Mary Beth's Fantasy is rated PG-18: Home (Introduction) Menu (Contents)
Mary Beth Story
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Players: Kevin Marks, as Martin and Mary Beth, the transsexual toddler; Ms. Abby Clifton, teacher, Beginning Theater; Mark Swanson as Brad, the straight toddler; Chuck Turner as Carl, the gay toddler;
Madden Madison as Terry, the female to male transsexual toddler. Susan Baker as Barbie, the gay female toddler; Carol Beckett as Christina, the straight feminist toddler girl.
Pat and Debbie Carlson, Kevin Mark's aunt and cousin. Rose Clifton, Abby's mother; Terry Clifton (AKA Tina), Abby's transgendered brother; Tracy Evans, MTF transsexual student and friend of Debbie.
Mrs. Carol Brighten, Owner of Brighten Enterprises and the Little Miss Priss Dress line; Ms. Robin Hopkins, Head Dress Designer for Little Miss Priss;
Synopses: Kevin Marks, playing the toddler transsexual Martin, also known as Mary, walks in stage right. Carol, playing the straight feminist toddler Christina, also enters stage right, and a few steps behind Kevin. Carol, in a nearly identical dress as Martin's catches up to him as both reach center stage.
Carol, on reaching Martin says, "I see your mother is in that 'I wish I'd had a girl phase again'?" Kevin, as Martin, but dressed as Mary Beth, looks down at his frilly pink toddler's dress, too short to completely hide his ruffled panties and diaper, smiles sheepishly, shrugs then happily nods yes.
"Hey, he's back! So how did it go," Aunt Pat asked as she pinched down a strip of raw dough across the top of a freshly made apple pie.
Kevin's aunt loved baking and her pies were to die for. Kevin smiled over the spicy smells and the thought of that pie sitting on a cooling rack for desert. It was the first time Kevin had a reason to smile that day.
"How did it go? Lousy!" Kevin said to his aunt's question.
"Lousy? How so," Aunt Pat asked allowing a touch of concern to enter her voice.
"By the time I got up to the registration table they had one class left and one spot open in that class. One! No choices at all," Kevin said dropping his back pack on a kitchen chair as he slumped onto another.
Kevin watched his aunt's face. Her concern changed slightly to anger.
"But you got a class right," Kevin's aunt asked with a touch of warning in her voice.
"If you want to call it that," Kevin said in frustration. He had caught the changes in his aunt's voice and knew why.
Summer school! It was painful on so many levels, Kevin thought, remembering that long slow line in front of him this morning. Kevin did not want to go to Summer school, but he had not gotten all of the classes needed for his Freshman year and he would be short three credits without that Summer elective. He needed those credits.
Summer school was from June 20 to August 20 and that was his first bit of pain. Two months of school! An entire Summer of school, then right back to school in the Fall. 'Hardly any Summer at all', Kevin mused sadly as he slowly stepped up to that table's edge.
Registration was in the school's gymnasium and only a few hours ago but it felt like forever. Although, Kevin also mused, it could have been worse given the circumstances.
In a way, Kevin had been lucky. He knew that as he pondered the morning. It could have been a lot worse not getting that class. Kevin was lucky because there was only one elective still open, and one spot left in that elective when he reached that table.
It was Kevin's last hope for a Summer class! Although later, if he had to point to the beginning of his Summer from Hell, it would be right then and there. Right there at that table, in the middle of that gymnasium.
And that woman! That woman had only made it worse, that woman he had faced sitting behind that table. She seemed to know he had no choice. That woman was one of those, take it or leave it, fussbudget kind of bureaucrats, with a name tag reading Ms. Crawford.
Crawford. Nasty name for a nasty women. A bureaucrat who had seemed delighted that Kevin had no desire whatsoever to spend his summer perhaps quoting Shakespeare. Shakespeare while wrapped in a stupid bed sheet.
"So you at least got a class," Aunt Pat asked cautiously. There was a renewed hint of a warning in her voice. Kevin knew that tone.
"Yes, I got a class," Kevin said in deeper frustration, understanding clearly his aunt's tone. She was not going to be sympathetic at all, he decided, which meant he was stuck.
"So what class did you get," Aunt Pat asked as she finished covering the apple pie with those strips of dough. She was now facing him for his answer as she began sprinkling sugar over the raw strips.
"Theater 101," Kevin answered as he got up and opened the refrigerator for the milk. Under a glass dome was the last of his aunt's cookies baked two days ago.
"Theater? How wonderful," Aunt Pat said sounding relieved as she added, "that really was one of my favorites as an elective."
"Great," Kevin said with much less enthusiasm than his aunt as he added, "so where is Debbie?"
