The show must go on

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The best thing about children’s concerts is that you actually get two shows for the price of one. Every performance is in fact a double billing, and there’s almost always a surprise element thrown in. Last year, I received a note from the school informing me that Conor was going to be a king in the end-of-year concert and he needed green tights. Besides the fact that finding green tights for my 32kg son in the middle of summer was as much fun as looking for that little end piece on a roll of Sellotape, he was emphatic that he would not be taking part in any activity that involved a stage, an audience, or green tights.
 
The day of the performance dawned and, being the eternal optimists that we are, my husband, Craig, and I packed the picnic basket (and the green tights) in case Conor decided to perform. Once we had sent him to his classroom, with tights in hand, we settled on a spot near the back where we would not be too much of a distraction for our reluctant ‘king’.
 
The music started, and two sovereigns, resplendent in purple and red, made their way across the stage. Of course, Conor was nowhere to be seen. I had almost given up on my little thespian when a flash of green caught my eye. And there he was, my mini-monarch, striding purposefully across the stage. I would have been happy enough with that performance. I mean, it’s not every day that you get to see your son on stage wearing his sister’s best friend’s green Woolies leggings. But then Conor launched into his second performance of the night – involving energetic leg kicks that resembled a mix of Axl Rose from Guns ‘n Roses and Johnny Clegg. I have never seen such a spirited rendition of the air guitar before. For all his earlier moaning, Conor loved every minute of his three minutes in the limelight. (And he eventually joined the other kings to hand over his gift, as per the script.)
 
A similar thing happened a few months ago when Conor was billed as one of the ‘men’ in his school concert. Again, the costume he had to wear seemed to be a source of much consternation. He was supposed to be in a pair of jeans. But Conor, who is happiest barefoot and wearing shorts, was not interested in donning anything denim. I really thought that this time, he would opt instead to give the show a miss. But, as the music started, I was most bemused to see my son appear from stage left, defiant in jeans that had deliberately been put on inside out. It was his own act of defiance, almost as if to say: “Fine, you want me in jeans? Then I’m wearing them my way.”
 
But, despite all the shenanigans, mishaps and costume malfunctions, there’s something incredibly endearing about seeing your child on stage. For all his recalcitrance ahead of a performance, Conor actually enjoys being part of the show with his friends; and his face when the audience applauds at the end makes all the costume changes and tears worthwhile. And, to be quite honest, we secretly look forward to the double-bill performances with that something extra thrown in for laughs.
 
Anél Lewis has invested in a few pairs of extra-large tights in several colours, so that she can start preparing Conor for his next show ahead of time.

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