Early in September, right before Mothers’ Day, the 24th Street Theatre that is up in Los Angeles was looking to post something by a local Grandmother that related to the theater. Lisa over at Grandmas Briefs put them in touch with me. Thank you Lisa. It was my 15 minutes of fame and glory when they re-posted The Patriotic Performance. I had posted it back in June and it is one of my favorites just because the event was one of my favorites!
Then a few weeks ago, the girl I had worked with emailed me. “I want to invite you to our show this weekend, NEARLY LEAR. It’s a touring one-woman show from Canada, KING LEAR told from the POV of the (female) fool. It’s actually good for ages 7 & up! She focuses on the father/daughter relationship and clear, magical storytelling. I’d love to meet in person and introduce Amara to the actress.”
Introduce Amara to the actress in front of Grandma? And so I decided that we would go to the Sunday matinee. Traffic shouldn’t be as heavy and I really didn’t want to drive to places unknown after dark! I am directionally impaired! I thought it would be fun if we both dressed up a little and for at least a week in advance we had fun talking about going to “the theatre” which you have to be sure and pronounce very pretentiously.
From the beginning, I was a little worried that the play might be over Amara’s head. Some parts were. It is a hard concept for a child to understand one person doing all these different parts when there is virtually no costume change or any easy way to keep the characters straight. It was a story she didn’t know at all but — even with all of that, she really had a good time and she says she really enjoyed it. She only squirmed a lot!
The little theater was very cool. It was an old carriage house they converted to a theater and it only seated 80 people. Amara and I counted seats and rows and did the math! We got seats in the 2nd row and Amara was on the isle. I was hoping this would mean she’d get some attention from the actress. She did! Did I mention this little theater is in downtown Los Angeles? OK, I need to back up a bit here and ask you the most important question that Amara has been discussing ever since she found out the play was in LA. “DO you know what else is in LA Grandma?” The correct answer is the American Girl Doll Store!
Back to my story, in getting to the theater I got lost. This wasn’t really my fault. Google Map wronged me! I was on the wrong freeway in downtown Los Angeles. We got off and stopped at a gas station for directions. The guy was rude and not very helpful. Not only do I NOT have any games on my phone, I do not have GPS on it or in my car. We ended up calling her Mommy and Daddy to get directions from them. “Go up to Main Street and turn left”. Found Main Street and it is closed because they were having a pumpkin festival or something! It was at this point that Amara generously offered up the idea that we just give up and go to the American Girl Doll store! Kids! We finally made it to the theater and we were even early! They had 2 girls serving free drinks and wine and there were little tables where you could sit and chat. We relaxed and Amara talked to everyone in the lobby! Cindy, the girl who was our contact there, introduced herself and we met someone else involved with the theater who was very nice, too! Everyone who talked to Amara asked her if she had ever been to a play before? She was thrilled to tell them all about the Library Circus. It was so fun to watch!
Then there was the play! It really made me wish I knew Shakespeare better so that I could explain things better to Amara but we both learned a lot and had a great time. Afterwards I asked her what her favorite part was. Immediate answers “the eyeballs and the storm”!
I think the eyeball scene was the real favorite. She loves eyeballs! In the scene, King Lear had ordered this guy’s eyes be poked out with a shoe! Gross! But the actress made it really funny. She had her back to us — remember it is only her on stage — and she pretends her eye is being poked out and she is writhing in pain when all of a sudden this big eyeball on a long rubber band comes flying over her shoulder! Then the other one comes flying! In pain, she gets down on her hands and knees to search for them. She finds one but can’t find the other. The audience is telling her left, right, hot, cold and finally she asks if “someone could just get it for her?” Enter Amara!!! She was so excited that she got to get up and give her the eyeball and that everyone was clapping!
Then there was the scene about the storm. In the original story, Lear does battle with the worst storm ever! In this version, the actress goes after the audience with a squirt bottle! Of course Amara could not get wet enough and kept asking for more. To the point that the actress stops and says “More?” Amara was bouncing up and down yelling “Yes”. So the actress says to her “Well you have to tell the storm please!” And Amara comes right back with “Please may I have some more storm?” Cutest thing ever! She loved being the center of attention!
Now you know why these were her two favorite parts, she was in them both! We really did have fun! After the play, everyone just hung out in the little lobby and they served hot, homemade tamales! Plus there was a fruit and veggie plate, chips dip and champagne! It was very nice. The actress came out and talked to everyone, including Amara who she thanked for all of her help! Amara glowed and so did Grandma.
Of course the topic of conversation on the way home was — The American Girl Store! Earlier, while waiting for the play to start, I had told her that NEXT time we go to the theater we will make a plan to go there, too. She wants to get her doll’s ears pierced and her hair done and she wants to eat at the American Girl Cafe. I told her she had to buy me lunch!!! By the time we left the theater she forgot about the next time stipulation and wanted to know “just when I was planning on taking her to The Store?” I reminded her of the theater clause — it may be how I get her to the theater again and if not it will mean I don’t have to go to LA!
Our drive home was nice, easy and uneventful! I did not get lost. I am glad we went and that we got dressed up pretty and curled our hairs! It made it fun and memorable. I have to find some more stuff like this to do with her locally that is either free or inexpensive.
Or we could just stay home and make Monkey Bread.