One Strong Mother
It was freezing cool week in March 2020. The tents for the movie extras were heated with large loud machines piping in warm air from under the side flaps. One tent was filled with people talking loudly and tightly packed in folding chairs. Everyone had brought their luggage for the costume crew the pick from. We were not going to stay in there very long which is a good thing.
The movie we were filming has just come out on Disney +, "Godmothered". Ever since my daughter could walk and talk she was trying to perform. My daughter, Alice (8), was the one who got cast as an extra in the film. I was there as her guardian and overall servant. However, due to the scene design, the director asked if any of the parents were able to hold their child up on their shoulder.
I can carry sheets of lumber, heavy scenic drops, equipment road cases, and 5 gallon paint cans. So, what is one 55 lbs girl, right? I volenteer right away. My first instinct was selfishly due to the fact that I wanted to ensure my daughter was seen by the cameras. They have me sign a release and now I am on board as an extra in the scene too.
She was a trooper. We have done these kinds of filming adventures before. We had a backpack of things to do and some technology to pass the downtime in the tent. We did not remain in the adult tent. They moved the children into a separate tent which had much more room to spread out. We took frequent trips to the hair and make-up tent to get her braids refreshed and grab some of the Kraft service snacks.
(Photo of main character performing on stage. Alice Roy is in the crowd circled with a red highlighter.)
When we were actually on set, we were performed for by talented singers and dancers. I held up Alice on my shoulders, first to one side, and then the other. One of the women who was directed to stand in front of us was very helpful. She would step aside and clear the space for the dismount overtime the director called "cut".
We did this for two 6 hours days. She missed some school. I missed some work. And then the world ended. She still had one more day of filming on her schedule as a kid who rides a bike. That day of filming was cancelled due to the COVID-19 shut down on March 17th. Now, we are watching the movie release from the safety of our living room. We quietly remember what it felt like to be shoulder to shoulder with strangers for hours.
My shoulders were burning but my heart was full. She was alive and thriving. Alice gets to have this memory forever now. The pain in my shoulders went away but this movie will now go on forever. Between this and Little Women, she has quite a nice start into major motion picture making. What will the future of performance look like for me? For her?