Friday, 17 September 2010

First Night. For the Second Time.

Good job I attacked my son's hair the day after opening night. Otherwise I would now be looking back at the photo of he and I next to Mr. Mel Brooks, upstaged by that crooked fringe. Should have known better than to do it myself. With nail scissors. I have told friends I am planning to hand over my mother's license by the weekend. They tell me I have embraced a pivotal rite of passage in motherhood.

He was cleaned up by the kind Jeff, Head of Hair - pardon the pun - who volunteered his expertise to correct my creation the following day at the theatre so that he would no longer look like a young Jacobi in medieval disguise. Even the 50 or so blank faced wig stands in Jeff's room, topped with tresses, seemed to be raising an eyebrow at me.

Thankfully, on the night of the big party, I restrained myself. Boy and I arrived, all gussied up in party gear ready to celebrate the new cast's opening that evening. We had watched the matinee with much anticipation on account of the cast changes and adjustments to direction and set. Mr. Fedora approved of the changes of the transference scene. It's the first thing he told me after the curtain call. We arrived just in time to catch the entire creative team wipe by us and onto the stage. Mel Brooks, Susan Stroman, the designers and producers, flanked by the new creative staff who will be keeping the show in tip top shape as it continues on its journey. The hush that fell was palpable. Like a royal walk-by but with no handshakes. I was swept over into silence also, barely managing an inane grin. These are the people who have facilitated our family's adventures in giving Cory this fantastic opportunity.

Me, wobbling on high heels, tottered in after them, Sam on hip, to the stage, where we found Dad and his hump. The resident director urged Sammy forward, telling Mr. Brooks that he must meet him. The latter is all smiles. The younger comes over a little coy beneath the rim of his fedora. Mr. Brooks insists on a family shot before the cast group pic. Mum waddles into frame, cheshire grin plastered across my face underneath the blusher. Even boy asked me how come my cheeks were so red? I blame it on the excitement of it all. Mr. Brooks, to my left is also grinning, though unlike me, the right side of deranged. After the big group shot, where Sammy is commanded to take centre (he hesitates not) we all clip clop to the party round the corner.

Little fella barely manages to ask for a lemonade at the bar, take a gulp, before he conks out in Dad's arms. Spends the rest of the evening laid out on a fancy black leather chair covered in Dad's suit jacket across from the roaring uber trendy fire. Party blaring about him, out cold to the martini fuelled frolics. Mum notices that all feeling in her feet has given way to absurd pain. I take a moment to wonder how, having worn the same shoes almost a year ago I have no memory of them being portable torture contraptions. Then I remember I was anaesthetised by starstruckedness at The White House. I believe I lost all feeling from the neck down that night, by the time my jaw thumped on the floor when the first person I locked eyes with was Scorsese.

Dad and I, almost recovered but still pumping with antibiotics, sip on our cranberry juices and enjoy mingling with the new troupe. I notice most of them snapping a picture of the Sam-man. I think I could create an entire album of Sam' sleeping spots. Atop the grand piano in Houston and under dad's dressing table amongst my personal favourites. His sleeping antics are new to them. I suddenly feel a little clump of nostalgia at the back of my throat for the acting family we have had to part with. It is swallowed down with anticipation for the adventures to be had with the new lot.

Eventually we hobble home, mum hastily changing into flip flops thank you very much. Relaxed summer night walks are what make a summer to me. This saunter back with a couple of the crew, Austin (of the travelling fuschia bar) and Ben (soundie who is teaching Sam to read by enlisting him during organisation of his microphone pockets in his holder wotsit) and Matthew Vargo (of Birmingham, MI, tea fame). Sam, scooped up from sofa, wrapped up and placed in stroller. In that sweet limbo between sleep and wake. They head up to the after after party. We call it a night. Gym in the morning.

Yes after my usual scout around the confusing alleys of Google I came across Team OC. On closer inspection I find pictures of a hanger size gymnasium with classes for children 6months to young adult. We arrive at the place, literally next to the runway of John Wayne Airport. Our conversations cut through by the roar of engines overhead. After a moment spying the hundresd of private jets parked beyond the wire fence that seperates the industrial zone form the airport we head in, past the 4 1/2 sign in the parking lot. Rose, a smiley Phillipino young woman welcomes us and hands our free trial card over. Boy, Ma and Pa can barely contain their excitement when they enter the gymnasium. To say it is filled to overflowing with squeaky clean state of the art rubber aparatus fit for the best Olympian would be putting it mildly. Let's just say, we've never observed a gym class, for three year olds at least, where the teacher sends each child to a different trampoline rather than wait in line. Or watched the tots leap across the space on a long tumble trampoline the length of half a hangar. Not one rope hanging appendage climby thing. Four. Not one or two balance beams. Seventeen. Plus three dance studios and a martial arts space. All with glass observation walls. A homework room (I see some children actually live here) an open kitchen, a snack dispenser, and my personal favourite, a shoppe. In all its rhinestone glitzy gym wares as far removed from ye olde shoppe as you can get but still.

Dad and I sit, upright and eager, faces enacting every move Miss Sarah asks of her little clan. They follow her around the immensity like little ducklings. The outline of Sam somewhat hazy from our back row seats at the top end of the tiered seating area, but for the big black balls for eyes that are visibly vibrating with delight. After the class Miss Sarah tells us she has never seen a three year old do a cartwheel before. Boy answers before we can take a breath to reply, "I LOVE it. I just LOVE it." Many are the folks in the cast who have commented that with his gene pool, he is in prime position to develop into a 5ft acrobat.

