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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Looking Through The Kaleidoscope #3: How Magical Is A Fairy Tale At 5:30 AM?

We are all well aware that summer is a big season for Kaleidoscope. Having just finished up this year's season of fairy tale musicals, we all look on to the future and what is yet to come. Except me and this blog, of course. Like I said last time, I would like to reflect on my first summer show with the theatre, that show being Snow White.

I remember being excited about actually getting into the show. I wasn't so certain that I would be asked to do it despite having done the dinner show. I could tell how much more there was to the fairy tale musicals. It was extremely clear how much the company put stock into these shows. When you think of Kaleidoscope Theatre and its thirty years of existence, you think of going to a venue during the summer and watching fairy tales that you knew and loved being put to music and surrounded with colorful characters. I had vague memories already of seeing Alice in Wonderland, although I didn't make the connection until some time after I joined the company.

It was also a big deal because Jamie was playing Snow White for the first time and she had wanted to play the part for a number of years. It's kind of surprising that she didn't play it before because she practically looks like the character come to life, right down to the short, dark hair. If she had the birds flying around her at all times then she literally would have been Snow White. But there were no birds, which was just as well because I am sure she would have freaked out a little.

The Queen was being played by a woman named Alyce, who has been with the theatre for some time. In fact it is the very same Alyce who makes all of the 3-in-1 Dolls for the concession stands. I had met Alyce already from the dinner show. Our Prince was another new actor by the name of Dan, who I remember being very shy and maybe a little nervous around me. He had picked up on the fact that Jamie and I dated and made it clear that he was nervous about kissing her in rehearsals. One time he actually wiped his mouth clean after the kiss thinking I would be offended. I was, of course, but it was because he wiped his mouth as if he had just kissed a soggy log in the woods. This year he was much more comfortable around the cast and there was no more mouth wiping, which I suppose means he no longer found Jamie disgusting.

Of course, it isn't Snow White without the dwarfs. Seven little kids in one room dressed as little old men. All of them very energetic yet surprisingly well behaved when it came to rehearsing. I understood that they already had some rehearsals when I came in, but if I remember correctly only one "dwarf" had done the show before, who was a young boy named Max. Max and I got to know each other right away as we were assigned to introduce each other to the cast. But I got to know all of the kids, all of which are amazing talents. That's one thing I truly credit Kaleidoscope for; they seem to have this uncanny ability to find very talented young children.
These talented kids, however, all seemed to be scared of me, or so I thought. All of them of course would flock to Jamie, who became sort of a mother figure. Jamie was extremely good with the kids and had worked with children before. At first, I think they saw me as the really tall guy with the beard. Later I think I worked my way up to the crazy uncle. I remember specifically looking at each of them as they rehearsed and if Max caught me looking at him he would say "why are you staring at me?" As you read on, you will see that he warmed up to me quick.

With nerves having to be cast aside, the show soon went up. We started out at Rhode Island College as the company usually does. We then moved on to the Chevrolet Theater in CT. I remember walking in and looking around in complete awe. The place was absolutely huge and you can't see the top of the fly system. We also did a character lunch, which can be completely chaotic. But I was starting to get a feel for touring and liking the idea.

What I remember most about those shows were the ones at Cape Cod Melody Tent and South Shore Music Festival. By now, the kids were as comfortable around me as they were with Jamie. Proof of this was Max willingly jumping on my legs and latching on for dear life as well as all of the kids wanting me to shoot pictures and videos of them with my camera.

Another bit of proof was that the kids would bombard me with choruses of "Jamie and Ryan sittin' in a tree" at a moments notice. This was a bit surprising because Jamie and I thought we should be professional around the kids and be kind of hush-hush about it around them. Here's the thing about kids though: they are very observant and will figure it out. This was only proof of that theory.

One of the other most outstanding things about traveling with these people were the parents that travelled with us. They were some of the most supporting people I had ever met. None of them were like the overbearing "stage moms", which was a blessing in itself. All of them were extremely polite and friendly, coming to every show and driving kids to the venues all the while. One couple, the Thalers, were very nice enough to invite everyone down to their house on the Cape after the show at Melody Tent. Everyone was treated to food, sun, and water tubing. If you haven't been water tubing, either go while the weather is still warm or hope that next summer you do a show with a Thaler child.

Touring can be a wonderful thing with Kaleidoscope. Shows are always fun to do, but I've come to realize that a lot of the fun can be in getting there.

Next time, earning my official/unofficial job with the company and how some of the most fun on a summer tour involves the shows you aren't in.

In the words of Garrison Keillor, "be well, do good work, and keep in touch."

1 comment:

Kaleidoscope Theatre said...

Ryan ~

Thank you much for the wonderful posts! You are such an asset to our company. Your writing really highlights the wonderful strengths of the Kaleidoscope family! I hope to feature these posts in our next newsletter and on the Kscope website, so that more of our fans will get to know our family a little better!

Thanks again!

What's your favorite fairytale?