Theatre – The Ultimate Team Sport

The center section of the high school theatre auditorium was almost full. 60 sweaty kids after an intense rehearsal, 100 or so parents threatened within an inch of their lives if they did not attend, 5 directors, and The Steering Committee.

This is the meeting where we finalize the the passports, the behavior contracts, and most of all the money – all $350,000 of it, needed to send our production of High School Musical to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland this August. Through a few grants, some fundraising, and a whole lot of begging, we have been able to raise every bit of it in just over 11 months.

The tense moment of the night came when 4 of us from the Steering Committee stood in front of this motley crew and explained the American High School Theatre’s policy on kids behavior while on this trip – which is basically, screw up once and you are on a plane home before you know what hit you! Oh, and that emergency ticket will be paid for by your parents’ credit card. Oh, and now parents, if you’ll just hand us your credit card, and your child’s passport we are going to go make copies of them so that transaction can be handled with just a phone call. And by God, if they didn’t do it!

I was pretty overwhelmed by the trust in that room as parents solemnly passed all manner of American Express, Visa, and Master Cards, along with their kids’ shiny new passports to the aisle, like good Lutherans, where they were collected by 4 moms. All that was missing was an organ playing the offertory hymn as we carried pretty much 150 people’s identities off to the Activities office to make copies.

After an hour of slaving over a hot copier, we returned the precious documents – amazlingly, all to the rightful owners. As I handed a Barnes and Noble Visa back to one parent, he whispered to me, “Well, at least if he gets sent home, with this card I’ll get 750,000 points!” Now that’s takin’ one for the team!

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