I have been helping with the costumes for Grease, the musical that the 4th and 5th graders at the kids’ school are doing this year. When the musical was first announced, Rees was very excited until he found out that it was not about ancient Greece. He was even less excited when he found out it was all about romance between boys and girls. Now he doesn’t want anything to do with it and won’t even go near one of the circle skirts I am sewing when I need to see if it is approximately the right size. I always felt a little deprived because I had never seen Grease and it was very popular when I was in junior high. It certainly has stuck around.
Apparently the version Rees’ school is doing has been charmingly adapted and sanitized so that it is appropriate for young children. I am dubious. I finally borrowed the DVD and did my annual ironing while watching it. My assessment? It is terrible. I could find very little of value in it. Between the tacky costumes, cheesy dream sequences, and almost unbearable musical production, the story stinks. It’s basically about a sweet girl who is too sweet for her own good. The idea seems to be that you have to join a gang, drink, smoke, and sleep around to be cool, and if the “one you want” goes for the hot dancer from another school, you need become a biker chick. Or something like that. These young couples in relationships that already seem old and tired, getting pregnant or married right out of high school was just depressing to me, not amusing. Having high school graduation be the highlight of their lives made it very clear that it was all going to be down hill from there. I guess I am just jaded. I will be interested to see how this is rehashed for ten-year-olds, something that seems a Herculean task (from a very different sort of Greece).
However, the girls at the school all seem really into it, to be sure. Beauty-school dropout and all. Is that sad or fun? Anyway, I asked Rees, who is in the chorus (as are all the 4th graders), what he needed in the way of a costume. There was a long pause before he replied,
“Um, mom, I think I am going to be a hoplite.”
“A hoplite?” I wrack my brain as the word sounds vaguely familiar. A hoplite is…oh yes, an ancient Greek spearman. You go Rees.