The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash
Has anyone ever read that book? You know, it has amazing Steven Kellogg illustrations and was featured on Reading Rainbow so many times that it just *had* to become an American classic. Jimmy’s class takes a field trip to a farm and, when Jimmy’s boa decides to meet the farm animals, chaos ensues.
We had the appropriate amount of chaos of our play adaptation of the book last Friday night. Kids were telling me about the flutters in their stomachs as more and more parents packed themselves into our cafeteria. Our farmer was just late enough to make everyone nervous. And the bus finished their costume just in time.
But the parents never saw the chaos.
I stressed, during rehearsals, that the kids were very much responsible for being quiet backstage and entering on cue. We practiced and practiced walking in straight lines, making noise when onstage and immediately silencing once off, pausing to allow other characters on stage and not trampling the pigs. I told the kids that I would be sitting in the front row of the audience and wouldn’t be able to help them during the play. The younger classes were assigned 6th grade helpers to assist them while onstage and the older classes were expected to take care of themselves. Everyone knew their part. And everyone was listening for the bell.
Mr. Dolinger had a few words to say to the parents before the play began. I spent that time saying final words to the classes and having our pictures taken together. Finally, Mr. D introduced me to the parents. I walked onstage, rang the school bell and took my seat. The cafeteria was hushed. Suddenly students appeared, quietly taking their places behind the curtains and lining up just to the sides of the stage. The small group of curtain warmers walked onstage and greeted the parents.
It was the most quiet, organized start that I could have wished for. And it made me look awesome as a director. Director Pavlov.
Of course, I have to thank all of the elementary and preschool teachers who waited backstage with their classes and all of the amazing kids for their hard work. Without them there is no way I could have looked so cool. It was an excellent play.
And now everybody wants to do a longer one…