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The Sound of Music, or how to reach a comfortable compromise

9 Mar

After much discussion, where my husband and I disagreed on whether we should go or not, we compromised and decided not to go to the theatre to watch the Sound of Music. I was the one rooting for ‘not going’. It wasn’t that I did not want to go – I love the theatre, any kind of show: ballet, opera, plays, musical, one-man show – but rather, it was the financial exercise that was more of a stumbling block. My husband calls me stingy. I like to think of myself more as a ‘conservative spender’.

Killian, baffled.

Killian, baffled.

My daughter and I have been to the theatre together before. We used to take her to the ballet every December, we went to Potted Potter last year (which we absolutely loved loved loved!!) and recently we went to Sleeping Beauty on Ice (freebie tickets, mind you) What a thrill!! But my boys have never experienced the theatre yet, except for children’s theatre. My reasoning for not taking them to Sound of Music was that I was not convinced I wanted to pay R300 for a ticket to take them to a two and a half hour play, and have them moan half way through the show because they are bored, tired or both. Call me stingy, I don’t really care!

Then, a friend gifted us with two tickets to go and watch the Sound of Music. What is that? Didn’t my friend know that we had found a comfortable compromise already? My husband and I had reached a decision to ‘not go’, but now the discussion was back on the table. “You go with one of the boys” I said, being totally selfless and loving and kind. No, the husband said. I really think we must take all the kids. ALL the kids? ALL the kids.

Matt, all dressed up.

Matt, all dressed up.

So reaching a new settlement in deciding to ‘ALL go’, we booked three extra tickets. Given that we couldn’t book the three extra tickets next to the gifted two, I nagged enough and we chose seats that were slightly more towards the back and therefore cheaper. I also convinced Phillip that the three boys should sit together while the two civilised girls will watch the show peacefully (thank you selfless husband).

I was so sure that this theatre experience would backfire on us him, that I even agreed to forfeit a previous bet prize if I was proven wrong in thinking that the boys would not cope. That’s right, my husband owed me – or so I thought.

Thursday 8pm came and excitement rose. Many questions were asked (what, where, when, how long, who and why), they were asked more than once (thank you ADHD child for testing my patience at every corner). And finally Artscape, here we came.

The show was amazing. The singing is breath-taking (the main nun… what a voice!), the acting is of a very high-standard, the decor is very well done and the story is beautifully arranged. We laughed, we cried, we clapped, we stood up and clapped some more. The boys’ first experience to the theatre could not have been better selected. I’m so glad my husband knows better than me, sometimes. Words can not do justice to the show and, if you can afford it, and if it won’t create discord within your family, spoil yourself, go and enjoy this show. You won’t regret it!!

Léa. Waiting in anticipation

Léa, waiting in anticipation and reading from the other spectators’ program.

Did I mention that I forfeited a bet?? Well for this time, I didn’t mind being proven wrong.

Just this time.

Drama party

28 Sep

Léa has been doing drama for a few years and it has become one of her highlights in the week. Last month it was her birthday, and going from a superhero party (don’t ask me where it came from) to a hamper party (which excited her – and me – as much as going to the dentist) to no party at all, I finally had a lightbulb moment and thought of a drama party! It turned out to be the easiest party to organise and probably the one that she enjoyed the most.

The idea with our drama party was to put into practice everybody’s acting skills. Most children are drama queens anyway, so it was  a matter of putting structure around these theatrical little people.

We started with a few rounds of charade to get warmed up.

Stella acting ‘going to bed’,

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Léa acting ‘catching a big fish’,
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Rachel acting ‘a hook’,

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and Kiera wondering how to act something that seemed to scare her 🙂

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Our second short game challenged them to line up first according to height, then in alphabetical order of their first name. All that without being allowed to speak! They struggled a bit with all the ‘Ks’: Killian, Kaira, Kiera, Katie!!

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They clearly needed some fresh air by then. We went outside where they had to act according to how they feel about words I told them.

Here they are expressing their feelings about ‘bananas’: one happy chap, others…not so much,

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their feelings about monsters (not sure about Léa here),

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and their feelings about birthdays.

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We then moved on to acting different emotions. Rachel and Kaira being sad,

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Kiera, Dayna and Léa being tired,

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Killian and Matt being angry (my boys are familiar with this feeling as you can see by their great acting face),

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Cass and Kaira being bored (to death for Kaira it seems),

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and Katie showing surprise.

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After some well-deserved refreshments, the part that Léa had been looking forward to for weeks and weeks was a showcase of a short scene. She wrote a script of an argument scene between four people (a convenient writing assignment for school taken care of). The kids were then split into 2 teams and each team had to prepare and perform their scene in a different style.

Here they are preparing their lines (so professional).

Team 1: Léa, Kiera, Kaira and Rachel

Team 2: Dayna, Stella, Katie and Cass

Team 1 was given the style Downton Abbey – british and aristocratic (Yes, Léa might have watched an episode or two…).

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Team 2 was given hip-hop style – the yoyo-dude and what’s up-sister style. They definitely looked the part!

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They really had a lot of fun all together, a real creative and teamwork outlet for a 10 year-old birthday party.

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I went to Coldplay concert and you didn’t!

21 Oct

…or maybe you did because every second person I know actually was at the concert. In fact more than 50 000 people made the show!

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Any outing at the Green Point Stadium always starts with a train trip – which in itself is pretty exciting for me since I never take the train. Phil and I, en amoureux, walked to the station, took the train and did the fan walk. We stopped on our way to a cute boulangerie, patisserie and had a quick bite before meeting up with the rest of the troop Kirstin, Steven, Ali, Rebekkah, Michelle, Etienne, Derek (whose pics I’m stealing further down!).

