The first Monday in January for most people means getting back to their daily routine.  Adults off to work, children go to school, and my family went to sleep.  Well, not literally of course, but it is fast becoming a part of our new year’s tradition to head off to Missoula Children’s Theatre auditions at the nearby civic center.  This year’s local offering is Sleeping Beauty.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Missoula, or maybe just attended a performance, here are the basics.  Monday afternoon the children audition for the two directors.  Kids from K-12 are allowed to participate and they all get up on the stage together in a large circle with two extremely energetic people in the center.  For two hours the kids are led through the auditions which involve telling their name and age (as energetically as possible), leaning a simple line and repeating it (as energetically as possible), being told to express a feeling or react to a statement (you guessed it, as energetically as possible).

The parents that sit through this sometimes hilarious process do our best to guess which kids are getting a part and sympathize with the kids who are obviously melting under the pressure  – all while being somewhat quiet and not interfering with what’s happening on the stage.

At the end of this process the cast is announced.  There are only parts for 50-60 kids (depending on which play is being performed) so the larger the group auditioning the more sad faces there are at the end of auditions.  Then – and this is the scary part – after a short break rehearsals begin that evening.

Rehearsals begin just after school time and got until almost 9pm through Friday night.  Saturday is an all day affair with last rehearsals and two shows.  It’s amazing to see how it all gets pulled together in just one week.

This year we have one Assistant Director and one very unhappy child.  So I will play supportive Mom and spread my time between the civic center theatre and the rec center dance studios.  My one blessing – they’re at opposite ends of the same building. The bad part – completely different schedules.

So at the end of this intense and exciting first week of January our two directors will load their scripts, costumes and props into their Missoula little red truck and head off to the next town and the next group of kids.  Definitely a job for the young end energetic.

As for us, we will have a day of recovery before returning to our mundane, non theatre, world. On with the show!