The School Play

by Stephen V. Rice


Grade-school teachers love to put on school plays in which their students perform on the school auditorium stage and parents attend the performance and are proud of their children. The only problem is that there are more students in the class than there are parts in the play, and so some students are asked to be scenery. It is not uncommon for one child to dress as the sun and another to be the moon. A tall kid may be asked to don a leafy costume and stand on the stage as a tree.


This was the setting when my son Connor was asked to be a rock. His job was to sit on the stage during Act II wearing a gray rock costume. He had no speaking lines, so there was nothing to memorize. His primary concern was to sit still. Apparently, the boy who was the rock in the previous year’s performance was too fidgety for the part.

The day of the performance arrived, and my wife and I came early to get a good seat. There were many parents there, and of course they all wanted their children to do well. My wife and I sat patiently through Act I while anxiously awaiting our son’s debut in Act II. We were nervous for him, hoping it would go well. Meanwhile, little Jimmy Callahan stole the show. Wearing a top hat and bow tie, young Jimmy had the lead role and performed flawlessly. That kid has a future in show business.

Connor did great, too. He was brilliantly motionless throughout Act II, worthy of a standing (or sitting) ovation, in my opinion. 

As we exited the auditorium, my wife and I had a chance encounter with Jimmy’s parents. Of course, we praised Jimmy’s fine performance.


“Was your son in the show?” asked Mrs. Callahan.


“Why yes, he was,” I replied.


“Oh, I didn’t see him. What part did he play?”


“Um, rock,” I said. “He was the rock.”


“I didn’t see a rock,” she replied.


“Yes, he was there, sitting on the stage next to the tree.”


“Oh, Timmy Johnson was a wonderful tree, wasn’t he?”


“Yes, he has the height for it,” I said.


My wife and I then went backstage to collect our son. We gave him a big hug and told him he was our rock star.