Arabella has had her night on stage.  Carl received a text from her a couple of hours before the performance advising he was not to sit up the front and he was not to make eye contact and could we both try not to look at her.

Desperate not to upset her and in great haste to secure our seats in the back row we arrived about 15 minutes before anyone else.  I initially thought she might prefer it if we sat on the side of the theatre, not quite in the back row but so far on the side we were almost out the door.  We sat there until I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was one of Arabella’s friends letting us know Arabella had seen us from her position backstage and we were too close.  ‘Would you mind moving further back?’ asked the nervous but polite friend.

By then there were only two seats in the back row remaining (it had filled up fast) and they dead centre stage and right beside the judges table under a spotlight.  We hesitated and Carl said there was no way we could take those two seats.  I said, ‘There’s nowhere else’.

‘But she’ll see us.  Didn’t she want us in the dark?’

‘It’s sit here or stand.  If we stand we’ll be even more obvious’.

‘Will they be turning out these lights?’

‘I don’t know, go ask the teacher’.  So Arabella had us all worked up and petrified over where we should sit.

The judges came in.  Two formidable looking creatures that had all the mothers quivering for their daughters.  They were given bottled water and the lights went down, except the lights above the judges.

A lone figure came onto the stage all dressed up in riding breeches.  It was Arabella.  She had to look at the judges and give them her six digit student number.  I looked at the floor.  She took her position on stage and steadied herself to deliver her seven-minute monologue, Decadence by S Berkoff.

She was so good.  Hysterically funny.  She didn’t miss a beat and it was a flawless performance.  Her friends sitting right down the front just an inch from the stage loved it too.  How it wasn’t a problem to have them so close is not something I can understand.

Then came the group performances.  Arabella’s group was again first.  This is the piece they wrote themselves and while rehearsing had caused a domestic disturbance that brought the police.  The group performance was also very good and quite funny so I’m sure she’ll get a good mark for that as well.

After the performances we had a chance to tell her how great we thought she was and had she thought about applying to drama schools.  ‘Don’t be silly mum’, she replied, ‘I couldn’t go through that again.  Didn’t you see how much I was shaking?  I haven’t even been able to sleep.’

And I didn’t say, ‘How could I see you shaking when I wasn’t allowed to look at you?’  I just said, ‘Well if you wanted to go to drama school, you’ve certainly got the talent’.

Of course I have no photos of the event.  As all the girls were being marked for their HSC we weren’t allowed to do anything distracting like flash photography.

We’re still waiting for the results.

A few nights ago Archie and his mandolin player and his double bass player did a ‘guerilla performance’.  They stood outside an Italian restaurant a few doors down from Phil’s place in Kings Cross and serenaded the patrons with a few songs.  The owner of the restaurant came out and started clapping and two little girls dining alfresco with their parents jumped to their feet and started dancing.

A guerilla gig

Instagram seems to be a good tracking device for Archie.  He phoned me earlier today to let me know he was on his way home.  Well four hours later he still wasn’t home.  I found he’d uploaded this photo.  That’s not the view from my backyard.  ‘Oh sorry mum’, he said when he walked in after a two-day absence, ‘I was on my way home but you know my friend Lily?  She invited me over for a coffee.  So we sat on her roof-top terrace and enjoyed the view’.

Looking for Archie. Clearly he’s still in Sydney

And Arabella’s just walked in and she said, ‘I’m glad you sat in the back row mum.  Thanks for listening.’

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  1. I’m so glad it all went well, Charlie! And that you found a good way to track Archie, since you’re obviously not going to take my suggestion of getting him tagged by the vet.. 😉

  2. This is kind of beautiful. However, I’ve always wanted to know where my parents are in the audience, so I can look to them for support. At my gospel concert last year, I hated that the audience was so dark I couldn’t see them. I wanted to see their smiles before my solo but, like Arabella, I was glad to know they were “listening” at least. 😛

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    So glad that it went well! Oh she was really serious about your seating! I would have been like you and figured that the side was ok. Will you let us know how she goes?

  4. That thank you from Arabella must be a rare gem in the world of motherhood – but congratulations to her, and to you for surviving the seat trauma! You have such talented children, you must be very proud.

  5. Oh what are parents to do with such demands. 😉

  6. Oh you are such good parents. I hope they remember all this when they are famous!

  7. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    So…apparently she saw you and Carl in the back row and that was just fine. Too funny. Perhaps she will change her mind and study drama. Sounds like Archie was quite the hit, too. What talent. Both of them.

  8. Your Children sure do keep you on your toes, and that’s how it should be. It keeps us young, their antics do. (That and a good hair dresser.) Hmmm, wonder where yours get all of their creative talent from.:)

  9. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Seeing Archie performing there reminds me of the time when I took over for a street performer and played guitar on a corner in Amsterdam.