Whilst we had been watching the tyke swing frizzing with pleasure about the space, we also clock the class taking place parallel to them at the opposite end of the hangar. A mother and baby group are putting their 10 month olds through their paces with some heavy duty soft play assault courses. Never too early to develop upper body strength I see. By the time the three year olds are on the balance beams the babies are into the sing song round up of their class. I learn about the ten little Indians who swim down the river to their teepee. When I turn to Cory his face is a little pale with surprise. Like him, I thought that song had been evaporated into 1970s history. Apparently not. Every lesson we have been to since I have heard the reprise. Good news is they always do make it to the teepee.

After class we return to reception and enlist the boy. He bouncing, from foot to foot, inhaling pretzels as if his life depended on it. I spose it does really. Whilst we are plotting our weeks ahead Cory catches sight of the Sense` in the background, swirling into Karate moves from a seated position infront of his computer screen. He looks up and catches Cory giggling. Luckily he has a sense of humour and laughs at himself too. Never been an instinctive thing of mine to tease a black belter. Cory's irreverence is one of my favourite things about him. He clowns around equally with everyone and especially about himself. He had no choice the other night when I read out aloud an interview he had done for Broadway World. In the beginning I felt like the literal transposition of his chat with the reporter was hard "out-aloud" reading but, by half way through, we were both in stitches seeing as literally every other sentence the word Laughs in brackets appeared. If you didn't know otherwise you would swear Cory was stone drunk when he did this. Either that or a man reaching his mid life crisis with the dizziness of a pre pubescent in hormone overdrive. Which is what we both seemed like by the end of reading it, giggling hysterically.

Honestly. Every. Other. Word. (Laughs)

Which is what the lady who was dressed in a red halterneck all in one lycra job with a long tutu and a pink plastic tiara did when she was explaining the class she was about to teach. BAck at Team OC HQ, from under her smirk, as she sat patiently amongst the mums (and Dad) she tells us she leads the Princess Prep class. I know my face contorts into one of those barely concealed expressions. The ones Cor reminds me are bad news in public places and which I remind him are the product of an obsession with observing details about everything and everyone and which will stand me in good stead. One day. Maybe. And anyway why waste time being anonymous when you could be gleaning a myriad of information from a stranger across the carriage? You never know when it may come in handy. In fairness I fear this may be akin to hoarding clutter, but of the mind. No, I take that back. I am nosey. There's the end to it.

Anyhows, on clocking my face, tutu lady starts qualifying what her class is, in a surprisingly tongue-in-cheek manner. Her hand shoeing away imaginary flies as she lists teaching arts, crafts, dance, and, most importantly, manners. To wannabe princesses. I suddenly become self conscious of my accent. And a latent British snobbery rearing it's ghastly head wondering on the meaning and significance of princesses in Orange County. Ought I give the girls and their mums the heads up on the disastrous history of previous american-anglo royal alliances?

The day before, in a similar vein, I had read advertisements for character and social skills building for young girls, starting from as early as five. I suddenly feel a little overwhelmed by the folks profiting from the programming of very young women. Is not all of this part and parcel of the very influences that grown women criticise the media for and yet invest in through via their young daughters? The face creams? The diets? The suck-you-in pants? By my own admission I am guilty of all of the above, but I would hope, should I ever have the good fortune to be mother to a daughter that I would revel in her un-gelled tresses matted with play and tree climbing and dancing to music only she can hear? Before I know it I jokily ask what young Princes learn about? With an ironic wink she tells us that they learn to open doors and pay for the lessons for the girls. The mums (and Dad) laugh at the whole thing, as do I, and yet, a little seed of disquiet sits in my belly. The moment shot through when boy rushes out of his class, aglow with post tap dance delirium and we head out into the sunshine past the blonde blow dries, sweeping off the shoulder summer dresses oversized sunglass and onto the tarmac, narrowly escaping the urge to jump over the fence and get in one of the little planes. Just for the fun of it.

The following days are marked by a noticeable lack of manic exploration and a need to generally introvert a little. On my part at least. Though we are looking forward to hiring a car next week. There are beaches but a few miles away that have our sand scrawled names on it. Plus a dear friend of Cory's is in San Diego and has invited us for an overnight stay. Her little daughter has just turned two. Sam has seen the pictures and keeps asking me when we are going to play with the baby? He did today also, as we sauntered back from the grocery store, mum all smug having fitted an entire shop into a new cooler picnic hamper wotsit on wheels with flap for cutlery and plates. Just what we have needed for our mini kitchen, for, what almost a year?! Finally hunted it down at one of those plastic smelling mega chains. It was just as we past a lady, flashing us a smile from under her cloth hat, eyes hidden under her black sunglasses, 6ft long braid hanging in a U shape from behind her head and tucked into her back pocket. For safe keeping I suppose.

Till San Diego, we have our mall shenanigans to look forward to. I appear to be surprisingly willing to launch myself headlong into the whole OC county mall culture. When in Rome. Besides, there is a boy who believes he is able to transform into a tiger of a saturday. Who am I to rob him of such pleasures?

I've even checked the schedule.

Not a coconut shell in sight.

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