Six-year-old Thing2 doesn’t like art – he lives it. There is no dragging him to an art museum, there’s only the whining when we leave. Whether it’s sauntering around a museum with his sketch pad or putting his own spin on a particularly acrobatic leap he saw in a dance routine, Thing2 throws himself into color and sensation and into life in a lot of ways. Always, his joy becomes ours, but, as we learned once again the other night at a Hubbard Hall performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, it’s not always predictable just how that happiness will spread.
Currently in a Billy-Elliot-I-Will-Dance phase, we were certain this opera – a comedy punctuated by more physical comedy – would be the inspiration for his next set of dance moves. Every new movie or show is an opportunity to learn and create a new step. So, as we settled in, I began watching Thing2’s to see if he was absorbing the action.
He sat two seats away from me, but the stage cast enough light for me to see his rapt gaze as the ensemble of singers filled the stage. At first he was a statue – absorbing the color and the new experience of having a play sung for him. Then, after trying to ask if we recognized one of the singers as his former camp teacher, he began to move – but not in the way I’d expected.
I was already prepared to reign in any bursts of flair, but Thing2 had been absorbing something else besides the dancing. In front of the stage was a lone pianist accompanying the singers throughout the show. Her hands danced, never resting until the curtain call. Now Thing2’s hands began to dance, following every inflection of the piano player’s wrists, ever flutter of her fingers. Thing2 can play “Doe A Deer” on our piano at home, but, mimicking the musician in front of him, he became a virtuoso. He became one with the music and the musician.
The Big Guy and I smiled at each other as we watched him. Thing2 had found his own unique perspective to take something away from the show, and there was another show still to come on Sunday. The Big Guy and I were eager to see it. Watching “The Barber of Seville” ten feet in front of us would be an experience in itself. But we were also wondering what new inspirations Thing2 will bring home for us to enjoy.