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Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday  — today is play practice day 5. After putting the sets in place on Sunday, we have just three more days of practice before dress rehearsal on Thursday and the first performance on Thursday night. It’s intense, sort of  like camp. We live and breathe the play for two weeks when you count the three nights of performances (plus one matinee) at the end. We end with a late night cast party at a local eatery and then it’s over . . . well, except for returning everything we borrowed. storing everything away until next year, and putting the things we took out of our own households back in place.

Oh, yes, there’s one more thing — receiving Mary Evelyn’s annual list of things people left behind: plain black Hanes hoodie, size M;  shirt from HDS production Sign of Love, size AS; blue-handled Creative Memories scissors; fingernail clippers; bag of multi-colored yarn; small black cube that appears to go with some sort of toy construction set; clear plastic case with compartments containing hair things and a pair of earrings; Huggies wipes container . . . .

I love my annual fortnight with wonderful children and parents as we live a certain story in a particular time. As the director’s mama and assistant director, I spend practices sitting on the front row or in the orchestra pit, following the action on stage plus the action coming to me from behind.

Mama and Mary Evelyn
Mama and the Director on the Set of Fiona’s Gift: Christmas on the Lower East Side, 1913

My side of the conversations goes something like this:

“Very good.”

“Step forward. Don’t say your line standing behind someone else.”

“Yes, that sleeve needs to be hemmed up two inches.”

“Face the audience.”

“I’ll ask Mary Evelyn.”

“Yes, Sweetie, your scene is coming up next.”

“Boys, you did that perfectly. You’ve got it just right.”

“I think you can find some more paper towels in the storage room downstairs.”

“Sh-h-h-h-h-h-h-h. No talking on stage unless you have a line.”

“I’ll ask Mary Evelyn.”

“Junior, can you ask your mama to help you with that line at home?”

“Mary Evelyn, the little girl in the pink elephant shirt needs some help with those steps.”

“Yes, those shoes will be fine for Cody.”

“Say your line so that people on the back row can hear you.”

“Well, no, I’m sure Mary Evelyn needs everyone to be here for dress rehearsal.”

“I’ll ask Mary Evelyn.”

“Well, you’ve done it again, Children. You’ve made me cry. Excellent!”

According to my mama, I’ve always loved being in the middle of things. While I love to go to plays, I really love being part of what goes on behind the scenes.

In the weeks between the “HDS Sign-Ups Coming Soon!” email until the after-the-play list of the lost and found, Mary Evelyn sends out about a gazillion other emails (For you new blog readers, HDS stands for Homeschool Dramatic Society). Here are some actual email headings from 2015.

HDS: I need help!

HDS: Costume Work Day Saturday

HDS: Desperate Appeal

HDS: Prop Needs (check your closet and Grandma’s attic!)

HDS: Can you help?

Those subject lines were straightforward appeals for HELP! But my favorite subject line this year came on Wednesday — HDS: Need a free art class?

The email was actually an appeal for families to help Mary Evelyn’s mother-in-law paint memory foam fish and Styrofoam water jars and food to use in this year’s play: Touched by the King, Capernaum, Israel, First Century AD. What a great opportunity that was for a free art class!

As mamas, I think it is important for us to provide our children with opportunities to be behind the scenes in various settings. Being a spectator is fine for some activities. I played one game of powder puff football in high school — shoulder pads, helmets, jersey, and the whole nine yards (which is definitely more than I gained, I’m sure), but my football participation is a thing of the past. My only role in football now is as a spectator. Well . . . unless my grandsons ask me to get on the field with them — that will be another story.

We can’t rear children who will be actual participants in everything, but we certainly don’t want them to be spectators in everything either. In many areas of life, the best learning happens when we participate behind the scenes.

We remember and honor the apostle Paul for his life of sacrifice for the gospel, but he didn’t do it by himself. He had fellow workers who worked behind the scenes.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus . . .
Romans 16:3

Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
Romans 16:9

As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you . . .
2 Corinthians 8:23

But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus,
my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier,
who is also your messenger and minister to my need;
Philippians 2:25

. . . and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker
in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith . . .
1 Thessalonians 3:2

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker . . .
Philemon 1:1

Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women
who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel . . .
Philippians 4:3

For we are God’s fellow workers;
you are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9

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