The very first show that Sam was in was a local production of Into the Woods, Jr.
At 4, he was technically too young to be in the cast, but the director, sensing his
desperation to be in a show, cast him as Royal Trumpeter # 7. Throughout the rehearsal process, several trumpeters dropped out (due to exhaustion?) so he was upgraded to Royal Trumpeter #4. Due to his diligence in rehearsals, Sam was also given a special role of “The Hen That Laid the Golden Egg.” (This part doesn’t actually exist) His part was to run onto the stage as he’s being chased by Jack, who is trying to catch him and bring him down the beanstalk.
On opening night, Sam was so excited to go onstage for the first time. Our family and friends sat rapt in the audience for his big debut. The time came and he ran on, was enthralled by the audience’s laughter, kept running but stopped looking where he was going, and fell right off the stage and into the audience. Not upset, he rose from below, climbed back on the stage, and kept on going.
As we approach 2015 and head into the woods (clever, I know), I am hoping to
maintain much of the wonder and hope that is the crux of that show (which is now a
major motion picture! Check your local listings!)
Like the Bakers Wife, I am going to try to ignore the curse of bad genes in my
family. (Damn thighs and butt. I know, I know, that’s what you get when you don’t eat
enough of those greens and get greedy with the beans).
Like Red Riding Hood, I’m not going to trust people so easily anymore. Everyone
wants something from you. Even the most innocent of kindly gestures can have selfish motivations.
Like Cinderella, I’m going to try to rely on myself and not others to create
magic and mystery. Also, I’m going to try to wear shoes that are in style for the season. (Even though I know that knee-high boots just don’t fit me (do they make them in sizes for people with wide calves?)
Like Jack, I’m going to try and fight the giants who try to control the world from up above. Whatever the cause-the best way to stop them is to cut down their beanstalks so they can’t get to us anymore.
Like Rapunzel, I’m going to continue to attempt to make my hair long and luscious. I agree with the great Warren Beatty who once said that no matter the outfit or how much makeup you put on, ultimately, it’s all about the hair.
Like the Witch, I’m going to continue on in my quest for youth and beauty. I refuse to grow old gracefully. There is no reason to not try to make yourself look as beautiful on the outside as you feel in the inside. (I will say, however, that cursing your neighbor with infertility and stealing his sister and hiding her in a tower is going a little bit too far.)
However, like the Witch, I’m going to try to learn to let go of my kids. I know that the reason why we have them is to ultimately let them climb down the tower and wander into the woods. I just don’t like to admit that they are ready to go.
As with the entire show, I’m going to try to hold onto the fact that life is a constant journey. Childhood only lasts for a very short period of time and kids should allowed to be kids. I need to be careful the things that I say because children (especially mine) will, in fact, listen.
Into the Woods, Jr. ends at Act One, when everything seems to be resolved happily-ever- after for all of the characters. (Spoiler alert!) Act Two is much more violent, and results in disappointment, death, and loneliness for these same characters.
I’m not sure which one is the more realistic ending. However, I do know that in today’s world, we need to be prepared how to handle life once we get all that we ever wanted. There are so many ways to interpret Sondheim’s message in this show. I think that the message is to never get too content in your life. You should never stop trying to re-create your story.
Push away all of the witches and giants and big, bad wolves and keep on with your journey. Even if people that you love leave you halfway through your story, no one leaves for good. Their spirit will always be with you, guiding you along the way. New friends will come along to encourage you to keep going. No one is truly alone.
Keep fighting, keep dreaming, and keep believing in exciting, new chapters in your life, no matter how old you are. Even if you fall off the stage, get back up there. Your reward will be the applause from the audience because you didn’t give up.