Monday, March 9, 2009

Pandora and the Box

When I was 11, my fifth grade put on a play, "Pandora," the ancient Greek story of how the seven deadly sins and hope came into the world. And wouldn't you know it--I was cast in the part of Pandora! That's the first time I ever remember being sooo excited for something.

I remember bits and pieces from that show.

The main song, simply called "Pandora" went like this:

"Pandora, Pandora, the gifted one.
The fairest, the brightest beneath the sun.
Pandora, Pandora, while you're at play,
Tomorrow (either "not far away" or "another day")"

During this song, I wore a bright pink toga and did an interpretive dance with long strands of thick yarn. I was kind of chunky and I bet I was quite the sight. But I loved it. I got to dance and twirl around while everyone else sang about how perfect I was.

During one practice, Leslie, a trouble-makin' kind of girl came up from backstage and when the teacher told her to go back, she reported that Aaron McMillan had punched Andrew in the face. That ended that rehearsal super quick.

I quickly developed a crush on my "husband," Prometheus, played by the super cute Kenny. He was a little chunky too and I thought we made such a cute couple! We did our little kid flirting and had fun tossing the fake fruit at each other. He wore a bright blue toga.

In this play, Pandora is given a gift from the gods--a box. She has no idea what's in it and is forbidden to open it. She holds out for a while, but inevitably gives in to temptation and opens the box. Alas, furies come pouring out of the box, followed by the seven deadly sins. For those of you who don't know what a fury is, picture this: about 15 fifth graders dressed in dark colors who look like bats running around, howling. That's a fury. And the seven deadly sins are avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. I remember a little of their theme song too:

"Gluttony fills you up so full, there's no room left for you!
And lust is just a must for you when there's nothing else to do."

We didn't understand that then, but now I think it's pretty funny! Thankfully, after all these evils have been let into the world, Hope emerges from the box as well and sings a pretty song, too.

The best part about everything coming out of the box was how tricky we were. We had a giant wooden box that you could probably fit two or three kids in, but that wasn't going to be enough to fit a whole bunch of furies, seven sins, and hope! So, we pulled out the big tricks. The box didn't have a back and was placed right up against the backdrop, which had a hole in it. So all the things coming out of the box waited behind the curtain, and then snuck through the hole and out through the box. Being the mighty fifth graders we were, all the younger kids thought we were amazing, and asked us repeatedly how everybody fit in that box! That was the great secret of our grade.

I was so proud of myself for that performance and so disappointed that my family didn't get a video camera until the summer after. Looking back, that probably wasn't such a bad thing. It would have been the perfect blackmail video.

There was one little incident that nicely ties up this memory. The following summer my family was at the public pool, and I was swimming around, enjoying myself, when one of the kids from my grade started teasing me about being Pandora. For once in my life, I didn't let his teasing hurt me at all, and I was even able to whip out a witty "Is that the best you can do?" right before I turned around and swam oh-so-gracefully away. I sure put him in his place! :)

So that's the story of Pandora. Yes, life was great then.


Anonymous said...

What a fun memory! That line about lust is hilarious. The things we do and say when we're young... haha!

In elementary school, I landed one of the made-up roles in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The play was put on by our entire class, so they had to make up parts for the kids who weren't that dramatically talented, like myself. I don't remember much about that play, other than my mom made me a super cute pioneer dress and my single line was, "Don't make us go, Miss Virginia!" Aside from that, I got nothing.

Anonymous said...


You don't know me (at least, I don't think so) but I was googling for those lyrics I remembered and found your post. You see, my fifth grade class did this play too (I was Lust). But I can't find any record of the show anywhere - who wrote it, etc. I remember it was pretty good and published so a record of it ought to exist!