"She's at a friends house for the weekend," Kevin's aunt said as she slipped the finished pie into the pre-heated oven before adding, "so, come on, give, tell me about this class?"
"Nothing much to say yet. I mean I don't know much about it. Just that it's Theater for beginners," Kevin said with another touch of frustration in his voice. It was theater and he was stuck.
Theater 101... This was going to be about as bad as it could get, Kevin had decided as he looked at the dwindling list of classes on the board that still had openings. None of the better shop classes were open.
Even the waiting list for those was bigger than the classes would even carry, so his entire Summer would be taken up by Shakespeare. And that damn woman at the table, Kevin mused angrily again.
Kevin had waited for that woman, that damn bureaucrat and she made him wait. She even seemed mad to even acknowledge him standing there for what seemed like forever. She finally did, but only after some very long minutes playing with the papers in front of her. Obviously a power trip, Kevin thought as he went over their conversation.
"Have you finished filling out your form," Ms. Crawford had finally asked. She was clearly not happy being there and that made them at least even on that score, because neither was Kevin.
"What," Kevin had asked back, focusing back to the gym and this woman. He had drifted off, spending his thoughts on what else he could be doing at that moment. Kevin had smiled over that part remember how snippy she'd gotten when he had ignored her.
"Young man, please try and focus. I said, have you are finished filling out your form," Ms. Crawford asked in a kind of 'are you really a college student' voice.
"Yes," Kevin had answered looking at her as if for the first time with his paper work still at his side. It had been kind of nice scoring at least a small victory in that brief, but minor, power struggle between them.
It didn't matter that Kevin had never acted before, or that he had no desire to act. All that mattered to that woman was his paper work. His paper work, and if Kevin was going to take the class or leave it. She was holding her hand out and again Kevin waited well past being polite.
That woman's world would not change in the slightest regardless of what he did, and her attitude, that smugness was there start to finish. It was that smugness some people get when they have power, little as it might be.
It was having that power over someone else that made them happy, or perhaps they have something you desperately needed. That woman had that power and she also had that class Kevin needed. Kevin didn't want that class, but he desperately needed it, and that woman somehow knew that.
"Young man, as much as I'd love to sit here the entire day watching you day dream, I really can't. Now then, are you, or are you not, going to be taking this class," Ms. Crawford asked holding her hand out impatiently for Kevin's form.
"Yes," Kevin said focusing once again. Another minor victory, Kevin mused, in those few seconds he took irritating her. It was always the small victories one savored. 'Score one for the little guy,' he thought.
Yes or No? Take it or leave it? That is all that mattered to this woman. It was take that spot or blow off the only chance Kevin would have for the credits necessary to become a freshman and move on.
There really was no other choice as Kevin handed the woman his form. She thumbed through it quickly, initialed it, added his name to a roster four pages in, then removed the pink part of the form Kevin had filled in. It was done.
"Give that to your teacher at the beginning of class!" Ms. Crawford had said handing Kevin his class admittance slip back before she stood. It was over. That, Ms. Crawford mused, was that. Her day, thankfully, had just ended.
Kevin had felt guilty suddenly. With that pink slip in his hand, he now held the last slice of bread in a room full of starving people. Behind him, he realized, were dozens of students as hungry for a class as he was.
With no more spots left for Summer school classes Ms. Crawford's day was done and those other students were now out of luck. Kevin realized then just how lucky he really was.
Ms. Crawford, Kevin also realized, now had the sad duty of telling the rest of those kids, the ones still standing in line behind Kevin, that enrollment for this years Summer classes just ended.
If there was a positive in any of this, it was that he just got the last seat, in the last class, on the last day of registration for Summer School.
Kevin didn't look at the other students on his way out that morning. Of course, if Kevin had known what was ahead of him, he may very well have passed on that one last chance.
Kevin didn't know what waited for him at the time, nor had he seen Ms. Crawford face, watching him leave the gym. Kevin might have wondered over that smile but thankfully he hadn't seen it.
Ms. Crawford rarely smiled. She did so this time looking at the slip and the name she held as she made a mental note to jot down a comment and leave it in Abby Clifton's in-box. There are good days and bad days, Ms. Crawford mused. Ms. Crawford's day had suddenly turned into a good day.
Ms. Crawford also decided to get tickets for this Summer's Play when it opened. She knew Abby and what Abby planned for her next play, and with any luck that young man would be Abby's newest little girl.
Beginning Theater was the class, and Kevin's Summer was now filled. His instructor, according to the registration form, was a woman named Ms. Abby Clifton. He'd satisfied his aunt's concerns and went to bed, the night before school, and at least happy about that. Kevin woke early cussing even that part since he should be spending his Summer sleeping in late.
