The school musical is upon us. It is around us, above us, and even underneath us. Yesterday during naptime, Oldest Daughter practiced her viola part, playing along with the CD blasting at full volume in the room just below the master bedroom. Youngest Daughter listens to the recording every chance she gets.
The musical is Les Miserables, a truly monumental work, covering themes of redemption, mercy, and revolution. My two teens play in the pit orchestra for the musical. The whole endeavor is commanded by the dreaded Mr P. In real life he is probably a nice man, but we all live in fear of him because of his philosophy that nothing is more important than this high school musical. He offers neither redemption nor mercy. Revolution is out of the question. As the local dictator, he holds all the cards.
My friend, whose son is in the musical, calls me and says, “Do you want to pick up The Miserables tonight, or shall I?”
Yesterday there was much singing of “One More Day” in the Common Household, because today is the final rehearsal. This morning, the following exchanges took place shortly before my husband took the kids to Temple School (Sunday School at the syngagogue):
Son: “I need a black shirt.”
Me, rushing out the door to church: “Don’t you have a black shirt from the “Cats” musical?”
Son: “It’s not entirely black.”
Dad: “What happens if you aren’t wearing a black shirt?”
Son: “Mr. P will be really angry!”
I leave for church, giving thanks. While I am away, the angst continues...
My husband is having breakfast. The Son, who is usually a calm person, is standing over him, admonishing him thusly:
“Dad, we can’t linger at Temple today, because we need to be at rehearsal in our seats ready to play at 12:45, so – no sticking around talking to anybody! We have to leave immediately!” He is quite agitated, and is ruining my husband’s breakfast. Then he adds, “Dad, I need a black shirt.”
Dad: “What do you want me to do, leap up from my breakfast and find you a black shirt?”
Son: “Last year you had a black shirt that I used.”
Dad: “Why don’t you go look in my closet for a black shirt?”
Son: “You didn’t tell me I could look in your closet. And don’t forget, we can’t be late to rehearsal!”
Dad: “What are the consequences if you are late?”
Son: “Mr P will be really annoyed at us!”
In the car on the way to Temple, Oldest Daughter is energetically chastising her brother, going on and on: “You can’t wear that to Temple School! You have to be dressed for rehearsal now! You won’t have time to change your clothes! You won’t even have time to eat lunch! We have to be at rehearsal at 12:45!”
Dad: What happens if you aren’t there on time?
Youngest Daughter, who is not even in the musical, pipes up, “Mr P will get really mad!”
Rumor has it that someone was late for rehearsal. The offender has been clapped in prison and will be released on parole in 19 years. Mr P was heard to exclaim,
And so it has been and so it is written
On the doorway to paradise
That those who falter and those who fall
Must pay the price!