Friday, August 5, 2011

When I was 6

When I was six I started first grade in a French Immersion program.  My teacher was a young, pretty Parisian called Mademoiselle R.  I am told that my step-dad was unaccountably interested in attending parent-teacher meetings that particular year.

Mlle. R. decided that my class would put on a theatrical production: a musical adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, a.k.a. "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge".  I had my eye on the leading role, but there was one other girl who also wanted to be a star. 

I recall scheming, even at that young age, to tip the situation in my favour. When Mlle. asked who wanted to audition first, the other girl's hand shot up.  I didn't raise mine.  I knew that if she went first the teacher would give her feedback, and I could listen in and apply that feedback to my own audition.  It worked out exactly according to my devious plan, and I got the part.

The soundtrack for the play was to be a children's album by Nana Mouskouri.  The songs that I can remember were called "Le Tournesol" (The Sunflower)  and, randomly, "J'ai un Haricot Dans L'oreille" (I Have a Bean In My Ear).  Would you believe that YouTube has totally failed to provide me with any sample of these songs?  That is indeed a pity.

The wolf was played by a little boy called Drew.  His parents went to the trouble of creating a helmet-style wolf's-head mask out of paper mache, but he couldn't see out of the eyeholes.  For the sake of health and safety considerations, the wolf carried his head around under his arm for the entire play.  Even at the tender age of six I thought it looked stupid.

There was one scene in the play during which Little Red is wandering through the forest, admiring the natural beauty of her surroundings.  She comes across some flowers, and smells each one in turn.  Three of the flowers smell great.  She appreciates them.  The fourth one, the orange flower, smells bad.  She turns to the audience a delivers the comedic line "Que ca pu!" (What a stink!).  Here the audience was supposed to laugh, but I don't remember if they did.  It occurs to me only now that many of the parents in the audience probably didn't speak French, so they wouldn't have known what the hell was going on.

Of course no one wanted to play the part of the orange flower.  When Mlle. was trying to fairly determine who would get stuck with that part, one of the girls, fed up with all the fussing, said "Fine, I'll do it."  She was a sensible girl without a big ego, even as a child.  We became best friends in the fourth grade when we were seated next to each other, and I'm still in touch with her.  The stinky flower is now married to a doctor, has three children, and is still counted among my best friends, although I only see her around twice a year because she lives so far away.

And so I had my 15 minutes of fame as Little Red Riding Hood.  At least, that was it until I played Mary Poppins at camp when I was 11 (complete with all the singing solos).  But that is another story for another time.


Anonymous said...

I have a bean in my ear?

Jameil said...

LOLOL. I love it, you little theater star! Though I'm a bit frightened that you knew about calculating to hear her feedback to do better! Okay 6yo evil genius!!

Lynn said...

I'll bet that calculation has served you well over the years - pretty cool that you got the part! What a wonderful story.

DarcKnyt said...

Wow, how precocious -- to scheme so young! And have it SUCCEED! Bonus points for your plan working the way you imagined. Bravo!

Granny Annie said...

And so, what scheme did you use to capture the role of Mary Poppins at age 11? You were so devious at 6, what must you be now? LOL

Sparkling Red said...

wigsf: I wish I could remember the lyrics. I only remember the chorus: "I have a bean in my ear! La la la la laaaaaa!"

Jameil: I was a manipulative child. Cute but manipulative.

Lynn: I am still very sneaky.

DarcKnyt: Perhaps I should have tried my luck in Hollywood.

Granny Annie: I'm not sure that I had any competition for the role of Mary Poppins. I may have been the only kid willing to learn and sing all those solos. At any rate, I don't recall the audition process. And as I said to Lynn, I am still very sneaky.

Pixiebaby said...

Cute story! What a devious little thing you were. ;) I love it. Thanks for sharing this little piece from your early years.

DarcsFalcon said...

Now THAT is some serious plotting! I don't know that I'd know to do that as an adult, and here you were at 6 with such foresight! Brilliant!

This is so cute, Spark. :) Hood, and Poppins - 2 awesome characters, and you got to be both of them! Bravo! :D