My son has always been very animated. He loves play-acting his favorite scenes from movies – particularly live action, adventure films like Indiana Jones. Upon watching Broon perform at a local Renaissance Faire last year, he found Broon’s show on YouTube and proceeded to watch it over and over again until he had memorized his lines and could recreate the show himself – with whip props and all.
He also loves to play the piano whenever he has an audience and after each recital, will play additional songs from his repertoire as the other students and guests visit with one another. Seeing his enthusiasm, I knew I had to find a performing arts class or drama production.
In the winter, I read about auditions for a local production of Willy Wonka Jr. I knew that a creative outlet like this would be the perfect experience for both kids. I signed them up and let anticipation build.
Days before the audition, my little man began to doubt himself. He was nervous and he stated that he didn’t want to audition. He didn’t want to participate. I held strong to my conviction that he would enjoy the experience. “Just give it a try. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do another one. I think you will really like it though, Sweatheart. Don’t give up before you even start.”
On the day of auditions, the kids came prepared to read lines and sing a song. Upon arrival, we learned there were fewer kids than there were parts so they were not requiring lines to be read. The only requirement was a song, to give the directors a little peak into their personalities.
My daughter chose to sing The Star Spangled Banner and my son sang 新年好 (XīnNiánHǎo – Happy New Year). She was her usual demure, quiet young lady. He the giggly, boisterous boy. I wasn’t surprised when she was cast at Mrs. Beauregard (Violet’s mother) and he, as Mike Teavee.
On the first day of rehearsals (we began twice weekly rehearsals in early January with the performances slated for the first weekend in April), the directors talked briefly about all that they could expect during the next few months. She even listed off all the life skills they would develop as a result of their experience in theater.
The Benefits of Theater Experiences
- Problem Solving
- Nonverbal Communication
- Receiving Constructive Criticism
They made friends with the other cast members, developed professional relationships with the directors, and discovered a passion for theater. They are already asking about the next stage opportunity. As we are not connected to a charter school, this is a little harder than it seems.
Due to the contract agreement, I am unable to share a video of their performance. It was an incredible experience, however, and the kids continue to share their humorous tales of backstage antics. I know we will be singing Willy Wonka Jr songs for many months, if not years, to come.