Sing Out, Louise! Reflections from a Stage Mom
Updated: May 10, 2020
Today is one of those sneaky milestone moments that you know is coming, but it still surprises you when you get there. Like your child's first sleepover with a friend. Or 5th grade "graduation".
Today marks my 13 year old daughter's last show as a child actor at Sight & Sound Theatres.
We moved to Lancaster in 2014 so my husband could pursue his theatre career. The opportunity came up for Brooklyn to join the cast as Young Miriam in Moses. She had a few lines and beautiful solo. She took to the stage like a fish takes to water. She was an absolute natural!
Over the last five years she continued to do shows with Sight and Sound but she also started branching out into community theatre, earning roles with AMT, Servant Stage, and others.
Being a stage mom is much more difficult than being an actor.
A stage mom has all the responsibility of getting to and preparing for the auditions, but no actual control over what happens in the room. You can work with your child, help them practice and polish their audition pieces, but then they go in the room and nerves take over and there is nothing you can do!
YOU know they will do an amazing job with the role, if only the director will give them the chance, but the director sees hundreds of people and casting takes a million different things into consideration, not just your child's ability (which may or may not have been made clear in the audition!).
If your child actor doesn't get the role, it hurts. The ache I feel for Brooklyn is so much more intense than any disappointment I felt at not getting a part I wanted. Maybe because I have more confidence in her abilities than in mine.
Then if you child DOES get the part, the circus really begins! Juggling the rehearsal schedule (and any other kids you have at home, other activities you/they are involved in...school!), helping them learn the part, telling everybody about the show! I remember the first time Brooklyn got a note from the director asking her to change something about her performance. She was devastated. It was like she'd come home with a C on a paper she'd worked really hard on!
Theatre is one of those things we do that just seems crazy. It takes so much work, such an intense personal investment of time and emotion. You pour yourself out, work against deadlines, climb uphill with a team of people you may or may not get along with, push through tired and stressed to pull the story together for one fleeting moment. But that one moment, whatever it is - the creation, the connection, the triumph, I don't know - makes it all worth it. Even if you're watching from the wings.
Sometimes being a stage mom is better than being an actor.