Monday, April 13, 2009

Humpty Dumpty, the Opera or who needs a shrink when you have Legos?

I was checking email on Saturday when Primo told me it was time for the Humpty Dumpty Opera which he had staged using Legos.

“Great,” I said, “I want front-row seats.”

I wasn’t quite expecting the no-holds-barred session of play therapy which followed. I mean, I know Primo’s feeling jealous of his sister lately, because now, at 2, she’s fully arrived as the life of the party, with a face that could easily launch a thousand ships and a charm that makes Mae West look like an amateur. Not a quiet, slow-burning kind of appeal but instantaneous, addictive can’t-take-you-eyes-off-her power. You think I’m exaggerating? All I have to say is, Primo’s four and five year-old rough-and-tumble boy pals come over to play and within an hour Primo’s crying because no one’s playing with him. They’re all too busy letting Seconda comb their hair and pat their shoulders and tell them they’re her best friend and they look really great and she will miss them.

“I don’t have anyone cute to snuggle with,” said one of Prim’s friends, in his defense.

So I’ve been aware that the green-eyed monster was lurking somewhere in my first-born but not until this weekend, during the one-time-only performance of “Humpty Dumpty: the Opera” did it became obvious. You see, Humpty Dumpty’s not an old child, believe it or not. He has an older brother, a brother who has lived in his shadow all these years, the silent, the name-less brother, of whom no one ever speaks. And on Saturday, I heard his story. Now, dear readers, I share it with you. (Be advised that much of the pathos is lost without the accompanying acapella soundtrack, but you get the idea). .

Humpty Dumpty: the Opera.

Scene 1

Humpty Dumpty’s home, which looks to be in ruins but I think Primo just ran out of steam after building the first wall.

Narrator: Humpty Dumpty’s brother was mad because his mother was too busy feeding Humpty and wasn’t paying any attention to him. So Humpty’s brother told him to go climb up a wall. And Humpty did it.

Scene 2

A thin multi-colored Lego wall nearby. Humpty is sitting on it, but the Legos aren’t locked in. Danger is in the air.

Narrator: He had a great fall. Smash, crash went his shell!

The “Humpty Dumpty’s Great Fall” aria. Piano, pianissimo, FORTE!

Narrator: Then all the king’s horses and all the king’s men came but they couldn’t put him together again.

INTERMISSION (I needed to make a ham sandwich)

Scene 3

Narrator: Humpty’s mommy came and got mad that Humpty was broken. She was so mad that she almost crashed into Humpty to break him even more.

(For the record, I don’t know where he gets this from. When the kids get hurt I always comfort first, yell later.)

She sings the aria. “Don’t Be Sad!” to one of the king’s men, who feels bereft, emasculated, helpless because he couldn’t fix Humpty.

(At this point, I started getting genuinely interested in the action. Heartbroken women who’s lost her child finds the strength to lifts the spirits of others who failed to help? Move over, Arthur Miller).

Narrator: The mommy asked the king’s man to baby-sit Humpty’s brother while she took Humpty to the doctor.

Scene 5

A doctor’s office. Enter Humpty’s Mommy with broken egg in her arms.

Doctor: “I can fix that for you. He has to be stitched up.”

Doctor sings, “Stitch stitch stitch stitch.” Andante.

Scene 6

Humpty’s Mommy returns with repaired Humpty.

King’s Men: “Looks like Humpty is all fixed up, Yay!”

All sing, “We are happy happy happy!”Andagio, andagio!

Festivities begin to celebrate the miraculous recovery. A cake is revealed. But there is one piece of unfinished business. The Mommy turns to Humpty’s Brother.

Humpty’s Mommy: “Never ever tell Humpty to sit on a wall because he will FALL AGAIN!!”

Narrator: Humpty’s brother wanted some cake but the mother said:

Humpty’s Mother: “No no no, it’s all for Humpty, not for anybody else.”


I think my son achieved more catharsis in the fifteen minute Lego Opera than I have in the past five decade of on-again/ off-again therapy. Helluva lot cheaper, too.