Skippyjon Jones

Earlier this week for their drama class, Juliette's first grade class performed an adaptation of the Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner. They worked all semester to adapt the text to the stage, design costumes, agree on casting, set up stage directions, gather props, and learn their lines. Wednesday afternoon was the culmination of all their hard work, which they performed in front of parents and all of the students from fourth grade on down.

I was discussing with a few other mothers that, as a parent, these performances can be nerve-racking. Part of me is very keen on Juliette doing well in such scenarios so I can, quite appropriately, brag her up after the fact. But that part is considerably smaller than my desire for her to simply make it through the experience unscathed--no forgotten lines, no unintentional face-plants, no costume mishaps. My primary concern is that the event is educational and memorable for the right reasons, not permanently scarring.

Quite some buildup, isn't it? Now you're wondering what happened!

As with most events in the lives of my elementary-age children, it went just fine. Nothing incredibly spectacular, but nothing damaging either. I believe all of the students were instructed to introduce themselves using their full names. Juliette has a very big name, complete with my maiden name stuck in there somewhere, and she was intensely nervous. Thus the introduction that should've been an easy task became a big giant word jumble on stage. She ditched the whole endeavor midway through, let out a huff of air, and introduced herself as simply Juliette Lofty.

Otherwise, the play was more impressive because of the work I know they put into it than for the finished product. It was short and cute and, of course, unintentionally funny in many places. I don't believe Juliette will be a natural performer. She has the theory down, in that "when you step on stage, you're not yourself anymore." But she was still very much Juliette, only more so--a bit shy, very self-conscious, trying to be in charge, and thinking too much. To say she has difficulty sinking into a role would be quite an understatement.

She got through it, though, and learned a great deal about teamwork in particular, which has never been her strong suit. She was quite proud of how the whole thing came together. I just don't think she'll be storming Broadway anytime soon. Her talents lie in other directions.

Ilsa, however...

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