Mother's Love of Theater
By Wendy Hopkins
I became a mother I loved to go to live performances -- rock concerts,
stage plays, musicals, poetry slams -- okay, not poetry slams. But
I do love the energy of live music, the "anything is possible"
moment before the curtain rises on great theatre and the collective
rush of the audience when they're experiencing great art. BUT, if
I'm being totally honest, there is one other thing I love: the performers.
Now I'm not a groupie, I don't love the performers in real life,
it's just in my mind. I could call it a "stage crush"
but that would just cheapen it -- it's more like a one-way relationship
I have from my seat -- pathetic certainly, but not cheap.
started in high school with Skip Prokop, the drummer of "Lighthouse,"
a once famous Canadian band that had sunk to playing high school
dances to make ends meet. I didn't know that then, of course, so
when I saw Skip with his long hair and his 1970s skinniness beating
the drums like he was in love with them, I couldn't help but fantasize.
I watched his face contort and his hands turn the drumsticks over,
I watched his sticks tap the cymbals and imagined he would touch
my tiny breasts in much the same way. Delicately, passionately.
I imagined our lives together and how I'd hang around backstage
with all the other "Lighthouse" wives.
then I've found at least one guy in every band, every Cirque du
Soleil show, to fall in love with and imagine a life with. I've
fallen for most of the members of Steve Earle's band, all of the
Blue Men, Professor Henry Higgins, Tom Waits, all the male cast
members of Stomp... I could go on but it would probably just
get embarrassing or maybe it already has.
Anyway when I became a mother I all but stopped going to the theatre
and live performances, "choosing" instead to have no social
life outside of Gymboree. So you can imagine my surprise last weekend
when I took my two-year-old son to the Universal Amphitheatre and
ended up falling in love again. This time with one of The Wiggles.
seen The Wiggles on videotape about a million times and at first
thought they were a bit weird. Why are four Australian guys -- grown
men -- why are they children's performers? But after repeated airings
I found myself singing the praises of Anthony, Greg, Murray, Jeff
and Captain Feathersword.
the moments before the show started, an overture tape of favorite
Wiggles tunes had turned my son's excitement to tears twice so I
was fully concentrated on my son's emotional state as the curtain
rose. The Wiggles ran out and said, "Hello everybody, let's
start the show with 'Rock-a-Bye Your Bear'."
son and I sang along and did the actions. "Hands in the air,
rock-a-bye your bear, bears now asleep shh shh shh."
a few moments my son was happy again and I was free to peek at the
stage and have a real look. When I did, I was immediately confused
and ashamed by the feelings I had for Anthony. Surely I couldn't
have a stage crush on a children's performer. I pushed away the
thoughts of our sprawling ranch in Australia and, guilty now, concentrated
on my son. This was his experience, not mine -- I'm a mother now
I need to be more responsible, more selfless.
son and I laughed together as Captain Feathersword was introduced
and he tripped and fell all over the stage. It was easy not to have
a stage crush on Captain Feathersword -- he's the comic relief and
I've never gone for that.
then the music for the animal song started and well, all I can tell
you is it's my son's favorite song and knowing he'd be engaged,
I guess I felt free to slip. And I'm sorry to say I did, slip. Back,
back into my old habits.
hops, hopping hopping"
I watched Anthony take huge leaps
and watched his muscles bulging under his casual slacks.
him seeing me, the good parent, from the stage, singing with and
engaging my son, and I imagined Anthony's life changing in that
moment. I imagined him asking me out -- I'd be carrying my son back
to the car and he'd find me in the crowd and I'd say something witty
to relieve the tension of our obvious passions. And I imagined having
Captain Feathersword and his wife over for dinner.
two or three songs I was Mrs. Anthony Wiggle and I was living in
Sydney and happily drinking a beer by the barby. Then a tapping,
tapping, tapping pulled me from my imaginary life back into
this one. Tap, tap, tap! Behind me a kid was keeping time
on my chair back with her Dorothy the Dinosaur flashlight. Tap,
tap tap! Her mother said she was sorry but the damage was done.
was then I felt my son's weight in my lap, different, heavier, asleep.
I looked around to see if anyone had noticed my son fall asleep
while his mother fantasized about a Wiggle. It seems no one had.
that, well, I considered leaving. I mean my son was asleep now,
what was the point in staying? But I didn't know when I'd be feeling
this live performance energy again. It was going to be a few months
until Sesame Street Live and wouldn't they all be wearing big furry,
unflattering character suits? I really didn't think I could slip
that low -- Mrs. Snuffleupagus?
I adjusted my son into a more comfortable position and let myself
slip back into my dream world to live out my days as Mrs. Wendy
Wiggle. Or maybe I'd keep my last name. Probably.
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission