Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good night, moon

Today I liquefied my brain and removed it through a hole I had drilled in my skull, then filled the skull cavity with epoxy. Well, no, not really, but that's about what it felt like.

What actually happened is that I chaperoned a field trip with Rachel's class to the State Theater, where we saw a dramatic performance of "Runaway Bunny" and "Good Night Moon," both by Margaret Wise Brown. These are pretty basic bedtime stories, only 34 pages each, aimed at essentially preverbal preschoolers.

If you're thinking "What an incredible idea! I'll bet this was a really innovative reinterpretation of the books, bringing out the latent drama in a child who feels suffocated by his mother's all-consuming desire to thwart his independence, and his Gilgamesh-like desire to demonstrate his worthiness of immortality by resisting the beguiles of sleep," then you are thinking exactly what never occurred to me.

Alas, it also never occurred to the good folks at Mermaid Theatre, who turned two 34-page children's bedtime stories into two 34-minute children's plays with lullaby music and some clever puppeteering, in a very dark theater. No interpretive dance, no music numbers, no dialogue, no Avenue Q. Just puppet rabbits that hop, fly or sail, depending; a couple of cat puppets; and a mouse puppet that runs around. And a bunch of adults who quietly fade off to sleep while the kids watch the show.

Well, the kids enjoyed it, at least. But I remember thinking, as I drifted off, "I spent $27 so Rachel and I could watch this?"

But of course that's not why I spent that money. While we watched the show, I put my arm into Rachel's seat, and she let me wrap it around her waist. She moved closer to me, and I felt her warm little body snuggle against mine, and I thought, This is money well spent.

Copyright © 2009 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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