Oh, I better explain The Nutcracker....
Years before we had our little boy Kenneth used to buy me season ballet tickets. And so of course we have seen The Nutcracker performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle many times.
And let me tell you the sets are magical. All inspired by the art of Maurice Sendak. The pages of his book really comes to life! The Christmas tree grows, it's amazing.
BUT the end.... OMG the end!
OK let me back up. When I was growing up my two sisters took dance classes at a cutesy little dance school. "Miss Margene's" I think it was. Anyway, every other year Miss Margene shared her scary Nutcracker nightmare with us. Talk about the longest recital in history. In order to make sure every class and child was showcased enough she added in all sorts of extra numbers and songs. One year there was a sister dance and they both performed together as sugar plum fairies. Cute. Another year one of my sisters spent most of one number rolling back and forth across the stage as a wave. Yeah, you get the idea. Nonetheless, the parents really did love it. Mothers and Grandmothers anyway.
So back to PNB's Nutcracker. The story finally wraps up at just the perfect time that you decide you need to get up and stretch your legs. As you reach for the shoes you kicked off (I'm short, I can never reach the floor comfortable and often loose a shoe in church pews and theater seats) just as you start to glance towards the exit here comes another number...
And one by one all these storybook characters that were never IN the story to begin with come out and get their special solo. One after the other after the other. Now that I think about this, I am pretty sure I am thinking about PNB's production of Sleeping Beauty, which is long, really long. Well done, but long. One year these two delightful grade school girls were sitting in front of us. And they were pretty much finished with the ballet by intermission. So when this finale of all finales started they just lost it. Melting out of their seats, asking for food and drink as though they had been starved for a year. Oh, it was so funny. What's not funny is that you didn't have to be a gradeschool kid with zero attention span... Any normal person would be wondering how long the nightmare would go on (except the performers own Mothers and Grandmothers of course).
It wasn't hard to get Kenneth to take me to the ballet. We already held season tickets to the Paramount so we could catch all the off Broadway shows that came to town. And Kenneth LOVES music. But those last few numbers always just pushed him just over that edge.
And so I laughed when I first heard Straight No Chaser's "Nutcracker" which he had included, unbeknownst to me, in our annual Christmas playlist. And no, we don't see it as a lousy tradition. Although, for some reason we have never taken Awsumb to the Nutcracker. We've talked about it, we just never make it happen. Next year for sure!
So Kenneth, I'm leaning in closely and whispering softly, "I can't wait for you to take me next year!"