After a recent production of Harold and the Purple Crayon at the Children’s Theatre Company, the small cast of three came back on stage to lead the audience (the majority of whom were children) in a spontaneous storytelling session.
“Once upon a time, at the — I need a place!” one of the women called out, then searched for a child in the audience to fill in the blank. As anticipated, lots of eager hands shot into the air and an answer was supplied in short order. This continued until we had collected the makings of a very compelling tale: there was a statue named Bob who played all day near the Great Wall of China. One day, he met a princess and they got married.
Because, you know, that’s what princesses and statues do.
Then the woman moved on to the next segment of the story, announcing, “So Bob and the princess got married. Then what happened?” As she scanned the audience, a young boy in the front row (maybe 5 years old) kneeled up on his chair and waved his hand around. She smiled and pointed to him. “Yes?” she asked.
“They got divorced!” he shouted.
The entire theatre seemed to gasp collectively for a fraction of a second, then erupted into one of those lingering waves of laughter where you aren’t sure whether everyone’s horrified or merely applauding the kid’s comedic timing.
I’m pretty sure I saw the man sitting next to him (I can only presume his dad) desperately trying to sink into his seat, perhaps hoping if he slid down far enough, the Earth would kindly oblige and swallow him whole.