There are a dozen kids in Cheaper by the Dozen. Actually, a case of kids, if you consider that the show was double cast. The director also double cast the show’s dog, who is played by actors Happy and Palin.
Last night was opening night and Happy was on the roster. Everything went well, except for one problem. Happy wasn’t happy.
Chapin Community Theatre’s back-stage is very small. Happy is kept in a crate in the 2-foot wide back-stage area. Although there’s a very nice cushion in the crate for Happy to lie on, the crate does not make Happy happy.
And when Happy is not happy he wimpers.
It is hard enough to keep a 12-pack of children quiet back stage. Happy’s unhappy wimpering makes this even more of a challenge.
Now, truth be told, I’m not the only one trying to keep the 12-pack quiet. There are wonderful parent volunteers who do an excellent job in that regard. And Happy also gets help from the 12-pack. At any given time there are scores of hands petting him through the crate.
Last night when Happy’s wimpering became particularly pathetic I took him out of the cage and held him on my lap. It made Happy unhappier.
Happy is happiest when we take him outside. But I’m unhappy when I take Happy outside because it’s about 20 degrees out there. And the director would not be happy if Happy were happily outside and missed his entrance onstage.
One of the Moms found a way to make Happy happy last night. She started feeding him cookies that another parent brought in for the cast. It worked. I’m betting that a glass of milk will make him even happier.
Maybe I’ll slip in some Kahlua. That always makes me happy.