For my 12 younger cousins and I, today – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – is a time of preparation.
Although most of us cousins don’t do an extreme amount of cooking for Turkey Day, we prepare in our own way for another family tradition – the annual Thanksgiving Play.
The Play, which deserves a capitalized title, is a cute little production that has been performed for the adults for many years on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
You see, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, my dad’s entire side of the family goes up to Vermont, where my aunt and uncle and two of my cousins live.
We run through the script, mostly written by my two younger cousins and I, on Friday and Saturday. Then it is performed in the basement, which has ample seating for the many adults that watch, after dinner on Saturday night.
Over the years, the play has snowballed – it keeps getting longer, more creative, and more intricate as Thanksgivings pass.
About five or six years ago, we first came up with the idea for the Play. Because we were all considerably younger, and there were fewer of us who were old enough to read lines, our first performance lasted a good 15 minutes, if that. It had a basic storyline – the Pilgrims meet the Native Americans, they get along, they eat together. For the second year, this storyline was added to a little, so it was longer.
Then as more kids reached a ripe old reading age, we started to get creative.
As one of my cousins put it, we were “shying up” to larger productions. The third Play took place in a school setting, and the students somehow acted out the story of the first Thanksgiving, as if they were a part of it.
The fourth was a spin on Charles Dickens’ story, “A Christmas Carol,” complete with a Scrooge and “Tiny Teresa.” It was a big year for us, because it was the first year that sound was incorporated into the Play.
This year, our Play is about some kids who have a science fair project due the day before Thanksgiving. One kid makes a time machine, which accidentally transports the four students back to the 1600s. (Pretty creative for a play put on by kids, most under the age of 11, huh?)
This year’s Play will certainly be the longest and most interesting of them all. The script is 11 pages long, typed.
Apparently, tickets will even be passed out. (The fact that most of my cousins now have email addresses helps.)
There will be lights, sounds, and music, including Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” (I have no idea how that made it into our script.) In fact, preparations started long before Thanksgiving, in July.
I mean, it is impossible to say no to a couple of kids with “puppy-dog faces” plastered on.
Besides, I enjoy helping out with the Play. After all, it is extremely cute to watch.
And I’m sure that every one of us cousins will remember this for years to come.
Who knows – maybe one day, we’ll get to be part of the audience.