Kevin met Ms. Abby Clifton like the rest of the class that morning of the first day. Ms. Clifton greeted Kevin, as she did everyone, warmly, happily, and with a great deal of enthusiasm as they filed in. Too happy given the hour. They were meeting on the stage of the school's theater.
"Welcome. Welcome everyone," Ms. Abby Clifton said.
She smiled at each of them, but it was Kevin that fostered the widest part of her smile. Kevin, Abby mused, would definitely be cast as her Transsexual baby girl. Ms. Crawford, as always, had been right about the cute little Freshmen named Kevin when she'd left Abby that note.
Ms. Abby Clifton seemed very excited that Kevin and the rest were even there. Of course she had a right to be happy this Summer. This Summer she was doing her own play, and given the play she was developing she smiled again. Abby was sure it would be one of her best. Now all she had to do was convince these students standing before her of that.
Of course convincing them to play their parts wasn't going to be as difficult as it sometimes was. She knew all of those students either wanted to be there or had to be. In either case they had little choice and if she planned this carefully, by the time they discovered what roles they'd have it would be too late to change classes or back out of it.
Kevin, meanwhile, like the rest, smiled back at his new teacher, only Kevin did so without sharing the warmth of Ms. Clifton's smile or the other students. Kevin, also like the rest of his fellow students, didn't know that Abby was about to trample on a good portion of their pride, a great deal of their ego, and every bit of their dignity. Trample much of it right into the ground and all the while that smile.
"Hi, I'm Madden... Madden Madison. Isn't this about as exciting as it gets," the girl standing next to Kevin asked as she extended her hand.
Kevin, drifting off again realized that the girl standing next to him had said something.
"What," Kevin asked, but adding quickly, "sorry, I was somewhere else just then."
"I'd said hi, and that I am Madden Madison," Madden said keeping her hand out.
Kevin, not wishing to blow his first impression with this cute girl, who clearly seemed as enthusiastic as the teacher, smiled, extended his hand and said, "Hi. Kevin. Kevin Marks and yes, this should really be fun."
"OK class, settle down," Ms. Clifton said, but smiling, as she moved to the center of the theater's stage as she added, "lots to cover."
The class, along with Kevin and Madden went quiet and faced the teacher once again.
"First the schedule..." Ms. Clifton said looking at her binder. She flipped a page, paused and nodded to herself.
Ms. Clifton began by explaining the schedule: Class would run from June 20 to August 20. Nine weeks at three days per week. Those days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays would be split into two halves.
Classes would begin from 9:00 o'clock in the morning to 11:30 mid morning for the first half. The second half would start up at 1:00 o'clock and run to 3:30 in the afternoon. They would have a hour and a half for lunch.
Kevin calculated the weeks, days and time in his head as he stood there listening. Nine weeks of five hour days for three days a week. That was fifteen hours of class per week. Hours and hours of agony not counting homework. Homework, Kevin mused, trying to decide what sort of homework there was in theater 101.
"Any questions so far," Ms. Clifton asked, pausing till it was clear that no one was going to say anything, as she added, "very well then, lets move on to what we will be doing this Summer:"
Ms. Clifton had let that schedule part sink in, then went on to explain what she expected regarding attendance and grading. Ms. Clifton also promised that by the end of this class everyone would have a working knowledge of what it takes to actually put on a real live stage play.
Ms. Clifton did so with a warning that within this schedule, as tight as it was, there was very little time to waste. She went on to explain that they would build the sets first, have costumes designed and made and then, together, work on the play's dialog.
Kevin wondered if anyone else caught the order of things they would be doing. Ms. Clifton had said they'd build the set first, costumes next, and then work on the play itself. It appeared to Kevin that the order of activities was reversed.
"This is so exciting," Madden said in a whisper after leaning closer to Kevin.
"It really is," Kevin said. He lied and to himself added, 'NOT!'
It sounded tiresome, boring and exacting, Kevin decided, as he stood there looking over his fellow students. Kevin had the notion he was the only one not excited to be there. Kevin had no desire to know what it took to create and put on a stage play and even less desire to act in one.
Kevin and his fellow students, Ms. Clifton said happily, would stage a play from start to finish and do just about all of it with the exception of actually building the theater or bolting down the chairs. That last was suppose to be a joke Ms. Clifton noted. Ms. Clifton didn't seem to notice, nor care, that no one laughed.
It was odd right from the start, Kevin mused. Odd, because their first assignment was to actually build the sets first. Building sets without knowing anything of the play itself seemed kind of weird. Ms. Clifton would not say anything about the play other than it first needed a set.
They needed a set and props, or properties. Those props followed the set design and construction and then the costumes, Ms. Clifton noted. Odd again, Kevin mused.
Very odd, Kevin mused again as he tried understanding how you can build a set without first knowing what to build.
