Flying With Mary Poppins

Flying with Mary Poppins by Debra H. Goldstein

Last night, I saw a community production of Mary Poppins that blew my socks off. I can’t say enough about the acting, singing, dancing, or sets, but it was during the instances when Mary Poppins took flight that I felt a surge of “practically perfect” happiness. The only thing that made me fly higher was watching the face of a four-year-old child sitting in the row in front of me.

The little girl was the youngest of three sisters.  Seated in the third row, directly behind the family, I was concerned when I realized her parents placed her between her sisters rather than next to them. Was she the buffer to keep the older children from fighting?  How could the parents possibly reach and control her if she became bored?

I had my answer during the overture when she crawled over one sister and plopped into her mother’s lap. For the remainder of the performance, she quietly was shuffled between her mother and father. In the comfort of their arms, her attention was glued to the stage for the first act, but she became restless after intermission.  That is, until she sensed the actress playing Mary Poppins positioning herself on the edge of the stage, in the semi-darkness, a few feet from our seats. A moment later, when a now spotlighted Mary Poppins rose and flew over the audience – pausing for a second to smile down from directly above the little girl’s seat – the child’s eyes grew wide with wonder, awe, and the making of a permanent memory for both of us.

Hopefully, she will always remember the night she saw Mary Poppins fly. May I, as a writer, cling to the memory of how a child became engaged by the magic of storytelling.

8 replies
  1. Ritter Ames
    Ritter Ames says:

    Community theater really is a treasure for art and memories. I took my daughter to see a matinee production of The House at Pooh Corner when she was three, thinking she'd love to see it. She'd already been to plays and musicals, and was a huge (if very small) theater fan. However, when Rabbit came out, the character was played by a woman, and Rabbit wore an apron. My daughter's pouter lip came out and I recognized the storm clouds of doom approaching. She pulled on my sleeve and whispered, "Mom, Rabbit's not a woman. This is wrong. Can we go now?" So I reminded her about what a play was, and how if she'd wait just a bit I thought she would enjoy it. At that point, however, I began to dread what was going to happen when Tigger came out, because Tigger was her absolute favorite, and I mentally prepared to leave, and looked to see the easiest way out without disturbing a lot of people. Then the miracle happened. Five minutes later, the exuberant youth who played Tigger bounce up on stage with Tigger's patented, "Hoodooyhoo" and hit every beat perfectly. My daughter's eyes sparked, and she clapped in delight at every thing he said and did. After about ten minutes, she crawled into my lap then and whispered directly into my ear, "It's okay, Mommy, we don't have to go anymore. They have the wrong Rabbit, but they got the real Tigger." Yes, there's nothing like a live production to create the best kind of family memories.

    • Debra H. Goldstein
      Debra H. Goldstein says:

      I can just imagine your daughter's eyes…..and the memories that actor created when he brought Tigger alive. Thanks for stopping by. Debra

  2. Paula Gail Benson
    Paula Gail Benson says:

    Debra, I'm going tonight to see a community theatre production of Mary Poppins. Another local group performed it this summer, with a flying Mary. I'm not sure if tonight's show with have aerial stunts, but I'm certain it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    • Debra H. Goldstein
      Debra H. Goldstein says:

      Hope it proved to be a good performance. This one blew me away with the flying and with Bert dancing upside down from the top of the stage.

  3. Debra h. Goldstein
    Debra h. Goldstein says:

    Thank you. I know you know the feeling of a child's wonder that I wrote about because whenever I read your Facebook posts about Sunday school, I can see the wonder, memories and joy you create for children.

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