1. NPR has the original cast recording of “The Book of Mormon” available streaming on its website. This is, as advertised, incredibly obscene and profane. It is also blisteringly funny. It is also, to my surprise, sweet and touching and incredibly earnest. As Trey Graham says at NPR:
“Much has been made of the essential sweetness of The Book of Mormon, and that’s how it strikes me; the show cocks a skeptical eye at situations and belief systems, but its jibes aren’t malicious, and it never mocks the value of faith. It also loves its characters — which means, regardless of how unlikely it may seem, that a wide range of audiences will, too.”
Listening to it, I have teared up as frequently as I have stifled laughter while wincing. If you listen to it at work, HEADPHONES. HEADPHONES are MANDATORY.
2. Last night was the first day of the new circus term. J and I had been thinking that, after this week, we would merely drop K off on Mondays, and go do something else. However two of M’s friends will be there — only on Mondays this term. So one of us will be there each week, with M, so he can play with his friends outside while K has classes.
As far as the classes went — Contortion I is held in the back, where we can’t watch. However her instructor came out after class to tell us the K did really well. All the other girls in this class are returning students. Luckily, this never phases K. She rises up, or sinks down, to whatever is expected of her. Working to catch up to the other girls will be good for her. Unicycle II is a jump up for K. She was in Unicycle I last year, and skipped the Unicycle I-II class. (Sidenote: What is it with systems that add half-point or hybrid rankings? Instead of Unicycle I, I-II, II, II-III, and III, why not have Unicycle 1-5?) This wasn’t a problem, though. She is about on par with the other kids. This class is also really small which lets the two instructors spend a lot of time nitpicking each student. I approve.
3. When I got home yesterday from work the kids were in the backyard, playing in a small sandbox that, while covered, had flooded during the spring-melt. It had then grown a crop of algae. So M and K were squatting on the edge of the plastic sandbox, playing with sticks, leaves, sand, dirt, mud, and algae. I entirely approve. Young animals should be able to get dirty, to build and shape and poke and kick and stack and squish.
Later, while at circus, M was playing on The Hill. The Hill is a, a hill, outside the front doors of circus. It’s extremely steep, covered in scrubby trees and weird little shrubs, and at the top is a chain link fence. There’s a city park on the other side of the fence, and the hill is in fact a drainage feature of the park. Water runs down the hill into a broad ditch and flows out towards the circus parking lot storm drains. The Hill is eroded, muddy, dirty, and the bottom of it is full of downed trees and washed-out broken branches.
Do you see where this is going?
The Hill is a magnet for the younger children at circus. It is steep, challenging, dirty, and slightly dangerous. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, no child has ever been impaled on the bracken at the bottom. We let M bring a length of rope to play with last night, with the STRICT injunction against tying any living creature with it. Obviously, the rope got tied to a root up at the top and was used to get up and down the steepest parts.
Young animals should also play like this. Steep, challenging, dirty, slightly dangerous. Didn’t we all play like this when we were younger? Stretching your abilities, solving problems when your bodily integrity is on the line, seeing where the limits of your strength and skill might lie. Cooperating with your peers, working towards common goals, helping those smaller and younger — accepting help when you need it. Negotiating hierarchy, establishing leaders, being gracious to others. All of those things seem somewhat more urgent when one is hanging over sharp sticks scrabbling for purchase with your feet while the root may be slipping.
Filed under: Autobiography, Music, Parenting | Tagged: circusjuventas, musicals | 2 Comments »