I'm so incredibly proud of Angela tonight! A couple weeks ago I mentioned that she'd been invited to join the SOS Players, which is a teen theater group that travels the nation doing their thing in schools, etc. Well, there have been several of the kids who are cast in "Seussical" who have expressed an interest in this so the executive director decided to go ahead and hold open auditions. The kids were instructed to bring a 1 minute story or monologue to read. (it didn't need to be memorized)
When we arrived there was a form to be filled out that asked some questions like "What's your favorite cartoon." etc. I helped Angela fill out the form then she went off to visit with the other 7 or 8 kids who were there. She knew all of them from "Seussical" so she felt very comfortable. The parents were told they could leave or stay, though it was pretty clear that "leave" was the option that was encouraged. I chose to stay just in case Angela needed an interpreter, but I sat far enough away that I wasn't really there, if that makes any sense.
We then moved to the theater, where the whole process was explained by the director. "Your audition actually started when you walked in the door. We've been watching how you interact with the other kids, do you feel shy, or do you jump right in, etc." As he said this I could still see Angela, plopping herself down near the other girls, Saying hello to them and joining in their laughter. Something so typical of an 11 year old, yet something I don't take for granted.
Then the director went on to explain the next item on the agenda. This was a game where the director sort of mimed some activities, and the kids needed to mirror what he was doing. He made lots of sound effects too, which the kids had to try to duplicate, but he said no words. Angela did all of the things right along with everyone else, and to me at least seemed less reserved than some of the other kids. Several times she broke into her hysterical laughter which got everyone else laughing. When the director was done miming he asked the kids what sorts of activities he'd been acting out. All the kids, including Angela, were able to name at least one activity.
Once that was done it was time for the shopping game. Two kids compete against each other. In front of them is an imaginary grocery cart. The first person acts out picking an item off the shelf and putting it in his/her cart, labeling as they do. Maybe it's potatoes, or pizza, or milk, etc. The the other person has to take a turn. They need to think fast, as hesitation gets them eliminated, and they'll also be eliminated if they repeat an item that either of them said. The game was explained, and a quick sample game was played by the director and another teen actor. They then asked who wanted to go first. One little girl raised her hand to try the game against one of the teen actors, but she didn't get very far. She's very young (just turned 7) and I think was a little intimidated.
Angela volunteered to go next. She played against another boy her age. I loved watching her play this game. First of all, I wasn't sure she really understood what the game was about. Normally she would watch 2 or 3 rounds of a game like this to make sure she understands it before volunteering. But not tonight! Tonight she jumped right in and it was clear she understood the game. She did everything right. The second thing I'm proud of is that she did better than 3 or 4 of the other kids. She was able to list her items quickly, stay on task, and not get flustered by what they were saying or doing, NOR by the audience of about 20 who were watching!
That done, it was time to do the readings. Everyone went back downstairs and they were called up one by one to read their story. Angela didn't want me to go along, so I hung back and went up after her. She didn't know I was around the corner listening to her reading. ;-) The director helped her with lots of the words, but Angela kept plugging right along. She never gave up. When she was done they told her how much they liked her energy, and that she was clearly excited to be there.
The most special thing of all happened when she was done with her audition. Angela LIVES this play that our dogs are in. Seussical is a fantastic show! She's gotten to know the cast, and has the entire script memorized, but has been very disappointed that she's not actually in it. Every night she asks, "Can I go on the stage tonight? I want to be Jojo...or baby Kangaroom...or Horton." The funny thing is, all the kids who ARE in the play have the acts that THEY'RE not in memorized as well, and like to spend a lot of time recreating them. So here we are in the lobby area of this building, and the cast kids are acting out the play. Angela....queen of imaginary play...could not have been more thrilled to find herself among a group of kids who love to do just what she was spends her days doing...acting out scenes from the play! She jumped right into one of the dance numbers with them and I kid you not people, she was glowing!
The audition done, we headed home. A couple hours later there was a phone call from the director. They'd LOVE to have Angela join their group! I'm so proud of her. Theater is something I know she's going to excel in, but the best part of all is seeing her excitement about being included. Not because she's the token disabled child, but because she shows interest and talent, just like the other kids.