Saturday, January 16, 2010

Show #3 "Tom Sawyer: the Musical" at Lakewood Playhouse

Okay, I admit it, I'm a stage mother.

No, not the evil kind that you hear about in the gossip columns, who bully the director and producer into giving her "baby" the starring roles with the most time on the stage.

I'm the type of stage mother who will talk up (to anyone who will listen) the artistic virtues of her talented actor son. Well...not to brag, but I've talked to my friends who are directors, producers, fellow actors and managing artistic directors of Pierce County community theatre groups about Tim.

I can't help it. He's my son. Did I mention that he is talented?

So, as the Lakewood Playhouse closes their run of "Tom Sawyer: the Musical" this weekend, I ventured out to see this wonderful production for the second time. You see, my Tim is the one playing the nefarious Injun Joe.

"Tom Sawyer," for the most part, is a knee-slappin', old fashioned good time of a story. You know, the white-washed fence, the fishing trips with Huck, the charming pre-adolescent romance with Becky Thatcher....

But then, there's Injun Joe. A politically incorrect characterization, if I ever saw one. (Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know! Mark Twain was from another era, another time, another historical culture. So, we won't dwell on that.) But, nevertheless, he is the dark and tragic figure in a musical that celebrates boyhood adventures, family values and the good ol' days.

Mind you, it was a lot harder than I thought to watch my son play such an evil character. That must be a testimony to his acting ability, because I found myself (Whoa! I'm an actor. I oughta know better!!!) blurring the line between real life and stage life. My son, the criminal outcast. My boy, the victim of racism and hate. My progeny, the bad guy. What a way to break a mother's heart.

I guess the audience must have been caught up in Tim's performance as well. When Injun Joe brandishes his knife and fights with Tom and Huck, he meets his unfortunate end. The audience applauded as Joe fell to his death in the cave.

But not me. I couldn't cheer.

It wasn't for the reason you think. Yeah, I had my heart broken by Injun Joe's tragic life, especially considering the rampant racism of his day. But when Joe plummeted toward certain doom, it meant only one thing to me: Tim's character is dead. HE WON'T GET ANY MORE STAGE TIME!!!!

Sigh....once a stage mother, always a stage mother.

I guess I really must be one of those evil stage mothers after all. Maybe...but I'm not ashamed.

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