Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Third Generation

Daddooooo and G'ma took me to see Pirates of Penzance when I was little.  They took me when I was medium sized and again when I was grown.

I blasted the music on my car stereo as I drove to pick up The Cuters in elementary school, and we sang along with it driving home.  We saw it on the stage and we saw it on film.

On Sunday afternoon, I took FlapJilly to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame to see it, live, un-mic'ed, with a Mozartian orchestra - plus an oboe or two- conducted by a gentleman with a green parrot perched on his shoulder.

I told her the story that morning, skipping lightly over the complicated 21st-birthday-leap-year scenario, concentrating on the Pirates wanting to marry the daughters and the policemen who marched, tarantara, tarantara.

We talked about Ruth, who lied to Frederic about her beauty, and laughed in the afternoon when the actors rhymed it with booty.  They didn’t mean stolen wealth, they meant just what makes a 4 year old look surprised and ask her grandmother if they really said her favorite word for butt, in that song, on that stage, in public.  Then, she laughed.

That laugh.  Oh, denizens, that laugh.  I could feel my parents enjoying it too.

She jumped from square to square on the carpet during the intermission, then stood, leaning on the balcony railing, for the entire second act.  The professor sitting to her enjoyed her giggles and marching and wide-eyed surprise as much as I did.

We found the policemen, hiding in the wings.  We reveled in the sword fighting and Ruth clomping around the stage with a bucket stuck to her right foot.  We sighed with Mabel and wept with the Modern Major General as he regretted his lie.

We cheered with joy as the couples paired off.  I'm not sure she noticed that, since there were more men than women in the cast, some of those couples were a pirate and a policeman, holding hands and hugging.  This was definitely a 21st century edition of a 19th century operetta.

During the curtain call, FlapJilly clapped wildly for the Pirate King.  He was her favorite.

She met the cast in the lobby, after we took the elevator (That made my tummy tickle!) down from the balcony.
Teagan Earley (Kate) and FlapJilly
There was a lengthy conversation about dance class and singing and working hard, with Teagan's family and FlapJilly's grandma standing by, teary eyed, as our girls bonded over light opera.

All the way home we serenaded one another.  We were the marching policemen: Tarantara, Tarantara.  We were Frederic berating Ruth: Faithless woman!  But mostly, we were her favorite, because It is, it is, a glorious thing to be a Pirate King!

It's also pretty glorious to share adventures like this with the next generation.  Thanks, G'ma and Daddooooo, for starting me off on the right foot.  I'm glad I brought you with me, in my heart, to share it with the little girl I know you would love to pieces.

Sometimes, for a few hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I know you are still around.

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