Saturday, May 11, 2013

Peter Pan 2013

Phew! Peter Pan is finished!

The end of a show always elicits such mixed emotions from me. On the one hand—huzzah for no more rehearsals, no more late nights, no more panic about fundraising or being late or running tights. On the other hand—no more thrill, no more anticipation, no more friendship-forming/costume-building pow-wows in the lobby. I'm sure the girls will continue to play Peter Pan and Flower Fairies for some time to come. Just this morning they turned their bunk bed into a theatre and dangled stuffed animals from the top bunk after tying ribbons to their limbs. The stuffed animals were "doing aerial dancing!" It was pretty cute.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the dress rehearsal on Thursday night.

I really was worried about the show running smoothly because the dress rehearsal was so choppy but the show went marvelously (aside from one glaring mistake when they left the tree trunk (of the Lost Boy's hideout) dangling down behind the mast of Hook's ship). My mom always said that it's good luck to have a terrible dress rehearsal because the show seems to run opposite of how the rehearsal goes. This time it worked out.

The audience gasped when the butterflies unfurled their wings. At the beginning of the scene the aerial dancers are already up high in their silks, which they've wrapped around themselves like cocoons. The baby flower fairies do their bit and then sit down to admire the butterflies. The music changes a bit and the butterflies open their wings just looked fantastic.

I have to admit that I was amazed at how good the show was. Most of the performers are still in school (preschool through high school; there are a few adults as well) but it was so well done. I laughed and nearly cried. I'm not kidding. Seriously, Tink!—you sacrifice yourself for Peter every time! It took so much clapping to bring her back to life—my eyes were misting up from the enthusiasm of the audience. My own little girls, on either side of me (because they got to come watch the rest of the show with us after intermission (they took their bow right before intermission)), were clapping so hard I thought their arms would fall off.

Don't even get me started on the final scene when the Darling children come home...and bring all the Lost Boys with them. It was beautiful.

The whole show was marvelous. Wendy and Peter were perfect. The Flower Fairies and Lost Boys were adorable. The Neverland birds were graceful and beautiful. The Mermaids were pesky and enchanting. Hook and Smee were foul and farcical. It was everything I could have hoped for and the girls were so caught up in the magic of it all. 

Even though rehearsals were, at times, grueling, the girls have already forgotten all about that and have started talking about next year's show. That's Peak/End Rule for you.

Rachel's even decided that she wants to stick with ballet so that when she gets older she can start aerial dancing (which is like gymnastics only better (she's been on this gymnastics kick but we haven't gotten around to finding a gym and ballet lessons kind of fell into our laps and now that we've "invested" in tights and shoes and leotards, we're kind of happy that she's decided—without any prodding from us—to stick with dance. She doesn't like to do anything "too girly" but there were quite a few boys/men in this ballet production, which helped her to see how tough ballerinas can be (not that only male ballerinas are tough because the girls are, too), and the aerial dancing is simply amazing)).

Even though she generally eschews makeup, jewelry, and all things "too girly," Rachel sure does clean up nicely, doesn't she? I think she's gorgeous.

I worked backstage as a "kiddie wrangler" for this evening's performance, so I was in the dressing room helping all the little fairies keep track of their costumes and personal belongings, pushing bobby pins into place, strapping on flower hats, escorting fairies down the hall, and other fun things like that. I was happy to help out...and got the added bonus of getting to take pictures of the girls with their beautiful make-up on. The rule is that you have to wash off your make-up before leaving the backstage area because the make-up is part of the magic of the show, so whenever we'd pick up the girls, their faces had already been stripped of make-up.

I thought that one day in the future they'd appreciate a picture of themselves all razzle-dazzled up.

Here's Rachel showing off her fairy wings.

She got more excited about make-up this week than I thought she ever would. I feel like all I've done this week is hair and make-up. She would come home from school, I'd put her hair up properly, and then smear foundation all over her face, shove a snack in her mouth, and we'd be off running to rehearsal.

This afternoon when we went back to the dressing room to get ready for the second show (the make-up got washed off after the first show so they could join us in the audience, remember?) Rachel asked if she could put the foundation (they call it "pancake") on herself. So...I let her. And she did a fine job.

At dinner she told Andrew that she got to put on her own foundation and he said, "I'm surprised you even know what foundation is. I'm not even sure what foundation is..."

"What?!" she exclaimed. "Dad—you've been alive for forty-four years and you don't even know what foundation is!?"

"Uhhh..." Andrew stammered, his mouth gaping open with offense. "I am not forty-four!"

It was pretty funny. Here's Miriam in her make-up and costume.

And here she is in her make-up and costume with somebody's dirty sock.

It was such a challenge to keep every child's stuff together! They come into the dressing room and just start peeling things off left and right. You know that routine when your kids come home from school and everything they brought home starts dripping off their bodies and trailing behind them (usually on the way to the kitchen for a snack): backpack, sweater, right shoe, left shoe, sock, other sock...

That's how the dressing room was: bobby pins flying, costumes trailing, shoes flipping off in every direction.

I was running around catching stuff and nattering instructions, "We need to keep your costume together! Let's find your other shoe! Whose tights are these? Put your clothes in your bag, not on the floor. Let's pick up these hangers before someone trips on them!"

It was like a warzone.

But in the end we had all the Fairies and Lost Boys (all of whom were played by girls) appropriately dressed and make-upped. And then the waiting began.

At first there were games of hide-and-seek and Simon Says and other such things, but soon we were told we had to be quiet and listen for our cue—the sound from the stage was being piped into our room—and out the electronic devices began popping. Rachel was content to watch her friend play on her iPad.

Miriam was as happy as a clam in the colouring corner. She's always happy to colour. I don't even want to talk about the state of my desk right now. Let's just say I've been busy with Peter Pan, Peter Pan, Peter Pan this week/month and my desk is under a veritable mountain of "paperwork."

Miriam could hardly stop looking at herself in the mirror. She's my little narcissist. But if I were that cute, I might have trouble looking away, too...

Those pesky flower hats caused us such grief. They were supposed to be strapped under the fairies' chins but our little fairies were so opposed to that method so last Saturday when Miriam was crying about the chin strap and refusing to put her hat on for rehearsal I plopped the band behind her ears and pinned it to her hair. This trend caught on like wildfire.

And soon all the little flower fairies were comfortable and happy in their flower hats.

Act one ran approximately 45 minutes. You'd be surprised how little time we actually spent waiting after wrangling all those little bodies into those costumes and plastering their faces with make-up and their hair with gel. It seems like we were just putting on the finishing touches when the Lost Boys were called on stage and the fairies were told to line up for their turn.

Here's Rachel looking a little nervous about life:

Here's Miriam so thrilled to be standing next to a pointe fairy:

Here's Rachel trying to maneuver through the hallway with her big flower hat on:

Keeping the fairies lined up in order was a bit of a struggle as well....but somehow they managed to be in the right order when they went on stage (maybe; this afternoon's performance was a little off—and I know this only because Rachel and Miriam are supposed to be in line together but they weren't; I think they got that sorted out this evening).

Rachel's good at worrying—just like me! It's a wonderful trait. (Not.)

Still working on getting in the correct order...

The fairies walk on stage together, in a line, holding hands. Rachel's first, then Miriam, and then this other little girl...who is only one month older than Miriam. I kid you not.

The size difference between the two is almost alarming.

Both Rachel and Miriam look a little nervous here, don't they?

And here they go, off to find the stage.

Don't mind Miriam's wardrobe malfunction. She was a little smaller than the average fairy so her costume was a little big on her. They at least took in her leotard on Wednesday night. When I asked the head seamstress about taking it in she said that they weren't really fitting the leotards to the girls—they were just trying to find one from the bin that fit alright and claiming that for their costume.

"But Miriam..." I started.

"Oh, you're Miriam's mom? Yeah...bring her to me in her leotard. I'll take it in. That thing is going to just fall right off of her!"

