As I have mentioned previously, my spawn does ballet, which at this time of year means 5 hours a week minimum of Nutcracker.
This year, she is in the junior company proper, which means she has several different roles, and her parents are required to “volunteer” help with the production. (I say “volunteer” in this way because it isn’t actually optional, and I am pretty sure that if I didn’t, some hefty teenage ballerina would offer to break my arms.)
Feckless husband has slithered out of his volunteering responsibilities by being utterly booked up with paying gigs on the performance dates, which paying gigs he deliberately accepted for the sole purpose of not having to volunteer at Nutcracker performances, which means that I was the one to shoulder the volunteer commitment. Through a series of unfortunate events, I have ended up as Stage Manager for 3 shows. Expect tales of chaos.
So, yesterday was our first big run-through of the whole show with an entire cast, and I was sitting at the side of the studio being coached, I mean terrified, by people who have been Stage Manager, who kept saying helpful things like “Now, at this moment, you will have 15 seconds to completely clear the stage, so make sure you have given everyone a specific task, and hopefully no one will die,” and “the fog machine is not that tricky, but of course you have to make sure it isn’t too early or too late, and the person using the fog machine is in some danger of losing fingers”. I AM SURE IT WILL ALL BE FINE.
Anyway, we get to the part where Sugar Plum is supposed to do a pas de deux with Cavalier, and she gets up, but Cavalier is not there, because he’s a professional hired to come in later, but as it happens we haven’t managed to hire one yet, on account of the Winter Olympics. People say this to me as if it makes sense, and I don’t want to look like a moron by asking “How is it on account of the Winter Olympics?”
So, anyway, it transpires that there is a search on, but we don’t have one yet, and the Artistic Director (otherwise known as the head of the ballet school) is still searching, and asking everyone to get her contacts, and maybe there is this guy, but he doesn’t have a phone. It’s a bit tense.
And then I, prompted by some Demon of Internet Frivolity say, “Well, if worst comes to worst, we can always drape a banner across the stage that says ‘Invisible Cavalier is Invisible’.” And there is dead silence. At which point it dawns on me that ballet parents are not internets people.