I was in high school, active in the (award-winning) choir, and in The Mystic Crystal (the magic club). And one of the kids in the neighborhood pointed me in the direction of an amateur troop of kids who performed free. For people who needed entertainment.
And I thought what the heck.
They were called The Cavalier Players. Founded by a quintessential stage mother to get her daughter’s (marginal) dance talents exposed further, they performed free for anyone who would have them.
And I signed up.
I remember many elder care facilities, some like Phoenix’s The Beatitudes – the top of the spectrum. Others where the only thing in memory was the smell of urine.
And one Thanksgiving at the St. Vincent De Paul dining hall, packed to the brim with the unfortunate.
Other members included dancers, singers, gymnasts, and piano players. On one occasion, the tape deck with needed music broke, so (Geez! What the hell was her name?) the stage mom stepped out on stage, announced “I-AM-THE-ORCHESTRA!” and began humming so the dancer could continue with her performance!
Another time, Debbie J. (a gymnast) performed the splits, but had not stretched sufficiently. She reached the bottom of her split, but was unable to come back up. And began screaming and crying. The EMTs were called. She had torn some ligaments. YIKES!
Being a magician, my only faux pas were dropping my concealed handcuff key (loudly, on a wooden stage), and having one of my juggling balls bounce off the stage toward the audience.
At least I was able to exit the stage, pick up the ball in mid-bounce and continue juggling! I was much more mobile and faster, then.
I performed with them a couple years in high school. It did teach me a little about the less fortunate, and about the show going on.
We even made the local paper, with a photo! Sadly, in the pre-digital age, my likeness was over-done with ink, making me appear as a minstrel show player! Not very cavalier…
The stage mom and her daughter moved a couple years later. I never saw them again – guess the daughter never ‘made it’?