Last weekend was a big deal for my family, a VERY big deal!
Tessa, my niece was in her school production of Matilda and she played Matilda!! Once a year her school, Penrhos College, puts on a spectacular show and having seen quite a few of them over the years, I must say they really do rival what you would see at a theatre in town. It was incredibly exciting for our family and friends to be connected to the Star of the show, and yes, that child really is Star!
The first night I saw her on stage I burst into tears with pride and love. She has put in so much work and to see her in full character quite overwhelmed me. My whole family can be pretty emotional so there were a lot of tears for a show that is not really sad at all.
There are actually two actors for most of the major roles in the show so Tessa was one of the two Matildas. Being a large school production, this means that 1) more children get an opportunity to be in it; and 2) the show is over two hours long (which I imagine would be exhausting for the kids with the bigger roles and back to back performances).
The journey of getting to sitting in the seat watching her has been a long one. I remember when she auditioned back in term one. There were a lot of nerves and a very strong desire, so Tess prepared herself to the best of her ability and gave it all her Hollywood-bound-swagger. She landed the role she was chasing.
There was so much excitement from my family for this first step being achieved. Tess is only eleven but has always had a strong pull to the stage. For her to land this role, a lead role in a senior school play (when she is still in junior school) is belief-making material. When so many of our beliefs are formed in our younger years, it is wonderful to think what this experience will have led her to believe about her ability and talent. Not only that, it has given her a phenomenal experience of the dedication and commitment it takes to pull together a large production, be a part of a team, and to push through in the face of fear. As you can imagine, those nerves before the show can be pretty big!
For her Mum and Dad, being the parents of Matilda meant three months of rehearsals and family line practice every day. To be honest, if everything had fallen apart, her sisters most probably could have gotten up there on stage and delivered a word perfect performance. That being said, public attention is both her sisters’ worst nightmare! All the “jazz hands genes” definitely ended up with Tess.
One of the most heartwarming moments for me though (aside from seeing Tess on stage) was to see all the people connected to my family who came out to show their love and support for her. All three sets of godparents came, the old neighbours from up the road, our family physio who is a very dear friend, my sister’s old university friends, my old school friend with parents and kids, my besties from Sydney who actually flew in from Kuwait, and all the school parents who are in Tess’s life.
To see so many people gunning for Tessa’s success was humbling and beautiful. It also highlighted the power of connection. After Tessa’s second show (she did Friday night as well as the Saturday matinee) everyone gathered back at my sister’s place and celebrated with the Star. As I looked around the room at all these different people, it got me thinking that by Tess stepping up, she had brought all of us together to connect and share. It had been a long time since I had seen some of my sister’s old friends so to hear their news and catch up on their lives was quite wonderful.
It’s a funny by-product that I had never considered: that Tess would be bringing people from far and wide together not only to support her, but to connect and see each other again. The invisible web that links us all no matter how far and wide we spread.
As you can imagine, the Star is pretty flat now it’s all over and her sisters are no longer at her beck and call (much to her disgust) but life will go on. It was a beautiful weekend and I am definitely the proudest auntie in the world. I can’t wait to see where this little Star goes on her journey – hopefully to wherever her soul is the happiest.
That, I believe, will be the stage.