Meanwhile, Ms. Clifton noted, and while they were working on the set, she was also going to get their individual measurements for their costumes. All of the students would be costumed, Ms. Clifton noted.
"Ms. Clifton," Kevin asked holding his hand up.
"Yes, what is your question.... Kevin? It is Kevin isn't it," Ms. Clifton asked.
"Yes ma'am," Kevin said and added, "What sort of costumes will we be wearing?"
"Well Kevin, right now, I'm still working with the designer on that and, to be honest, I'd rather not say till we have settled in on the actual designs first," Ms. Clifton said smiling as she added, "was there anyone else that had a question?"
No one said a word and Kevin realized no one but he seemed to care. Moreover, Ms. Clifton hadn't given him so much as a hint on what their costumes might look like. How can you design a costume without a notion on what the play was about?
"OK then," Ms. Clifton noted when no one responded as she added, "then let's start with our set since that is going to take us through the next three days."
With that said, each of the students were given green shop smocks before Ms. Clifton also showed everyone where the paint and materials were. On a table, behind them, were drawings and pictures that Ms. Clifton pointed out would be guidelines or suggestions on designing the set as they moved first to the supply room.
Ms. Clifton was everywhere helping everyone with the task she had assigned to each. Kevin and those same two boys Kevin started with, began making a simple one by two inch framing for the muslin they would be painting. The frame was a standard construction, according to Ms. Clifton, to take and hold the painted cloth the other students were working on.
There was going to be three separate backdrops as walls, with one designed with a window. There would be two wings built, one for either side of the stage with the one on the right having a door. Several students began painting the muslin with a base white color before the design was to begin.
Ms. Clifton, as everyone began working, began to explain about the 'what' they were working on and 'why'.
"OK everyone, you are actually working on the setting of a theater performance. The setting, beginning with these backdrops, provides an immediate atmosphere for the actors to bring their story to life," Ms. Clifton said as the students hammered and painted.
"What do you mean by atmosphere," a girl named Susan asked.
"Atmosphere is actually that setting... Quite literally it 'sets' the tone of the play. Illusion is in the vision so our attention to detail is important, but that setting is first. First because you've got to set the illusion for the audience, then set the scene," Ms. Clifton said.
"Scenes," that same girl asked.
"Scenes! You've got to establish what scenes are needed for your production. You want to create scenes that have the best possible effect on the audience. The scene gives your audience a glimpse of the world that you as the characters will inhabit," Ms. Clifton said and added, "in this case we are designing a pre-school."
"A pre-school," Terry, another student, repeated.
"A pre-school. On the design table... the one I've set up, are interior images of various pre-schools and day care centers to give us an idea of what an audience is going to expect to see," Ms. Clifton said moving the students to the images she had sitting on a table.
Everyone moved to that table and those images as Ms. Clifton added, "Remember, the background is the largest part of the set and you generally want it painted to create the illusion of rooms or open spaces. In this case we want the audience to get the impression of standing against an opposite wall just inside of that pre-school."
Abby noted by way of pointing to some examples of walls as she began handing out the images she was referring to.
Another boy pushed a paint cart out with brushes in a can.
Abby moved to the paint, lifted a one gallon can and said, "the most widely used paint for scenery is casein, a water-based paint that can be cleaned up with soap and water. As you begin to paint the backdrops, I want you to consider what a pre-school might look like, then design it and paint it, so consider both your base colors and trims."
Kevin took hold of a work table, along with Chuck and two other boys, then everyone, under the direction of Abby, began working. Ms. Clifton insisted everyone call her Abby, who pointed out what materials were needed and the names of the items they were to use. It wasn't nearly as boring as Kevin had imagined as he begin cutting the soft one by two inch pine for the first frames to become walls.
An hour went by, two and the first brake came then. Kevin and the others had fashioned the three frames for the background, and a few more had started painting the muslin. The muslin, now a base white, would be attached by staples to the frame. They were like giant canvases.
The details would be painted on after the base dried. Over that white they were taught how to simulate wood for a door with the walls now in primary colors. Everyone had questions about what the play was about still, but Abby clearly wasn't saying.
Kevin thought it odd again and he was sure everyone else did as well. Abby did add that those measurements, the ones for their costumes, would be taken by a seamstress. They were working within the second part of the class when that seamstress, Rose, arrived.
The woman, Rose, arrived and within half an hour had taken all of the measurements. She did this individually and behind a partition but even clothed it was still unnerving. No one bothered to ask about the costumes since it was clear Abby wasn't going to share her reasons just yet.
In no time, Abby noted reassuringly, everyone would have an idea of what those costumes would look like. Again Abby was vague about those particulars saying only that their costumes would come soon enough.
Abby, also promised, and this came with a smile, that no one would be required to get naked. Another joke, Abby noted laughing, but that actually was a relief shared by everyone there, although again no one laughed.
Everyone did laugh when it came time to decorate the back wall beginning with each student doing a finger painting of their own to decorate the walls with. Free standing shelves on rollers were brought in and toys, as basic props, were added.
The two wings would be finished tomorrow, Abby said, and by the end of that class the stage would be more or less set. With the back wall done after adding alphabet letters and numbers, they had a pretty good imitation of a pre-school or day care center.
Everyone left with a growing feeling of camaraderie after working almost the full five hours on the sets. That following day everyone was at least nodding to each other warmly when class started and it started with some additional props. Cute props one of the girls noted although that wasn't shared by the boys.
Most of the additional props consisted of a couple of low tables and some short chairs already in the property room. Those matched in color with storage bins holding toys.
Toddler toys, as well as a couple of mock up toddler toys they made out of foam board. Adult size toddler toys like a Tiny Tikes car and wagon they had to fashion with only one side, the side facing the audience, finished.
The boys pretty much ignored the dolls and stuffed animals that came out towards the end of the day. They ignored them until Abby handed Kevin a large Patti Play Pal doll to dress. Most of the dolls were the large, life size, or toddler size, dolls at nearly three feet tall and all of the stuffed animals were just as big.
When Kevin protested, a little, over dressing a doll, Abby only smiled and said, "there are no gender barriers in her class!"
With Kevin's protest put aside, but still with a bit of a grumbling on his part, he put his doll Patti in panties, a slip and pink dress from a box of little girl clothes. Another guy, that guy named Chuck, was given the task of tying ribbons into bows. Bows Chuck discovered that went around the necks of several large teddy bears.
By the end of class on Wednesday they had a decent looking set filled with props, toys, dolls and teddy bears that added the detail Abby was looking for. They all stood off the stage looking at a very cute version of a toddler's place. It really was a fairly convincing image of a day care center but now in an adult's size.
With the third class day nearly over and most of the set done everyone worked on lighting and what Abby called their marks. Their marks or locations was tape on the floor marking positions of the actors for the audiences sake. She showed them where center stage was. Stage right, left and back were also marked.
No matter what the questions though, there was still no real discussions or answers from Abby on the play itself. Other students, besides Kevin were growing almost as concerned.
Abby's agenda that first day of the second week, she noted right at the start of class, was to gather a background for the play itself. The background information, she noted, would give them each a sense of what Abby was hoping to achieve.
It was an easy day, Abby noted, and set aside mostly to watch two videos. One movie before lunch, another after. It was going to be necessary background, Abby noted, and relative to how her play would be crafted.
It was Tuesday and the whole day was set aside for those two videos. They would then spend an entire day on Wednesday discussing them. For the most part Kevin's panic was lessoned by the relative ease of not doing anything but watching movies.
Abby also wanted, as part of their homework, to review other plays. Plays she'd formed into a synopsis for each as handouts. Plays that focused on two very different but very strong concepts emphasizing what she called a singular setting.
That singular setting she noted would be like the one she planned. Kevin took his handout as did the others noting he was looking at an overview of Death of a Salesman and The Glass Menagerie. Both plays, Abby again noted, was going to form the basis of her own. Her play, she emphasized, would be strong on characters, linear and have a clear beginning and end.
Meanwhile there were the two movies to watch. Everyone found a chair and sat waiting for the first movie as Abby pushed the video tape into the player below the large TV.
"OK, this first movie is called the Breakfast Club and was released in 1985. It was directed by John Huges. The Breakfast Club, if you have never seen the movie, is about five uniquely different students forced to spend a full Saturday together, under detention, within the confines of their school's library," Abby noted as the tape started.
Kevin wasn't sure when or if he'd seen the movie but Madden remembered it as they shifted comfortably into their chairs.
As the movie began with the sound down Abby noted, "the entire script is written with the dialog and interactions, as the focus. All of it between five students: Allison is played by Ally Sheedy, who is a weirdo; Brian played by Anthony Michael Hall is a nerd; John, played by Judd Nelson, is a criminal; Claire is played by Molly Ringwald, who is a prom queen type; and Andy, the last boy, is played by Emilio Estevez, a jock."
Abby emphasized the actors as the opening title began still without sound. She paused a moment before adding, "At first, as the play unfolds, they are quiet, withdrawn and slightly antagonistic or indifferent towards each other. However, as the day progresses, they start talking and learn that behind their stereotypical exteriors, they are all pretty much the same. What is so remarkable about this movie is that the entire time is spent within that library - that singular setting."
