The Drum Show
The last time I was down at Epcot with the boys, we were lucky enough to be near the Japan pavilion when the drum show started. The drum show is a great performance. The drummers (usually three of them) stand on the porch of the drum tower and perform on huge drums. They’re in costume, of course, and standing on the porch of the drum tower. The tower is made of stone and wood, and looks very much like something out of a picture book of ancient Japan. The whole effect is spectacular.
As they play, an audience gathers around the base of the drum tower, looking up to watch the drummers perform. Wide stone steps lead up to the porch the performers are standing on, but everyone understands not to go up the steps. There are gardens on either side of the steps, and the base of the tower itself is stone.
It’s a truly enjoyable show. The drums (and drumsticks) are so large that the drummers use their whole bodies to play them, leaning this way and that in a highly stylized dance. Whenever we’re lucky enough to see it, we stop and watch.
This last time, however, I was having trouble. C (the five year old) really wanted to climb the stairs. I didn’t let him, of course, but ended up compromising with him: he could sit on the bottom stair with some of the other kids. That worked well for me. His little brother and I could sit a little ways back and watch the peformance, and I could easily keep an eye on him.
Halfway through the performance, N stood up in my lap and pointed over my shoulder to some people in the crowd. “Why are they so sad, Daddy? Why are they so sad?”
I turned around to see where he was pointing. Sure enough, there was a family standing there, looking positively glum. I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
That wasn’t good enough. He pushed my face back to looking at them. “Why, Daddy? Why?”
“Um…maybe they’re just tired.” I said, trying to look back.
That still wasn’t good enough for him. “But why?”
I decided to fall back on my old standby: the distraction. “Look!” I said. “Look at the drummers!”
As I pointed, I realized that my oldest was no longer on the stairs. I looked around quickly – in a mild panic – and spotted him. He had pushed through the bushes and was scaling the base of the tower, climbing up to where the drummers were drumming. In fact, he was about halfway up the wall, looking around for another handhold. The other kids on the stairs were ignoring the show and watching him. Much of the crowd was also.
I ran forward and pulled him off. “But why?” He said, outraged. “I wasn’t going up the steps! You said I couldn’t go up the steps!”
I shushed him and dragged him and his brother back to where we’d been sitting on the sidewalk.
My youngest immediately chimed in again, pointing back at the glum family. “Look, Daddy! They’re not sad anymore! They’re laughing! They’re laughing! And – and they’re looking at us! Hi! Hi!”