Mallory story was about how she refused to ride a bicycle. Well, now I’ve got a new one.

Last Friday, Mallory made her theatrical debut in Annie, Jr, put on by the summer drama workshop held at Chris’s high school. She was an orphan/servant, had no lines, but was part of the chorus for the four big songs: Hard-Knock Life, You’re Going to Like it Here, NYC, and Tomorrow.

The kids put on two performances – one in the early afternoon, one in the evening. Chris and I attended both. During the matinee, Chris and I shook our heads fondly at Mallory during the first two songs – she knew all the words, she knew all the steps, but she had a kind of grim look on her face the whole time, and she was about 5 seconds behind the rest of the cast. (Incidentally, here’s a way to cure any young performer of stage fright. Let them know that any parents in the audience are ONLY watching their own kid. I have no idea how the other kids performed during any of these songs – my eyes were fixed on Mallory.)

Then the “NYC” song started. A group of young “starlets” came out; then Daddy Warbucks and Annie came on stage; then a big group of other “New Yorkers” came from the wings and lined up for the big dance. I looked and looked, but didn’t see Mallory. “Where is she?” I asked Chris, and he shook his head. She wasn’t there. Did she get cut from this scene? I wondered, indignant. Then I thought: No – she missed the cue. She forgot to come on stage. I immediately corrected myself – No, that’s not possible, she couldn’t have forgotten. Surely not!

And yet. At the evening performance, when “NYC” started – here came the starlets, here came Daddy Warbucks and Annie, here came the other kids – and then, about 30 seconds later, here came Mallory, stage left. She wandered across the front of the stage, and then saw another girl in the chorus waving at her, and scampered over to her spot. At which point she joined in the dance and was fine, I suppose, although in truth I was giggling too hard to pay much attention.

Mallory was also about 10 seconds behind the other orphans who came out to sing “Tomorrow,” and completely missed her chance to take a bow with the other orphans.

Later I asked her: “Why weren’t you in ‘NYC’ during the first show?” She said: “Yeah, I totally forgot! I was just sitting there, and then I heard the music, but I thought it was for some other part, and then I realized I was supposed to be on stage, but it was too late!” She said this with a big smile. I don’t know whether to be relieved, or more concerned, that she was so blithely unconcerned herself about missing the cue.

Chris talked to the director, whom he knows, after the show, and although she started out with a “Bless her heart,” she did say that Mallory did just fine for her first show, and considering that she was one of the youngest cast members, and that she actually improved a whole lot from the first week of rehearsal. Mallory seemed to have made friends, and she says she had fun, and she wants to do it again next year. I’m thinking she may not have much of a career on the stage.

I’m proud of her anyway.


Karen said...

Funny story! I guess it's better that she was unconcerned instead of traumatized about missing her part.

Chris said...

You should post the picture of her from "Superhero Day" at camp when she dressed up.

aimee said...

That cracks me up. Totally.