The movie took them to their first break. It wasn't a bad movie Kevin thought as he stood to stretch. He went off by himself for lunch spending the rest of his time under a large elm near the theater. He merged with the rest of the class a few minutes after lunch ended.
"Now for the second movie," Abby said changing tapes after everyone returned from lunch and was seated.
Abby slipped the tape in but didn't hit the play button as she said, "this second video is Look Who's Talking and was released in 1988. It was Directed by Amy Heckerling. Look Who's Talking is a comedy staring a baby named Micky. A baby boy, but with Bruce Willit's adult voice."
"Remember that," Abby noted smiling. Abby paused a moment then added, "Baby Micky's mother Mollie is played by Krstie Alley. The third person and another significant actor is a cab driver named James Ubriacco, played by John Travolta. James, who the baby hopes and who ultimately becomes his father, is really the focus. The movie is done in a somewhat witty, cute and predictable way but the concept itself makes it very unique."
Again everyone sat quietly as the movie began. Both movies brought them to the end of that day. What had everyone actually talking, at the end of that second movie, wasn't so much the movies themselves, but why those two movies? They were very different genres. One was a drama, and the other a comedy, and neither seemed to have anything in common with the other.
Abby would not give an inch on any of their questions, nor hint at what she planned, but she did promise that by tomorrows class they would know. Meanwhile, Abby noted, they were more than welcome and even encouraged to speculate.
They did speculate among themselves and that began right after Tuesday's class. There were hints beginning with the backdrops and props. Good hints given that it was designed for toddlers and that fit the context of a baby in Look Who's Talking. When they began to fold in the context of The Breakfast Club format it was kind of easy to begin seeing what the play might or could be like.
Obviously it was about toddlers. Toddlers in a day care center and most likely, since there was no prop or background changes, it would always be 'in' the day care center.
Speculation on every one's part obviously, but it seemed to fit in an odd sort of way. Abby, it was decided, was going to have toddlers spending their day learning about each other in much the same way as those teens did in the movie The Breakfast Club.
Since it was toddler's, played by adults, then it was most likely going to be something similar to that baby Micky with Bruce Willit's voice. No one was really sure of the details or how that would work in their play, but it was clear they had a handle on at least a concept.
Abby asked about their speculations and ideas after they settled in for class that Wednesday morning. She was smiling as those speculations were voiced. She also said that they were pretty much right, making those that were convinced on what it would be, before then, smile.
Abby also promised an overview before everyone would get into our costumes which, Abby noted, were now ready and scheduled to arrive that very day. Offering an overview seemed odd only because they thought they now had a handle on the play. Although it was kind of exciting in some ways watching this come together and being part of it, Kevin thought.
As boring as it had first appeared, putting a play together, from the ground up, was definitely challenging and interesting in some ways. Unfortunately Kevin's excitement, along with everyone else, would end very abruptly when the costumes arrived. They had a hint of what they would be wearing not too long after Abby began to outline the play and their parts in it.
Again, they had been mostly right about what they thought the play would be. They would indeed be playing their individual parts as toddlers, and it would indeed be focused mostly on dialogs. Dialogs and those interactions between those toddlers, played by adults, and very much like it was in The Breakfast Club.
What Abby added to her confirmation was a short profile of those toddlers themselves, but not before noting that the play would be very allegorical. The toddlers she noted, but didn't say flatly, would be representative of our society at large. Each toddler was, in fact, going to represent a very well defined segment of that society.
Abby wanted the audience to smile first, perhaps laugh a little but, most important of all, take a message home with them when the play ended. Abby also wanted their very best from them, she said. Abby mentioned that last part, she said, because she wanted everyone to take seriously their roles, as odd as they might seem at first.
The fact that Kevin had never acted before was what prompted his question and concern over what Abby expected as his very best, since giving his very best seemed impossible. Abby assured Kevin, as she did with all of them, that they were going to start learning that part next and would know it when the time came.
Kevin sat there as quietly as everyone else did while Abby talked, but it was clear now or at least becoming clear what their individual roles would be, or might be. Kevin also realized they would be dressing as toddlers trying to imagine what toddlers wore. Kevin was not thrilled over the prospects of some of those images as he sat there.
Then it struck him...
It struck him full in the face as he looked to see if anyone else might be getting it. It was so obvious suddenly and that scared Kevin even more. Abby had delayed this whole part of the process on purpose. She had held back on what their roles would be so there was no backing out.
They had been had, Kevin realized, given the amount of time that had passed. Abby was pretty cleaver in that regard, Kevin noted. Kevin, as he sat there thinking on it, was sure of it.
Enough time, in building the sets and props and watching those movies, had passed that if anyone, including Kevin, dropped out now it would count as an incomplete and not a withdrawal. Not exactly an "F" for fail, but almost as bad. The fact that she needed this small bit of an edge, or insurance, as it were, suddenly made Kevin wonder some and then worry more.
