When Ethan got home from school the next afternoon, we decided on the plot. We didn't write an actual script, just planned the overall story.
"I'll be a monster who's chasing everyone," Ethan proposed.
"Yes, and then we'll need a superhero to rescue us," I said. "Bill can save me and Allyson from the terrible monster."
"No, I want to be the superhero," Allyson asserted emphatically.
"Okay, so Daddy and I will be on a date, and we'll be talking when Ethan starts chasing us. But how will you stop him, Allyson?"
"I'll just say 'Stop!' and ask him what he wants," Allyson replied.
"And I'll say I just want to be friends," Ethan concluded.
"Perfect!" I said. "Now we just have to get Bill on board."
During dinner, I suggested a "rehearsal."
"Yes, yes! Let's do a recursal!" Allyson agreed. "Come on, Daddy! Come on, Ethan! It's time for the recursal."
Since Bill hadn't had time to build a stage in the backyard yet, we decided to hide behind the kitchen table instead. This meant, unfortunately, that Lola couldn't be part of the show after all--there was no way I was letting her shed her wiry black hairs all over my clean floor, and besides, she isn't tall enough to be seen behind the table.
"Let's videotape it," I suggested slyly while we cleared and wiped the table. Of course the kids wholeheartedly agreed, and even Bill thought there was no harm in it as long as we kept it within the family.
Ethan precariously balanced a heavy schoolbook on the edge of the counter top so that the camera could be at center stage. Meanwhile, I went over the script with Bill. "I'll talk and talk like I usually do, and you won't say much," I explained. Finally, Ethan started the recording and hurried to crouch behind the table with the rest of us.
Considering the fact that it was our very first performance of any kind, and that there was no formal script, I think we did really well. Hopefully you'll agree....
Immediately after the tape stopped rolling, we rushed upstairs and plugged the camera into the TV. We laughed and laughed at the bloopers--like Allyson answering when I asked Bill how he liked my earrings, and Ethan's indignant reaction when Allyson stepped outside the frame during her lines.
It took only a few hours of pleading to secure Bill's permission for me to air the production. After all, I reasoned, you couldn't even see his face.
How About a Road Show?
Yesterday afternoon, I opened a chat with Bill to find out if we could go visit my sister Emily, who is in the hospital on bed rest until Baby Charlie is born.
Sarah: I'll have dinner ready when you get home, and we'll leave before 7:00.I'll keep working on him.
Bill: Sure, I guess so.
Sarah: We can take the puppets! [laughing uproariously, even though I knew he couldn't hear me]
Bill: If the puppets are in, I'm out.
Sarah: Oh, mannnn!
Note: If you are reading this via Facebook, you probably need to click the "original post" link in the note in order to view the video.