I love a good musical. There’s something so magical about the live music, the singing, the dancing, the costumes that just transports you to somewhere else.
As a tween, I did drama for a few years, and was involved with the local theatre company; treading the boards in Annie, South Pacific and a bunch of other classics over the years.
Let’s be honest here, I’m not very good at singing or dancing (as my daughter will loudly attest to), but when you’re in an amateur production you can hide reasonably well in the ensemble and still be a part of something much bigger than yourself.
While I might have left the stage behind, I still love every chance to see a musical and just have a taste of that magic back again. Even from the audience, at a good show, the love of theatre comes through and somehow flows out, coating us all in wonder.
As a family, we’ve seen a few musicals now. Both my younger sisters are heavily involved in their local theatre company (they’re far more talented than I’ll ever be) and it’s been a great way to get Poss along to taste it, without the pressure of a big show.
We also went along to the sensory session of the Lion King last year; which was an amazing way to make this iconic show accessible to a wide range of people – Poss included.
But when Matilda came to town, I knew we’d have to see it – sensory session or not. And we waited a little while to see if they would announce a sensory session… but as the season started to draw to a close, it was now or never, so we booked it.
Yesterday was the day. Poss has had a huge week and was tired from the get-go, and you know when you’re just not sure how the day is going to play out? Yeah. That.
So we went along with some trepidation. Prepared for a melt-down. Half-prepared to have to leave half way through. Prepared to accept that we may not see the whole show.
From the moment the show started, Poss was captivated. The songs new and fast, forcing you to almost lean forward to take all it in, as the children bounced around on the stage. Lights flashed, but the props were simple and effective. The costumes straight forward, but spot on.
Interval came in a blink of an eye and Poss sunk down in her chair, covering her head with her hood. Seeking a reprieve from the noise, the lights, the movement for a few moments. Snuggling into me, wrapping a ribbon tightly around her fingers again and again; the deep pressure providing some relief.
As soon as the lights went down though, her eyes were back on the stage, lit with excitement and the smile spreading all the way up. She followed every movement, every dance step; laughing with every joke.
She fell asleep in the car on the way home. Her long legs spread across the backseat, and her face buried into the seat. I can’t remember the last time she checked out like that, waking slowly but calmly when we arrived home.
The rest of the afternoon was spent processing, quietly retreating inwards.
At bedtime, as we chatted through our favourite things, the scenes in Matilda were replayed back, one after the other. The words muddled, the songs not yet stuck, but the images, the feelings; that magic that only an awesome musical can paint were fresh and vivid.
Sometimes doing these things is hard. It’s hard to put her in a situation that we know is going to be uncomfortable, to test her and push her beyond her limits. But sometimes the magic is worth it.