Excitement was building up as the Parlotones were already on stage doing a pretty good job!!

I’m ashamed to say that the first part of the concert is probably what I enjoyed the most – The Parlotones. Please don’t lynch me! I really love their music and I know their songs. I really liked Coldplay music but I don’t know their latest songs. It’s a bit frustrating when you can’t sing along. You know, that awkward moment when everybody starts screaming out of intense joy because it is now their faaaaaaaaavouriiiiiite song… and you just don’t-know-the-song… ??

However, the huge balloons were a great hit. The fireworks were spectacular and Chris Martin is an excellent artist. He owned that stage with his presence. His piano was super funky but I wondered if he needed glasses. He was bending very low, very up-close to the keynotes!

The experience was fantastic, I absolutely love the ‘concert atmosphere’, where somehow you almost feel close to the people around you because you share in the same emotional moment.

Drama, and Speech

20 Dec

The tippy-toe walk in the forest?

The Goobs ☁ … Spaghettis in a pot ♨ … Puppet ✄ … Bird creatures ☄ … What do these have in common??

Deep conversation of the fancy ladies at the boxing match

Preparing for the puppet show

Nothing really except being part of Léa’s Speech and Drama. It has been a very exciting year there with her two exceptional drama teachers, Zita and Georgie. You can’t but be attracted to them when you see them – or maybe it’s just my starved artistic side of me. From the way they talk with their hands to their facial features, they are bound to distract your eye, in a good way.

The Goobs, they spill their broth on the table...

It’s been Léa’s highlight of the week. We were spoilt in December with a little show of some of the things that the drama kings and queens-en-herbe had been up to during the year.  The pics don’t do justice to the expression of emotions, the giggles of self-consciousness or the feelings of theatrical moments but they speak a little…



What I particularly loved about the show is that the emphasis was not on the costumes or music but simply on the expression of self, the development of confidence in front of the audience, the encouragement not to shy away but to be there and feel the moment.

The spaghetti in the pot, cooking

There will be no dvds, no official pictures but great gain of self-assurance. Lasting gain…


Those wise guys…

14 Dec

*** Pour la famille en France***

Dimanche soir nous avons eu un service de chansons de Noël, avec l’histoire de la naissance de Jésus. Il y avait des narrateurs avec des jeunes ados, un pianiste très talentueux, aussi une chorale d’adultes et une chorale d’enfants. Léa faisait partie de la chorale d’enfants. La jeune fille qui chante seule s’appelle Malaika et elle a une très jolie voix!!

Juste pour vous aidez à la situer, elle est devant avec le tee-shirt rouge, juste derrière le micro 🙂



MariaVianello’s School of Ballet

5 Dec

Léa and Maria

Hair and make-up done, now waiting for the show!!

Maria Vianello School of Dance…This is where Léa has spent all her tuesday afternoons for the past 2 years. I can’t say that she always loved going – a few afternoons, I would have a stern “No” when I’d say “Let’s go!”, probably related to the fact that it’s a good 20 minute drive but every time she got there, she always loved seeing Maria.

My memories of ballet – I was a tiny little 4 year old –  was of an old ballerina, very tall and thin with a stick in her hand, hitting our ankles and feet if our toes were not pointy. I don’t know if the philosophy changed since then, or if it is just the way we, French, do it, but Maria doesn’t have a stick in her hand. She does look like a ballerina though. Her approach is very sweet and the way the kids learn about ballet are all stories related to fairies, fairy houses and key to these houses.

Last year, she didn’t do a end of year concert so this year was the first one. The theme of the show was soccer world cup and all the dances were somehow related to soccer or South Africa: fans, minstrels, venders, flag etc… I can’t say that it was my favourite. Maybe all those stick-hits on my ankles made me old-fashioned about ballet but I like my classical music, beautiful tutus, pointy toes and point shoes.This concert had more of a modern dancing feel, to the exception of a few dances (with the big girls) but the dancers, especially Léanna loved everything: from the costumes to the music.


The minstrels

The last night of the show, Léa was particularly excited as Nico and Nicole came to watch her, and a friend of hers from school, Dayna.

Dayna and Léa, special friends

It’s very special when friends want to come and watch 🙂 And completely unexpectedly, Kiera and Katie rocked up backstage. They had come to watch their cousin, unbeknown to both them and Léa that they would see each other!!

For that show, we also had a mini crisis. Running around like an overexcited ballerina only led to her shoe breaking. Oh dear!!! After a small panic attack, we found someone with an extra pair of ballet shoe, a bit tight on the big toe, but without hole at the bottom!! Pfew, crisis averted 🙂

It’s the end of a – short – era. We won’t carry on next year. Mostly because of the distance: 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back for a 45 minutes class is just too much. We are very sad to say goodbye to Maria 😦

Broken shoe, coincidence??

Grandpa’s Attic

24 Oct

**Backstage photos only**

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What-a-week!!! ♫♬

Grandpa’s Attic was Sweet Valley end of year concert. Hectic schedule with dress rehearsals, show in the mornings and evenings, make-up, costumes… but it’s been so exciting. The backstage atmosphere, the pressure, the knot in the tummy, the giggles, the entrance on stage, the knobbly knees, the memory hole, the lights in your eyes and finally the applause and the encore and the standing ovation…

What-a-week!!! Well done to all the pupils, to Léa, to the teachers and to the school for putting on such a great show 🙂


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