Kevin worried and wondered even more when Abby began announcing the breakout of the players. Of the sixteen students in class, Abby had picked six for the principle or lead roles. Two others, both female, would play their roles as the day care center guardians. The rest of the students, girls, would be cast as background toddlers and mothers or fathers of toddlers coming and going.
Kevin's heart skipped a beat when Abby announced who those six were. For those key roles there was Kevin, Mark, Chuck, Madden, Susan and Carol. Kevin, along with the other five, would be those principle toddlers. The particular roles for each hadn't yet been fully dialogued, Abby noted, but soon would be, she promised.
Kevin grew more worried as Abby noted that he and the other five she identified needed to remain while the rest were excused for the remainder of their class day. Abby noted that they, those six remaining, would be costumed first with the rest costumed by the end of next class.
That is when they met Ms. Rose Baker, the seamstress, once again. They met her as Abby welcomed her along with a girl named Tina. Tina, much younger than Rose, was introduced as Ms. Rose's assistant.
"This is making me nervous," Kevin said.
"Me too a little," Madden noted but slightly more happy over the mystery.
Kevin, at least, had every right to be nervous as that seamstress, Ms. Rose Baker, began bringing in the outfits. They were on hangers. Kevin did smile suddenly. The costumes were on a rack and you simply had to smile. Kevin clearly was not nearly as nervous as he imagined the girls must be given the dresses hanging on the portable wheeled rack Rose pushed in.
Behind Rose, pushing a cart, was that girl Tina and then Kevin's heart froze. Between the rack and that cart it was obvious this was not going to be cool at all. It wasn't just dresses on the racks that bothered him because those were not towels on that cart.
Kevin wasn't the only one caught by surprise over what was on that cart, because they all heard the word diapers whispered in surprise by someone off to Kevin's left. On the rack were those toddler clothes. On the cart clearly the baby side of those clothes. There were overalls and what looked to be shortalls as well as those cute little dresses.
Toddler clothing, Kevin mused, but in adult sizes and that was obvious given those were 'their' costumes. Kevin didn't think anyone had thought about what a toddler might wear including what went under those outfits. Watching Rose and her assistant Tina setting up partitions and unpacking made it all too clear what toddlers wore and it was becoming more agonizing as they did so.
Abby now had everyone's undivided attention and nearly all of them, including Kevin, were in a full panic. Those few minutes it took watching the stuff those two women laid out fostered a shocked silence and in that silence Abby began to talk about the characters.
"Your individual roles are going to be based on, for one thing, gender. Gender types or, more accurately, stereotypes. Stereotypes, gender definitions and, of course, gender orientation. Each toddler, in this case each of you, will be representing those extreme, often misunderstood, stereotypes found within society and, most often, outside the norms of society," Abby said before pausing.
No one spoke.
"So, based on that concept, there is going to be a straight male toddler. A straight male toddler, who is macho and homophobic to a fault. Beside him, but opposite, will also be a straight female toddler and a feminist to the extreme. In addition to those two there is going to be a gay male and gay female toddler," Abby said pausing for those to sink in.
She allowed a few minutes to pass.
"Next, and last but not least, will be our two Transisional toddlers. Transisional as in Transsexuals. One of those toddlers is what we call a MTF or male to female transsexual toddler, and playing counter to her, a FTM or female to male transsexual toddler," Abby said happily.
"You mean him," Kevin noted for no other reason than it sounded odd.
"Did you have a question," Abby asked.
"You called that male to female her. Isn't he still a he," Kevin asked.
"Good question Kevin. The answer is yes and no. Physically the male to female transsexual is still the same gender, male, but as a transsexual they identify with the opposite sex so, in the male to female transsexual he actually believes he's a she and therefore prefers being called a she," Abby said and added, "as does the female to male who prefers being called a he."
Kevin looked at Madden and she him. He tried to imagine Madden gay or butch if she was that FTM and couldn't. Madden, of course was looking at Kevin and wondering that very same thing as well.
'He'd make a cute little girl,' Madden decided.
Two straight toddlers, two gay toddlers and two transsexual toddlers. Six toddlers all together, Abby noted, which of course, required three males and three females, which, coincidentally, mapped into their group perfectly. Everyone began to take glances at each other. Everyone was wondering which character would be which person.
"Say, I just thought of something," Madden said.
"What," Kevin asked.
"One of those dresses is for a boy," Madden said in a kind of half whisper to Kevin.
"What," Kevin asked in a slight panic as he went over Abby's list in his mind.
"Kevin, if I am hearing Abby correctly, one of those dresses could very well be for the boy playing that male to female toddler. Which also means that the girl playing the female to male will be the one wearing pants," Madden said.
