Our son Brian is an actor, for a few years he has been associated with a local theater group; "The Da Vinci Players" from Studio Connections.
Last weekend we took the little girls to see "Man of La Mancha" and as always, were impressed with all the actors, the show was wonderful. Got a great review and of course proud mom loved seeing her sons name :
From the review:
Around these three principals are arrayed the "sane" people of the world: the well-meaning innkeeper (Todd Luethjohann), a spineless priest (Rob Roberts), the cynical Dr. Carrasco (Brian Levario) and Quixote's calculating niece (Julia Higgins). Encila has chosen his cast well, and each of these performers shines.
It was difficult getting up the energy to go, we had a long week, a funeral that broke our hearts, audiology appointments for all three girls, ugh, three hours in a small office with three active girls...and a choral concert, and our schedule was a little off, which in turn throws off the girls behavior as well. Now normally we take the girls to a play and they watch happily, clap when the acts are over and are the best audience members, except this time the audience was, well, grumpier than normal and the girls were exhausted from a crazy week too.
Kara was wiggly at the play, Amanda decided that she should sing a long with the cast. We got those backward glances from people when they made a noise, all older folks...60-70. At one point after Tom and I switched kids on laps, Kara began to do the slide, are you familiar with the slide? When your child seemingly loses their bones and oozes repeatedly to the floor from your lap in a puddle then quickly regains their use so they can run around. Meghan did the slide on the way to Ukraine, but she was half asleep and just wanted to lie on the floor and sleep. Amanda began singing with the cast very loudly, she purely loves music and is moved to join, this is just plain truth! I could not get her to stop, and did not want to ruin the play for others, so I got up to take her to Tom, who already exited to keep Kara happy. As I was trying to climb down a very steep step, a woman in the back placed her finger to her lips, scowled at us and said SHHHH. She turn her head indignantly as I left, oh it irked me. To be clear, we have always removed our children if they are disrupting a movie, play, musical performance, but we find some people less tolerant of our girls because they have Down syndrome, and you can always tell who these people are, our girls make them visibly uncomfortable.
Tom decided to take both girls to the van, and I stayed and watched the first act with Meghan, she was a perfectly happy girl, watching the show and loving one on one time with mommy. She kept snuggling with me and kissing my cheek, we need to get out more, just she and I. Except my thoughts turning to Tom missing the show. We have never had to remove the girls from one of Studio Connections plays before. The audience has always been very sweet to us, and understanding of the girls too.
At intermission Meghan and I went out to the van to find Tom sitting in the open sliding door, Amanda playing in the back seat and Kara eating. (Kara is always eating). He said he was perfectly OK being out there and I should enjoy the show without him, he was going for a drive with Kara and Amanda. I love him for not being mad about leaving, I missed having him there. He said, he wanted to tell that woman, "Of course Amanda wanted to sing, she is Estonian after all". I was still perturbed at the woman who rudely shushed us. I dislike people acting in a bad way and excusing themselves because they feel you messed something up for them. That righteous justification...maybe she was from New York? (family joke)
Meghan and I returned to our seat for the second act and the woman sitting next to us asked where Kara and Amanda were. I told her people were getting annoyed with them, especially the woman who got vocal about it. She said "F*** her, yes, my mouth was agape too, your girls had the right to watch the play too, and they were just enjoying themselves, and what a shame people had to act so rudely". Have to love it when people say what they think.
We watched the rest of the play, met the cast, and found our son, we told him we were sorry about his sisters, he said it was fine, they were fine.
The next day Brain and I talked about the show, I told him about the people who were annoyed and how we were afraid his sisters would ruin the play or cause a scene, which is why we removed them. He said he told the entire cast his sisters were coming, and if they heard slightly off key singing coming from the audience, it was likely them. They had been waiting to hear something, when Amanda joined in, someone asked "What is that" and Brian said, "my sister", and everyone smiled. He said they were all OK with the girls too.
Studio Connections has always been a comfortable and safe place for us to take our girls because everyone has always been understanding if they get excited or Meghan says hi to her brother while he is on stage...we have always felt accepted there and it gave us a chance to do something as a family. So it makes me sad that as Studio Connections gains more recognition and more people attend the plays, some of those people will not be as accepting of my three little gals as the previous audiences were.
Studio Connections is moving to a bigger theater after this show, they have outgrown this one which is fabulous for them, they are successful! However I am rather sad too, it means it may become one less place I can take my three sometimes loud, sometimes unruly children, a place where they are completely accepted. I am realizing that there are not many places where they are, and it makes me angry and sad.
Hopefully my girls will outgrow this phase soon...they had always been better behaved (not perfect) before.
"Why didn't we leave the girls with a babysitter?" everyone asks us this when they see the girls with us. They never take their kids to adult performances, they stay home with grandma. My children have one grandmother and she does not live here, and if she did, she is not up to caring for them, she has too many mobility issues. We tend to not ask immediate family to take care of their sisters, they have their own days planned, babysitting is not usually on their lists. If they volunteer, great, if not, oh well. What about their respite worker? He is Brian, who was in the play.
We want the girls to be able to enjoy theater too, and "Man of La Mancha" was a musical, which they love the best. For some of the more serious plays, we do try to find someone to take care of the girls, but our options are severely limited, honestly, we usually miss those plays completely. However we want the girls to understand what it means to be a respectful audience members.
2 hours ago