A Gumdrop Confronts Stage Fright And Exits Stage Right

So some of you may remember that I began tap lessons this past fall and I have been spending my Tuesday evenings learning to tap dance with five middle school girls. You may also recall that I decided early on not to participate with my class in the annual recital. Because I am not twelve. I did tell Ronnie, or Miss Ronnie as she is called by all of her students except me because, again, I am not twelve, that I would help at the recital and would do anything except dress, apply make up to or style the hair of small children.

I wouldn’t say I don’t like small children. I wouldn’t say I like them either. I’m like Switzerland. I’m neutral on the subject. I don’t spend much time around small children because I don’t find them endlessly fascinating. My fascination with them lasts about thirty minutes and then I’m ready to talk with an adult. Which is not to say you can’t have interesting conversations with first graders. I like to be very literal with them. I got to do that today when I conversed with a seven year old gumdrop.

Now, I’m not talking about a seven year old gumdrop you can eat because who would keep a gumdrop that long and I don’t talk to inanimate objects except for those times when I do. But this was not an inanimate object. It was  a seven year old girl dressed in her gumdrop costume for the gumdrop number that was danced to what sounded like polka music. I had half of the gumdrops lined up ready to go on the stage.

Seven year old gumdrop (SYOG): Me and Kayla have stage fright.

Me: You shouldn’t be afraid of the stage.

SYOG: That’s not what it means. It means afraid of the audience.

Me: That would be audience fright. But you don’t need to be afraid of the audience either because you have that big stage between you and the audience.

The SYOG was speechless. I also like to think I cured her stage or audience fright because she performed as well as one would expect seven year olds with short attention spans to perform.

The reason I was lining gumdrops up on the side of the stage was because a couple of weeks ago Ronnie asked if I would be willing to help at the recital and I said of course and she said good and that I was going to be the Right Stage Manager and she would explain everything at the dress rehearsal. I thought that seemed like an easy job. After all, the stage doesn’t move and I don’t even have to manage all of it. Just the right side. I think I can do this.

And apparently, I can, because the dress rehearsal was today and there were no major mishaps or mishaps of any kind on the right side of the stage. I passed out and collected props, lined up gumdrops and forest pixies and disco mice in the wings and even had to collect the disco mice ears mid routine as they ran off stage before running back out to do somersaults which apparently cannot be done while wearing disco mice ears.

And when the dress rehearsal concluded I collected all the props and laid them out on the table to be ready for tomorrow’s performance. So if all goes well tomorrow, I can list Right Stage Manager on my resume along with goat herder.