Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Barrymores Did It
Last night, Petra, Larry-O and I all began rehearsal for this summer's production of The Mikado. All this (our becoming summer Savoyards) began three years ago, the summer after my ex and I split up. I had done theater in high school, college and beyond, even dedicating myself for a couple of years to the idea of theater and singing as a career. After Larry-O was born, however, I had switched gears, stepping onto the path that would eventually lead to ordained ministry. Though I regularly sang (sing) in choruses, coffeehouses, and essentially at any given opportunity, I had not set foot on the stage in 19 years when Petra and I decided to audition for a production of Ruddigore. To my giddy delight, they took both of us (though Petra was 5 years too young by their stated audition criteria). I got a lead, Mad Margaret, and had the satisfaction and supreme delight of rolling around on the stage singing an aria with a bird's nest and flowers in my hair in a kind of modified Ophelia get-up. Petra was made the "Littlest Bridesmaid" in a chorus of Professional Bridesmaids. Gentle readers, we had a ball. I mean, the time of our flippin' lives. And coming as it did just then... when I was so vulnerable and had just gone through--was still going though-- the trauma of my marriage ending... Well, it all felt very "of God," which is a marvelously strange thing to ever say or think about a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
The following year we were both in Pirates of Penzance, Petra as a daughter of Major-General Stanley and I as the hapless Ruth; Larry-O joined us late that summer, as they needed men, and distinguished himself by improvising a somersault as part of his entrance in "With Cat-Like Tread Upon our Prey We Steal." The following year I took off, as my dad was ill, but Petra was an assistant warder of the Tower (above, left) and Larry-O stole the show as Head Jailer and Assistant Torturer Wilfred Shadbolt (below, right) in a gorgeous production of The Yeomen of the Guard.
And this year? Petra is a school-girl chorister, Larry-O is KoKo, the Lord High Executioner (a promotion!) and I am Katisha, "an elderly lady, in love with Nanki-Poo." Of course, since the elderly lady in these trifles almost never ends up with the object of her desire (Ruddigore is a fluke), Katisha ends up married to and furious with KoKo. That's right, friends, you read it here first. I will be marrying my son, on stage, for two performances in July (the show's double-cast). When I raised an eyebrow to the producer, he exclaimed impatiently, "The Barrymores did it! The Richardsons did it, father and daughter touring together as Romeo and Juliet!" Alrighty then.
Donations to the therapy trust fund are being gratefully accepted.