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Walking down the wooded trail to the site of that night’s performance, a feeling of panic overcomes me – What was I thinking? Will three girls under the age of seven really be able to sit still through a ninety-minute live performance? How embarrassing will it be to walk out mid-way through the show?
Putting my fears aside, I notice that they are happily skipping down the gravel path to the theater. This type of freedom wasn’t available to them as we walked the crowded streets of Fish Creek earlier in the day. We spot a wooded trail marker ahead that points us to the “Theater”, very unusual to see such a sign in the middle of the forest!
Then, Devyn spies the candy booth, “Can we get candy for the show?” Okay, this might not be so bad, this venue offers candy and popcorn, and we are now armed with “bribes”!
A light rain is falling as we leave the candy stand, and they spot the fire pit down the road. Situated in a state park, the area also offers many opportunities to engage in other outdoor activities. The girls check out the different seats in the fire circle, and innocently inquire about the outhouses.
Waiting in line for the show to start we get a better view of the stage. Massive trees frame the wooden stage in the forest, and rows of wooden benches welcome the theatergoers as they approach the area. It is a small, outdoor theater and it appears that any seat would offer a great view of the stage. As the oldest, Teagan lets us know that she has already seen some plays at school, but this is the first time that she is sitting outside to see a play.
The evening’s performance begins with the night’s narrator walking on-stage to introduce the play. He explains that tonight’s play is called a “melodrama” and asks us to participate by responding to the different characters during the show, i.e. boo the villain, cheer on the hero, and swoon over the damsel in distress. The girls are overjoyed to find that they won’t need to be quiet throughout the performance, and begin to shout out their responses, joining “children” of all ages enthusiastically practicing their parts by booing and cheering on the actors.
Suddenly, a hush comes over the crowd as the performance begins. After twenty minutes, I glance up at the clear night sky, and then over at the girls. They are intently watching the show, responding with the rest of the audience when the hero, heroine or villain appears. The live musical numbers that are part of the show also seem to mesmerize them. Ninety minutes passes quickly, and I realize that my fears were unfounded. The show completely captivated the children, and the “bribes” that we purchased earlier in the night were not needed and forgotten.
Walking back to the car, we talk about their favorite parts of the show, and Kelsey informs me that she almost forgot she was sitting outside because the show was so good.
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