Sunday, October 5, 2008

Waiting in the Wings

Ever since he was born, Luke has had a flair for the dramatic. In the first few years of his life it exhibited itself through hypochondria, imaginative play, and a wicked sense of humor. Oh, and it was especially evident in any situation where he wasn't getting his way. There was one day in Toys R Us when I actually thought he was going to die if he did not get the Transformer I was refusing to buy him. Really, I was worried. His breath was shallow, and his eyes were rolled back into his head as he cried and writhed upon the floor. I was sure I had thrown him into an Optimus Prime induced seizure. Sarah Berhardt couldn't have done it better. However, the second I gave in, the act was off. It was as if someone had yelled cut, and Luke was off to the craft services table, hungry from a job well done. It was actually worth the price of the Transformer just to see such a show. Of course, it would have been nice if the other people who stood to watch while thinking I was the worst person ever had chipped in as well.

Lately Luke's love for the theatrical has found it's natural home: theater. Lucky for him his Mom and other Aunt work for the local theater syndicate, meaning there is no shortage of shows for him to see. Over the past year (since he got old enough to sit through an entire show) Luke has seen numerous touring companies during their stops in Salt Lake, and in the days after he has imitated each and every one of them. After "Stomp" he was all about pounding on garbage can lids, and rhythmically sweeping the floor. He also assumed he didn't have to bathe any more for some strange reason. Once he saw the "Blue Man Group" we had to go to Home Depot and spend 50 dollars on PVC pipe, which I then spent hours making into a tube drum backpack. The only problem? It weighted more than he did. He could put it on, but he had to laying down. Oh, and after "Annie" he wanted to be put up for adoption. All of that pales though with the awfulness of his latest theatrical obsession: "Cats."

First of all, let me just get something out of the way -- I hate "Cats." The music is okay in small doses, like in an elevator or on an easy listening station. However, more than one song is way too much. And the whole show? It makes me want to drive skewers into my ear drums. When Mandy told me it was coming last month and asked if Ryan and I wanted tickets I could only shake my head in abject horror. Luke went twice. He loved it both times. Now? He wants to live it.

He has the t-shirt. Which he wears. And wears. And wears. And wears. He made sure to wear it on the day of school pictures. He makes sure to wear it when we are going anywhere "special." And he tells everyone we run into exa
ctly why he is wearing it, how wonderful "Cats" really is, which cats are his favorite, and which cat he is going to play when he is eventually in the show. Then those people just look at my family and shake their heads in abject horror.

Please, put them to sleep.

Since, he is going to be in the show eventually, Luke feels he has to practice -- all the time. This involves someone singing his favorite song from the show, "Mr. Mistofelees," while he dances. Oh, and he is very specific about how the song must be sung, and how his performance must go. If someone (say me) messes up a word, we have to start over. If he makes his entrance too late (and he does make an entrance, every time), then it's back to the beginning. Also, if everyone (Ryan) in the audience isn't paying attention the show cannot go on. It's actually pretty cute -- for the first 45 minutes. Of course, I try to be as patient as possible with him since I remember doing to exact same thing myself as a child. I didn't have anyone sing a soundtrack for me, but I blocked "South Pacific" and "Funny Girl" in my parents basement a million times. And every time I was the star. I never even thought about 'Cats" though. Why would I want to be in a show where my face wasn't fully visible?

The other night Luke and Mandy were over, and I was (once again) getting tired of belting out "Mr. Mistofelees" for all of my neighbors to hear. So, I mentioned to Luke that if he wanted we could download the cast recording of "Cats" from iTunes. I thought I was being helpful. I had no idea what I was really doing. Now, not only does he have the t-shirt, and the dance moves, he also has the music -- which he plays, and plays, and plays, and plays. Last night Mandy called to "thank" me for downloading he album, saying that she hadn't heard anything not composed by Andrew Lloyd Weber in 48 hours. Then my Dad called tonight to say the same thing. Apparently everywhere he goes now Luke makes sure people are not only aware of how much he loves "Cats" -- he tries to make sure they love it too. The only way to do that? By making them listen to it. Thank God he hasn't been over here since I gave him that disk.

Now we're all just waiting for the next show to come through town and steal his heart. I mean, as long as it isn't more annoying than "Cats." For instance, I wouldn't want him prancing around with a paper plate over half of his face, while he tries to abduct annoying opera singers. I'm thinking something quiet, and with no merchandising tie-ins. Do Tibetan monks go on tour? I'll have my sisters check into it.


Amanda said...

Thanks again. Here is to hoping that the future Hoglunds really love death metal, so I can shower them like the diligent aunt.

Valerie said...

Thank goodness! I was feeling so guilty about not taking my kids. Shwew. My kids are still stuck on every song the chipmunks sing. so keep him away from dvds AND make sure he doesn't see MODERN DANCE. That boy will be having you stand on his shoulders while he recites Howl. Watch it!

Emily-Ione said...

Oddly I was just telling Mandy that one day she will walk into Luke's room and ind him in raggity clothes sanding atop a barricade made of toys singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" waving a flag made of undies....

Amanda said...

To add insult to injury, on Saturday night, while I was at work, Mom & Luke found your copy of the double-cassette soundtrack. Now we are listening to warbley CATS.