  10. A_Boleyn says:

    Congratulations on both your talented older children. 🙂

  11. Teenage girls are such a dilemma, I wonder if we were THAT picky! So glad that the night worked out so well for you both! Does Archie have a youtube yet? Would love to hear his music.

  12. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Sounds like Arabella will sail through with flying colors. It is wonderful to see your children shine, even if you can’t look directly at them! There is certainly a lot of talent in this family! When it’s Alfie’s turn, it will be interesting to see what he gets up to.

  13. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Your children are very talented Charlie – you are very blessed even though they make you want to pull your hair out in chunks on occasion.
    🙂 Mandy

  14. Sounds like you have some very talented children you must be so proud!

  15. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    That is quite a nice view. Glad Arabella’s performance went well.

  16. niasunset says:

    Seems that it was an exciting and nice night… You should be so proud with them. Thank you dear Charlie, you know, my Good Luck wishes for them always, love, nia

  17. InTolerantChef says:

    It will be our little secret Charlie, let her be happy for a while- or until the next drama anyway 🙂
    I’d love to create a pop up restaurant when the weather heats up, maybe I need some pop up musicians to go with it…
    What a very blessed mum you are indeed Charlie xox

  18. Our youngest is currently in the off-Broadway, oops I mean school production, of Les Miserables. They have been rehearsing this since March, during the school holidays & on nearly every Sunday from 10am to 5pm since March. They hired a professional director & have even had critics in to revue the show!!
    I suspect the head of the performing arts department at school is planning a career change. I’ll be glad when it’s finished – with the amount of class-time she’s been missing, my daughter will be lucky to have the opportunity for a career at all!

  19. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    Oh goodluck to Arabella 🙂 sounds like she will do awesome!

  20. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    While my sister was overseas recently mum kept track of her through her Facebook photos and updates! I guess that’s one of the good things about technology.
    I’m glad the performance was successful! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the results.

  21. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    The trials and tribulations of being a parent. The nice thing is that someday they too will probably be parents as well. Then you can just nod and smile…been there, done that.

  22. Whew. I’m glad it all went well. My 3 are so different….my oldest wouldn’t have wanted me to come at all, my middle would have wanted me in the front row and my youngest is easy going enough that he wouldn’t care. This parenting journey keeps us on our toes 🙂

  23. ChgoJohn says:

    Glad to read that all went well and that you and your husband were ablle to actually watch her performance. It seemed doubtful there for a while. 🙂

  24. Your children are so lucky to have you and Carl as parents. Most other parents wouldn’t worry about where to sit. They’d sit in a seat and that would be the end of it. …and they’d look 🙂

    I’m so glad her performance went well, both for you and for her!

  25. Love the follow up story. I only have the one son so I don’t get to see those great differences between children that some of the commenters have mentioned. Arabella would prefer not to see you and Hannah below wants to see hers for support. It’s fascinating all the different approaches to the same situations.

  26. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake says:

    Always love your stories Charlie. I know just how nerve racking it is to watch a family member perform on stage, my brother has played many times solo and with a group. Every time we watch, I feel my heart just can’t stop beating! Dad is worse, he breathes when my brother breathes and stops when my brother inhales…:P

    Good luck to Arabella!

  27. You have probably the most talented children in the world 😀
    I am so happy Arabella’s performance went amazing!


  28. Instagram is definitely a very good tracking device…thank goodness for social media, hey!! Good luck to Arabella, sounds like her performance went well 🙂

  29. Loved this glimpse of life with two artistic young ‘uns… the temperaments, tangents, and trials. They grow up so fast… which means this part of your life will be over sooner than you think. Sweating it out now and then is good for the skin. 🙂

  30. yummychunklet says:

    I like that you’ve found a new tracking device for Archie. Almost better than GPS because you can “see” what he’s doing!

  31. At least they let you come watch. When I was in drama in high school I refused to let my parents come to watch me. I could easily perform in front of audiences, but if I knew one of them were out there, I’d stumble or freeze up. And love Archie’s new tracker! LOL!

  32. Haha, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my parents away from an event like that, although I think they’d have had the good sense not to sit in the front row and put me off if they’d wanted any peace for the next century!

    Love the view from your friend’s balcony… what a location!

  33. GourmetGetaway says:

    Oh how hard are teenagers!! Imam learning the rules to these stranger creature also! I track my son through Facebook! Thankfully between the whole group of them all the photos of the night out seem to get uploaded?? Great story, poor Arabella! As someone that wouldpuke if I had to get up on stage I can imagine her pain!

  34. Your children make me smile, Charlie! They are so delighfully extraordinary yet typical…if that makes any sense to you! They have talents and wonderfully strong individual personalities, yet they worry about the little things that teenagers do…”don’t embarrass me” and “I’ll be home soon….right!” I love your stories of them and any and all photos! I hope to hear them perform some day! Do they know they have fans? 🙂

  35. I just love the stories of your kids. I don’t have any so I’m living vicariously through you 🙂

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