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FlaRF ’09, Fourth Saturday: Andrew Hood

February 28, 2009

There is a privy bank right next to our stage and when you use the door to the backstage area you can see the wash station otherwise hidden behind a wall.  When I came out to set the props for Robin Hood today, I saw Patrick lifting some little boy so he could reach the water.  It was pretty cute.

He comes running out to his family and says, “Robin Hood lifted me up!!!”, very excited.  Throughout the next several minutes of conversation, it was revealed that the family had come last year, the daughter was the Prioress, and both kids were eager to try out.  The little boy this year was determined to be “the nun”.  *shrug*

As it turns out, he was, in fact, Robin Hood. Oh my!

We get the kids who are excited to be there.  We get the kids who put in an effort.

And then we get kids like Andrew.

He must have been three, barely four perhaps, and was just happy to be having fun.  During his audition, he tried so hard.  None of the other kids were terribly loud, thank goodness, otherwise he might not have won.  The other boy on stage was slightly recalcitrant.  Agreeable enough to remain in the show, but slightly cranky about the whole experience.  So Patrick made the little one Robin Hood.

I put the tabbard on him; he dug that.  Then he got the hat; he really dug that.  Then when Patrick gave him the hunting horn and told him it doubled as a drinking horn… he had a death grip on that thing!  He was also very impressed that his quarterstaff had a leaf and Little John’s did not.  He made sure to point that out!

When we introduce the heroes, we tell them to “strike a manly tableau”.  Usually they need a little help.  Andrew was already halfway there!  Still clutching his drinking horn, he stood as proud as he could and smiled big as we tried to show him the Robin Hood pose.  He was fairly determined to hold that horn, but we got him to put his hand on his hip.

At that moment, I was reminded of another boy who was just as happy to play pretend in one of the shows.  It was before my time and there are only a few video clips of him.  He is actually in our promo video, playing Little John and bursting at the seams to do anything.  Watch the promo, you’ll see him.  Warms my heart to no end.

And so did this little boy.

He had the biggest grin for someone so small.  And Patrick asked him several times if he really wanted to get wet; they get a little insecure about that when they are that small.  Not Andrew!  He determinedly replied, “Yes!” every time the question came up. He laughed when the water hit his head, that child-giggle of delight which only happens up to a certain age.  And you should have seen the sword fight!  Against his dad as the sheriff, ironically.  And I think he would have been OK with kissing Maid Marian.

He was hyper, but not uncontrolled.  He was excited, eager, and did everything right.  Too cute for words, to be sure, but it was not merely his cuteness that united the audience behind his success.  He was one of that rare breed of precocious children who make us want to stick them in our suitcase and put in every show we ever do.

We saw him later, choosing a sword, and had to find out his name.  We talked to him, and his dad, for a few minutes, admiring the sword options he had before him.  Then it was time to leave.  As we walked away, he came running out of the shop, new sword in hand, demonstrating to us it’s wonders, the price tag dangling near his hand.

Patrick was in a funk this morning.  He said to me, “We’re going to go make people happy,” trying to convince himself to be excited about the day.

Andrew was a perfect reminder.

He made our day.  And he will be why we will be excited tomorrow morning — because you never know when another Andrew will wander into your life, even if it is just for half an hour.

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