Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thankful for the Drama in our Lives

Jeremie (as Anthony) and Hannah (as Johanna) 
sing a duet "Kiss Me" in the performance of the musical Sweeney Todd

Our lives are filled with drama! Not a week goes by that something doesn't catch us off guard and throw a wrench into our living-happily-ever-after existence. 

I'm thinking of the last several months . .  . brother-in-law dies an unexpected death; take a sad trip to Florida; local teen brothers die in a car wreck; purchase of new car (how we gonna pay?); homeschooling is officially over; son stays out too late; the nest is almost empty; I feel like a bad mother; diagnosis of an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's thyroiditis); hubby could lose a second toe from a new infection; the air-conditioner breaks; saying good-bye to my beloved homeschool books on ebay; grasshoppers devour my garden; fires in Colorado . . . you get the picture.

Wouldn't it be cool to assume the identity of someone else—but for an evening, and take a breather? I think it would be very healthy. And it beats having to clear your mind (as in don't think at all) to avoid stress. But I'm not going to talk about the everyday life's drama here. Even though it has given us experiences in which to use while we perform on the big stage—if we choose to do so.

I'm thankful for our local theater, the Lyric Theater, and the wonderful people that make it possible that a starting out nobody kid can get a chance to act on stage, even get a lead role, and have a great time making new friends and exploring the wonders of music and drama, creativity, perseverance, and hard work.

 The Wig Maker (Jeremie, from Sweeney Todd)

While my youngest son Jeremie started out years ago by attending a Children's Workshop, he then got a part as the Grinch in Seusical the Musical (and won an award too), it wasn't until this last homeschool year that he really started to get involved. His 12th grade year encompassed many delight-directed activities including voice lessons, piano and guitar practice, singing duets with his lady friend, and writing songs. With three plays under his belt in the last year, The Wizard of Oz looms ahead in August. Can't wait to see it!

Ben has the best animated voices, and should look for work in that area! He took an acting workshop at age 15 where he wrote his own skit and performed it along with his classmates who had each written their own. He almost quit the class since he shared the stage with mostly older accomplished women, but he hung in there and learned lessons of a job well done and starting what you finish. His humorous and friendly personality shined. He was in South Pacific before he moved to another country (not really—only 1.5 hours away). And surprise! He won an award for young supporting actor for his performance! Bravo I say! 

Sometimes I feel bad in that I discouraged my sons when I should have been encouraging them in past years. I have since learned that mindset is VERY important! You can do what you put forth effort into learning. Simple. My sons have showed me that over and over.

South Pacific was a blast for Ben and Jeremie (the two shirtless sailors)

An on-the-shy-side homeschool kid his whole life, Gideon took a drama class at college his first year and had a blast there. It changed his personality—he lost his fear of people it seems (a good thing) and he just sort of blossomed into who he is today (an outgoing, adventurous, talented, and spontaneous 23 year old). He got the lead role of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (a phenomenal production) and seeing his cat-like slithering and mewing on stage was nothing short of delightful. I'm quivering as I remember him . . .

Gideon as Jack Sparrow (complete with accent) just for fun!
His love for acting didn't die when he left college. There was a stint when he worked for Olive Garden waiting tables and he'd have fun using different accents with the patrons (Russian, Australian, German, etc.) Most of them thought he was cute, clever, and divine, but at least one co-worker was jealous of the attention he got and complained. 

He was Captain Jack Sparrow on occasion and won two costume contests. He says that he stayed in character the whole time and that is mainly why he won. He had quite a following of smitten teeny boppers too! 

In real life, we often see the results of his theatrical mentality . . . he, his brother, and a number of friends just decided to sit down in the middle of Wal-Mart one night and play cards! What? Why the manager let them, I don't know!

Jeremie as Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream

This was different. My son dressing up as a woman? Well, it's theater, after all. He played the part of a guy that reluctantly has to dress up and play the part of a woman in a play (sound familiar?) and I tell you, Flute added an element of hilarity that fit perfect among the other comical meanderings. He was hilarious! And gee, I finally got to have a daughter (for a few hours at least).

The benefits of participating in theater are many. Though I did a few small acting things in my early schooling days, I am not in theater at this stage of my life. But I have a love for the arts and grew up as a participant in audiences all over south Florida. I marvel at the way God used drama in our homeschool and am thankful for all its benefits to our family.

Get out of your comfort zone if you have to, but consider the whole array of arts as an adjunct to your homeschool experience. Exchange a little of life's natural drama for a fun experience of cultural characterization. Just run with it and see what happens.

P.S. Here's hubby dramatizing a bit at home in his "V" bike outfit where V frequently stands for vehicle or voracious, but also valiant!


  1. Wonderful post Kathy. Bear is a performer child and I know when she is old enough joining our local parks in their theater classes would be pure joy for her. She begs to be on stage and that is why she insists on ballet, because they can perform. I use to doubt that children could have an inate desire to perform until my child.

    Great post and I can't wait to read the next chapter of the journey.

    Blessings, gentle friend.

  2. Sounds wonderful Kim. What a fun journey you are on! I wish I would have directed my oldest into something like theater when he was younger, but hey, you are never too old, right? Thanks for responding.


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