"The Tutu Girl!"
A Review-Preview by Mary ElizaBeth Peters,
WFT Teaching Artist.
It is opening night of “Honk!” at Wheelock Family Theatre. I am sitting far to the right side of the audience enjoying this silly, crazy, sweet musical with my mother. I see a little girl in the wings, offstage. She is wearing an elaborate green tutu that juts out in all crazy directions, and she is fluffing it up with her hands, and spinning around in circles, pointing and silently laughing at her counterpart in the wings on the other side of the stage. The two girls are pointing and giggling, spinning and laughing, jumping and making the motion, “Shh!” at each other. Waiting for their big entrance into the frog scene, they are not supposed to be onstage yet. They are supposed to be invisible.
I glance around, preparing to write my big blog review (this one) and quickly realize – it’s not just me, the zany drama teacher, who is captivated by the young theatre student having an early experience of pure joy waiting to make her onstage debut, it is the entire audience in my section. They are all giggling and smiling about the little girl in the tutu. They are elbowing each other and pointing, looking at the girl and then exchanging a glance with each other, smiling and nodding. She is hilarious and adorable in what she thinks is secret excitement. “Oh my!” my mother whispers, and covers her face, embarrassed for the silly little girl.
Oh no! We’re supposed to be watching the play! I think to myself. Bad drama teacher! Watch the play! Watch the play! Certainly, the team of “Honk!” would be horrified if they knew that our section of the seats was focused offstage for so long, looking past the onstage action. We should be watching the WFT play!
Then, I realize – this is part of the joy of the Wheelock Family Theatre experience. Not only to experience the joy of the performance itself – as that review will now have to be posted tomorrow – but watching a young person turn their joy into art, as the entire audience, not only my tiny section, was able to see the young tutu’d frog turn her excitement into a beautiful, energetic dance that captivated everyone. “Uh oh, she’s hooked!”whispers my mother, and I laugh. My mother is right. The little tutu girl is clearly a part of this theatre now, as our audience is mutually “hooked” on watching her joyful performance. Just another example, like in the story of young Ugly Duckling, that you never know where or why you might find something so very beautiful.
Watch this week – my true review of this performance to follow!