The world became her stage when I heard two doll’s voices in English Accents coming out of her bedroom:
“You cawnt my dear. It simply isn’t possible Princess Aurora!”
“Well, try to control yourself Princess Cinderella, everything is going to be awl right!”
Goldi considers the world her stage. It is a ritual to rehearse in the “backstage” of her room first thing in the morning. When guests come for dinner, the dessert proceeds an impromptu performance of Annie, Cinderella, Mary Poppins or some other newly invented story. There have been raging reviews like ”That girl can sing. That girl can act.”
People are just being nice. I thought. They have to say that because she’s autistic . They are being forgiving and compassionate. It’s not like she’s Daryl Hannah or Susan Bowles. ( both have autism) Although even THEY they had to start somewhere.
She started with one week of Theater Camp downtown. I clasped her hand and guided her to the welcome area where all the theater teachers greeted us with articulate projected voices and exaggerated gestures. Feeling Goldi’s heart beat reminded me that her nerves were in a tizzy like mine.
Golidi waved goodbye I was escorted to the waiting area where I experienced the nooks and crannies of theater life. Directors sat going over call back lists. Young ones passed through with heads held high and soon belted out some familiar Broadway numbers about Tomorrow and Music of the Night. Real live Broadway actors from the production of Book of Mormon came promenading in ready to WOW some Broadway wanna bes with some “I made it big advice.” I people watched and listened and played the part of wall flower.
All the while, I wondered about Goldi . Would she be fine? Maybe I should have just had the neighborhood kids act out some familiar fairy tale with an old sheet curtain? Is she standing on the stage scrunched up with tears flowing not able to follow some blocking direction?
Lord, help her to find Your pleasure in doing this so that she might discover that this can be done for Your glory.
Suddenly a voice interrupts my wanderings of worry:
“Hi Mom! Know what? My part is going to be Flies! Here is my script. I have to practice my lines and tomorrow I am going to stand on the real stage!
There is a quick scene change from city to country. Closer to home, I breathe a sigh of relief for more reasons than one. She had a good time and she was smiling at the prospect of tomorrow.
The Final Day of Camp was performance day. We are sitting up in the theater balcony for Goldi’s big debut in Pirates Take Broadway. An off the beaten path story of which I am clueless about. But at that moment it is about Goldi.
Lord, work in her Your power so that she can “Break a leg”.
The opening number unfolds and out she comes singing and dancing in sync. She knew to move to the left or right. She knew to cross over and line up and raise her hands into the air .
A few scenes later, Flies (Goldi) comes out in costume. She wore a flower ruffly dress and clutched a clipboard. Goldi had nine lines. Nine lines that meant nothing to her as far as as sense or story. But she was determined to say them because she called herself “actress.” The other characters moved the scene along with their memorized, perfectly timed lines and then……..all eyes turned to Goldi …… for her first line. She buried her face in her clipboard ( her cheat sheet) and …..a whisper floated out into silence…nine times.The scene progressed. The characters played on each other …..even Flies. The story unfolded as planned.
Lord, help her to be who you made her to be despite autism so that others will know that you are greater and that you have overcome a world that might throw tomatoes and reject her.
The finale: “I am a Pirate Broadway Baby”. There was stomping, stepping, and gesturing and there was Goldi, singing in harmony with her feet and hands. The bows at curtain call prompted enthusiastic applause.
Lord, if there is any success in this it is because of You. There is something great in her from YOU waiting to come out . Is this a gift you gave her? For some amazing purpose?
In the comforts of home, Goldi rehearses backstage in her room and watches other plays. Away from the lights, camera, and action, she watches her filmed Pirate performance and her eyes are aglow with pride.
The Pirates take Broadway strike is done. Right now, there is a sold out production of Broadway musical Book of Mormon on that same stage. That same stage– that for a moment welcomed and housed a young autistic girl who dreamed of being in a real play, in a real theater. She gave it her all in pursuit of dreams come true. Some may look at Flies and say “exit stage left”. But Goldi cares little about critics.
In faith, I think she knew something that a Producer or Director of the world’s stage would not. In faith, Goldi was on stage- displaying a good work created in her. A gift from above for some good greater purpose. Goldi was on stage. She played her role from start to finish and….. all because He put the good work in her…. all to show the Glory of God. Goldi on stage may one day result in a standing ovation.
James 1:17-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth,that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