Like father, like daughter, especially with spit-takes
So when I sit down with the ghostwriter that I hire to pen the book of my life, it will be an easy process for him or her. You see, I have every Momentous Life Occasion recorded for posterity in a battered "Star Wars" notebook. The first one, of course, is the release of "Star Wars." The second one is meeting my beautiful wife, Sue ... *whisperwhisperwhisper* ... uh, I mean, "Star Wars" is No. 2 and meeting Sue is No. 1. Duh! (Good catch, Whisperman.)
But this past weekend, I experienced an event that exploded onto this list, along with the purchase of my first Barry Manilow cassette and the birth of my daughter, Kaylee ... *whisperwhisperwhisper* ... um, not in that order!
As many of you know, my art form of choice is theater. For over 30 years now, I've written, directed and produced shows for different theater companies in the Twin Ports, but my first love has always been performing. There's no greater thrill than appearing in front of a live audience and creating a circuit of emotion that connects with them. It's an awesome feeling to know you have the ability to make another human being laugh or cry. (Just don't bore them. Then you're Yanni.)
Kaylee just played Princess Winnifred in Hermantown High School's production of "Once Upon A Mattress" and for one weekend, she experienced that power for herself. Her comedic pratfalls and mugging were exceptional and the confident way she belted out those songs had me, along with the rest of the audience, beaming. I totally forgot I was watching my teenager and was mesmerized by a confident, poised actor.
In fact, it was a kick to see all those Hermantown kids experiencing the unabashed joy that comes from creating theater. For me, any limitations of a show — the physical space, a microscopic budget, personal challenges — disappear when the lights go down and the music starts. And that's exactly what every single one of those students brought to the stage: positive energy that washed over every sold-out audience.
Ken Ahlberg and Theresa Taraldsen, the theater directors at Hermantown, provide these moments for students every year and deserve all the kudos we can toss their way. But I am especially grateful to them for the opportunity they gave Kaylee with this show. It was her last musical at Hermantown and she went out in style. She was breathtakingly funny and polished and she loved every minute of it. When she came up and wordlessly hugged me after the final show, I knew exactly how she felt because I've felt that same exact rolled-up ball of post-show emotions myself: bone-tired, blissfully happy, unbelievably sad and thankful for the chance to shine.
I think "Star Wars" just slipped out of my top two.
Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at www.RubberChickenTheater.com. He is jealous of his daughter’s spit-take ability at such an early age.