I really enjoy supporting my students in their extracurricular pursuits and usually attend whatever I’m invited to. Two of my students were in the school’s production of Willy Wonka this weekend and one of them invited me to go. I didn’t have any weekend plans so I was more than happy to go. I wasn’t, however, thrilled about the $8 admission which seemed a bit steep for a middle school play.
My expectations for the play were very low (incredibly low, actually). Some of the performers promoted the play during the morning announcements the week prior to the performances. A lot of them had to do fake accents and they’d start out using the accent, but it would slowly fade while they were talking only to end up speaking in their normal voice. Like I said, my expectations were not high.
I invited my sister to come because I didn’t want to go alone and she was really excited to go which surprised me. I also sent out a text to a bunch of friends inviting them to come, but I really undersold the play and only Carrie came. When we got to the theater a few of my students excitedly shouted hello to me and some others looked embarrassed when I greeted them. I was happy to be seen with two pretty girls.
I was worried that the play would be so bad that it would be hard to sit through, but when it started all my worries melted away. The kid who played Wonka did a fantastic job and had what Lindsay described as “swagger.” I was a little perplexed by the makeup of Charlie’s family. Charlie’s four grandparents were all white, but his two parents were Asian and he was white. I’m not geneticist, but it seemed a little fishy. The kid who played Charlie seemed a little nervous on stage at first and I wondered why he had been cast as the lead role, but then he sang and it all made sense. He could hit notes that my long, thick vocal cords could never hit. I was impressed by his talent.
Overall the play was phenomenal with the slight debilities that you’d expect from a middle school production: not being able to hear what everyone was saying, awkward pauses waiting for the music to start, and occasionally forgetting a dance move. It exceeded my expectations is so many ways. I had a big smile on my face throughout the play and it really made me day. The kids were singing and dancing their hearts out and it warmed my heart to see them having so much fun. As frustrating as my middle schoolers can be, they really do make me happy.
My other school is having their play in a week or two and now I'm super-pumped to go see it.