"No way," Kevin said.
"It makes more sense," Madden said.
"Not really... OK, look, there are three girls and three dresses," Kevin said feeling his mouth drying. Kevin began to realize, in that instant Abby told them what the individual roles would be, that one of them, one of the boys, would be playing a girl.
It was only wishful thinking on his part that he was wrong. One of the boys would be playing a straight, another a gay with one of them playing that transsexual male to female toddler.
"OK," Madden said deciding not to push it.
Kevin would know soon enough as would the boy Abby picked to play that part. Madden smiled casually as she decided that Kevin really would make the cutest girl of those three boys.
Kevin kept his eyes glued on Abby. None of the other boys, like Chuck, made eye contact with any of the other boys. It was clear they were thinking about which of them would end up being that transsexual and, if one of those dresses was his, which dress would it be.
As Abby was giving them that overview, she was clearly setting them up for their assignments or those roles. Rose, meanwhile, with her assistant Tina, were setting up curtains. Those curtains draped from a portable set of racks which was obviously there for them to get into their costumes.
Kevin counted, in desperation again, the outfits on that rack and he did that a number of times. No matter how many times he did so there were still three dresses. What made Kevin suddenly feel better was that there were only three dresses and only three girls. The dresses had to be for the girls he decided.
Being a transsexual didn't necessarily mean a dress, Kevin mused, and that thought helped. For slightly longer than an instant he was relieved over those numbers of dresses matching the number of girls.
If one of them, one of the boys, was going to be wearing a dress there would be four dresses. Four dresses would for sure suggest that he or one of the other guys would be wearing a dress, but there was only three dresses.
'Please, please, please make that so,' Kevin mused.
Madden was clearly wrong, Kevin also mused, and with some amount of relief. Relief short lived though because, Chuck, the guy sitting on the other side of Kevin, also mentioned the not so obvious.
"One of those dresses has got to be for one of us guys," Chuck whispered in a panic.
"Damn," Chuck said.
"What," Kevin asked, since Chuck had clearly meant it for Kevin to hear.
"Don't you get it? One of the girls is going to be playing a female to male transsexual - a boy," Chuck noted but now more to himself than to Kevin.
"What are you saying," Kevin asked.
"Look, there are three girls in our group," Chuck said and added, "and one of those girls is a female to male transsexual. One of these girls is going to be playing the part of a boy! Boys, even pretend boys, don't wear dresses."
"Damn," Chuck said again under his breath.
"Damn is right," Kevin said. Obviously Chuck was right. If that girl, whoever played that girl, was going to be a FTM then she was a girl dressing as a boy. That particular girl wouldn't be needing one of those dresses. That left one spare dress.
Kevin's heart sank as he reworked that bit of logic out. Not only were they going to be wearing diapers, and by the looks of those they were very thick, but baby pants besides. Baby pants of all things. Only that was the least of it because in one guy's case, one of them, there was going to be in a dress as well.
Diapers, baby pants and a dress? Kevin was sure he wasn't the only one thinking hard about taking that "incomplete" they would get if we dropped out. Mark, the boy on the other side of Chuck, clearly wanted to get up and walk right then and there and even whispered it.
To hell with this class, Kevin mused, but in another thought, there was his aunt. Kevin had already been overruled about Summer school anyway.
He'd been overruled because he was going to be short those units going into his Freshman year without it. They had already had that argument soon after it became clear Kevin would be missing a class beginning as a Freshman.
Kevin's aunt had also made it clear, very clear, but in the kindest sort of way, that if he walked away from this class, any class for that matter, or dropped out of Summer School, Kevin was going to be pretty much on his own as far she was concerned. She saw no reason to support him, she'd said, if he wasn't willing to at least do his part and keep up with school.
"Damn," Kevin whispered loud enough for Madden to hear.
"What," Madden said.
"One of those guys is going to have to wear a dress," Kevin said.
"You mean one of you guys," Madden said.
"OK, so one of us guys is going to have to wear a dress," Kevin said gritting his teeth.
"Told you so," Madden said.
"OK, so you're right. It's still a one in three chance it's not me," Kevin said.
"Hope it's you," Madden said.
"WHAT," Kevin said loud enough to get attention from a couple of the students. He went silent and those looking turned back watching the seamstress as Kevin asked, "why would you say that?"
"That's easy, you'll make a cuter girl than those other two," Madden said in a whisper and smiling.
"My ego thanks you very much," Kevin said.
"It's true, like it or not, and if I was casting the part, you'd get it," Madden said smiling, but slightly mischievously or so it seemed.
"Great," Kevin said and added, "and do me a favor... keep your opinion to yourself."
Madden smiled and nodded an understanding yes.