I’ve been on a Willy Wonka adventure for the last couple months, which culminated in a marathon of seven performances by two separate casts this past weekend. They will do the same next week. Their resilience and buoyancy amazes me. As I move set pieces, round up children, try to keep them quiet while still having a fun, I realize how out of condition I am. However, being backstage, in the thick of it, is also exhilarating.
Each one of these young performers has put in hours of rehearsal, learning songs and dances, along with lines and being responsible for scene and costume changes. Some of them are only six years old. So what’s an old seventy five year old woman doing in the middle of all this? What am I – some kind of masochist?
After a short retirement, of about eight months, I found myself floundering and eager to return to one of the things that makes me who I am. I became involved with a new children’s theater, very close to home as a member of the board of directors. Now I’m stage managing this delightful rendition of the Willy Wonka story.
I believe our Oompa Loompas are much cuter than those pictured above, but each of ours has their own personality and most of them have great leadership qualities – which can lead to chaos. In spite of the apparent skirmish to be first, they are slowly learning the importance of teamwork. There were too many chiefs at first. By the time the show closes, they will all be friends and anxious to start another project.
The beauty of theater is that it’s the perfect outlet for expression. You can put on a “mask” for a while, become someone else, build your confidence, increase communication skills and learn how to work on a team to solve problems. In this world full of instant information and little personal interaction, it also gives them the opportunity to interact with others and make lifelong friends .
I’d really missed that for those eight months of retirement. I guess God gave me those months to regroup – to rethink – to come up with a plan that would fit my current age and passion for doing what I love. It’s funny how He places opportunities within our reach – how he leads us in the right direction – gives us the free will to make the right choices.
I’ve been singing the Oompa Loompa songs and those critters have made a few appearances in my dreams. I’ll probably continue to sing these songs for another month, but like those kids – I’ll soon be ready for another project.
Thank you, Lord, for leading me to this new adventure at this point in my life. You always know where to put me and how to use me. Im so grateful to have this opportunity. Continue to bless the children as they go on to finish another hard weekend. Keep them safe and healthy so they can enjoy their moments of bringing joy to others. Amen!