Ending It All

Tonight is a landmark for me and for my old (teaching) school. Itʼs the final Andrew High School play. Sad. True.

Iʼll go, of course. After all, I did thirty-two years of Andrew plays. And I had a hand for a little while in helping this one progress. A week ago, I was once again (and, letʼs hope, for the last time) up a ladder setting lights against the ceiling of the school gym (with my blocking using the very edge of the stage and even the nonexistant “pit” in front of the stage, the kids needed to have the ellipsoidals in place once more; plus, now, theyʼll be available to illuminate graduation ceremonies, also the last). For the month of March I was the substitute director. How could I not be there? (Even though The Lovely One has been suffering such unbearable stress in preparation for a bossʼs party that I really should be home to hold her hand tonight. Oh well. Or, perhaps, “Oh, hell.”)

Itʼs the final play because the high school is closing. Population-decrease pressures have brought the hundred-plus year-old school to an end. When one only has eighteen in a class, or fewer (certainly not “less,” of course), such a finality is definitely in sight. And now it has come.

Ironically, it will be a spring play on which the drama program departs. I added the spring plays in my early years at the school, partly from guilt at ceasing to compete in one-act play for IHSSA Large Group (at which we only rarely did very well at state, having vastly less funding than the successful one-act schools and also lacking sufficient rehearsal time during the overloaded schedule of basketball season), partly to permit a freewheeling and outrageous (we hoped) dionysiac performance opportunity (and a venue for my own twisted fairy tales, natch). This show will combine the full-length of the fall productions (none this school year) with the fairy-tale and fracturing frivolity of the (temporarily*) traditional spring shows.

I am looking forward to the experience.

The kids showed immense promise a month ago. I hope they fulfill it tonight, if only for my own sake as a member of the audience. But mostly for their own sakes, as the ultimate performers in the last play in the schoolʼs soon-to-cease history.

As ever and finally, “Break a leg!”

* Only three decades.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.