I hope this note finds you well.
Despite all the problems and tragedies that surround us, there are always a few hints that maybe things aren’t as bad as they may seem; while we are immersed in our various dramas, life goes on in some semblance of order.
In the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to see my granddaughter, Dakota, in a pair of performances: one at her school and the other at the Royal Theater in Benton.
In her 3rd grade Christmas performance, she portrayed the Candy Cane Hero who saves Christmas from the villain, Black Bart. It was a delightful politically correct show that demonstrated the villain was not really a bad guy but just misunderstood and under-appreciated. Instead of banishing him, she and the other actors performed a bit of psychotherapy and soon, he gave up his villainous ways, Christmas was saved and everyone lived happily ever after.
Dakota is a natural. She projects well and there doesn’t seem to be a shy bone in her body. She has never met a stranger and always has a story to tell.
Later in the same week, Annette and I went to a second show presented by the Young Players at the Royal Theater of Benton. As many of you know, the Royal Players is the community theater group in Benton that started back in the early 1990s.
A number of years ago, Daphne Shoppach and several veterans of the Royal Players started the Young Players for kids under eighteen. Generally, they do two or three full productions shows a year. At Christmas this year, they decided to create a production called The Mischievous Elves.
For several weeks, members of the Young Players were encouraged to present stories they had written. These stories were then workshopped by the children. They then decided which stories should be included in the production, auditioned for the show and put on a schedule of rehearsals.
As they went through the process of creating the show, two of the stories that made the cut were done by our granddaughters. Charlie, Dakota’s older sister, wrote a piece about an eventful evening where the two girls and their step-brother were engaged in a game of log-rolling called My Brother’s Evil Nightstand. Dakota’s entry was about an episode at the beach in Florida where she and her uncle are overwhelmed by the sea called The Big Wave.
Charlie made the decision that she did not want to be on the stage but chose instead to restrict herself to writing and working backstage. Of the ten pieces performed, Dakota acted in five and narrated one.
After the show, all the children were surrounded by groups of proud family and friends, doting over the young actors; it is the kind of thing that addicts people to the stage.
It is important to remember that experiences like this don’t happen by accident. They are the work of good people, like the teachers at school, going over and above their jobs to coax these children out of their shells. They are the work of wonderful, talented people, like Daphne Shoppach, who devote themselves to these children and the community, enriching all our lives.
Have a nice journey.