It was so saggy! And because the stretchy part in the back was too big for her it was literally held up by the strings around her neck. If the knot came undone it would slip down to her ankles. Her whole costume was falling off her all the time. Fortunately, she's young enough that she has no sense of shame so to be suddenly naked in a room of mirrors, surrounded by a crowd of people caused her no embarrassment.

The girls danced well again this evening; I watched them from the curtains.

Here are all the little fairies traipsing back to the dressing room (including our sweet little boy flower fairy; he was too cute):

Here are all the fairies with Miss Andrea, their choreographer/coach. Miss Andrea actually attended the University of Utah on a full-ride, four-year dancing scholarship (though she isn't from Utah originally). She's a beautiful dancer and was wonderful with the kids.

The halls of the theater (backstage) have been signed by visiting performers for years and years. You have to be invited to sign the wall...I'm not really sure how it works, but it's some kind of "honour." So, that's no ordinary graffiti in the background.

Somehow the girls were under the impression that they would get to keep their costumes at the end of the show. When I told them that they'd be taking them off and leaving them behind, they decided we should pose for a couple more pictures. Because you can never have enough pictures of yourself in the same costume, right?

They were pretty exhausted—having danced two shows back-to-back. Miriam got a little glazed...

I helped the girls out of their costumes and then left Rachel to be in charge of getting the two of them back into their street clothes while I helped the other fairies rush out of the costumes and make-up so they could meet their parents at intermission. I figured my girls could stand a little neglect since I wasn't waiting for them in the lobby.

They managed to get dressed, wash their make-up off, and put all their stuff into our basket very responsibly.

We grabbed Miss Andrea for a couple of pictures before we left:

Daddy and Benjamin met us all in the lobby, where Andrew presented each of the girls with a rose.

Rachel saw Miss Boleyn and Wendy being presented with bouquets at the end of the afternoon show. Then she saw other dancers carrying around flowers. Then she saw the bucket of roses for sale in the lobby (but apparently didn't see the sign) and asked if they could just take a rose because they were dancers. I explained that the roses were for sale and that we hadn't purchased any. 

She did her best to maintain her composure, but I could see that inside she was breaking. 

Why hadn't we bought her a rose? Didn't she do a good job, too? 

She didn't voice her concerns. She didn't whine or complain or throw a fit. She just said, "Oh, okay."

I've never been given a rose after a performance. And it didn't ever break my heart. And I think I turned out just fine. But I do wonder how it would have felt to have gotten a rose... I imagine that probably it would have felt great. 

As Andrew and Benjamin were leaving (after the first show today), I mentioned to Andrew that if he wanted to find some flowers for the girls...cheaper than for what they were selling them for in the lobby...that they'd be thrilled. It just so happens that a random flower vendor had set up shop at the corner of the main street by our house. He bought two roses from him at a steal of a deal and presented them to his little ballerinas with gusto. They were pleased as punch.

They danced out of the theater together, high on the thrill of the evening.

They did a terrific job, and in spite of all the craziness, I think we might be signing up for this again next year. Like I said, the girls were already discussing next year's show on the way home...


  1. There aren't enough adjectives right now--absolutely stunning, darling, cute, amazing, etc.!

  2. How wonderful! And I'm glad they got roses! :)

  3. Oh, and happy mother's day to you! I hope you had a lovely day.

  4. Gorgeous! What fun costumes, too! I still remember my first performances, and they were such fun! It's still fun and I still love being surprised by flowers after - Blake completely surprised me after my recent Broadway showcase. We'd come together and I knew he didn't have any then, though I assumed with a violinist sister he might know about the post-show flowers thing but was totally okay if he didn't, and he snuck away in between the matinee and evening shows to buy me flowers. It was so sweet.

  5. Totally adorable, but as a mom made me feel exhausted. Peach has dance pictures today and I'll have all the kids. This mom is burned out! Great idea with the flowers!

  6. So cute! And everybody needs a flower now and then! (I gave my 3 flowers after their band concert last year)