Iphegenia Herself in Brooklyn Found

For the majority of the time, Katie is a happy bouncing five year old with a voice that’s jump-rope bright. But  lately she’s developed a habit of getting upset over random things that I can neither fathom or predict.

The other evening, we had this conversation at bedtime:

She asked, “How long does hair grow? Could it grow down to my feet?”

“Yes,” I replied, “although it would be difficult to take care of hair that long.”

“So hair never stops growing?”

“That’s right,” I answered, “it grows very slowly, but it doesn’t ever stop.”

With that answer, Katie burst into tears.

“IT NEVER STOPS?? WHY DID GOD MAKE US THIS WAY?” She wailed, “I don’t WANT hair growing down to my feet! Noooooo!

She then curled into a sobbing ball in my lap and wouldn’t be consoled, even when we explained the concept of haircuts. I suppose the idea of something on her body growing without her permission was a little too much for her five-year-old brain to handle.

Lest you think this is strictly a bedtime phenomenon, Katie was also incredibly upset one morning at breakfast when she heard that we would be getting a new range for our kitchen. (Our current range has been in slow decline, first ruining a bunch of baked goods with a faulty igniter, which we replaced, but now fails to ignite at all, blowing gas all over our kitchen. (Yeah, it was a little scary.)

“What will they do with the old oven? Give it to another family?”

“Um, no, Katie. This one might start a fire, which is why we can’t keep it.”

“SO IT WILL GO TO THE JUNKYARD? NOOOOOOO!

Ah, poor girl.

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This photo has nothing to do with the surrounding paragraphs. My friend Libby had a hard week and asked her friends to post “cute animal pictures” on Facebook. I was away from my laptop at the time and so had to create a cute photo while sitting in the Target parking lot. This is what I came up with.

Eleanor, on the other hand, has had a great week. Since she decided to stop drawing during math class, and she got a perfect score on her most recent test.

She also wrote a short story for English that was so well done that her teacher has decided to put her in a special group for advanced writers (there are only two other kids in the class who will be part of it) and they will work on entries for writing contests together.

Eleanor has always believed that she has no aptitude for writing (despite my insistence that the opposite is true). It’s wonderful for her to get proof of her ability from another source besides me.

William is continuing to embark on “PokeWalks” with Brian as their main bonding activity — that is, they walk around the neighborhood and play PokemonGo together. For the Halloween season, the game has started spawning a lot of ghost-type Pokemon for players to catch, which is really fun.

Both Will & Elle passed off their Basic 4 skating class this week, hooray! We’ll be taking a break from skating for the next session because they have decided to be in the school musical. Whew, so many things to do!

I’ve made it a goal lately to try to take our kids to more arts performances, so this week Brian and I took Jeff to a production of Iphegenia and Other Daughters, performed by UW graduate students.

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This is Jeff with the card advertising the show

This play is a mash-up of three classical Greek plays: Iphegenia at Tauris, Electra, and Iphegenia at Aulis. I love seeing Greek theatre, and it’s rarely performed, so I jumped on the opportunity to see this. It wasn’t until I was in the car and reading a full review of the play that I realized that it was very much a modern feminist reinterpretation of the stories, and would require a lot of familiarity with the original Greek stories to understand what was going on.

I’m lucky that Jeff is already familiar with the Iliad so that I could explain the finer points of the Agamemnon/Fall of the House of Atreus story. (So much revenge!!!) Also, I found it challenging to explain the concept of the Chorus.

Also, Brian and I kept singing Iphegenia in Brooklyn by P.D.Q. Bach. Which didn’t help matters, but gosh darn it I LOVE Iphegenia in Brooklyn.

Okay, so the production itself . . . was fine, in my opinion. The adaptation of the three plays is hauntingly beautiful, I loved the language and emotion, the basic human questions about loyalty, family, justice, fate, etc. that are always a big part of Greek tragedy. And the costumes were pretty!

But the production itself was kind of slow. The performances weren’t that strong (and this is a production that requires very strong performances to be effective). I looked at my watch twice. At one point I glanced at Brian, and saw that he was nodding off. Not wanting to “catch” the sleepies, I glanced the other direction, only to find that the gentleman seated there was also nodding off. I was concerned that Jeff might be bored out of his mind.

But, in fact, Jeff was enthralled. “This was the best show ever,” he said quietly when the house lights came up. “There was so much meaning, and it was such a complicated story.” For Jeff, this was very much his first foray into theatre that didn’t involve Shakespeare or musical numbers — it was Mature Grown Up Thee-a-tah. It brought back a lot of memories of my own first experiences with art didn’t have that sanitized, family-friendly coating, and how special and smart it made me feel.

I look forward to taking him on more art adventures!

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