I am not allowed to tell you this
Right. So, the "Changeling Child" is an optional part when producing"Midsummer." The child doesn't have any lines, and since kids are notoriously hard to work with onstage, many directors choose to let the characters just refer to him (he's a boy) and avoid casting the part at all. Sometimes, though, a director who's very brave and/or has a particular kid on hand to show off will include the part and have the Changeling Child show up with Titania in one or two scenes.
So. Let's just say someone has a friend whose job is teaching teenagers to perform Shakespeare over the summer. And that friend has a kid, so he casts her as the Changeling Child in his group's performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." But his kid is only not-quite-five, and gets tired of doing all the performances, so he calls his friends--let's call them the Beeland family--and asks if their daughter would like to fill in as the Changeling Child for a few performances. The parents, like most, are stage parents at heart and are thrilled! The child, who has a dramatic bent anyway--let's call her, oh, Water Sprite Child--is also quite excited. Her parents find a terrific picture-book verson of "Midsummer" and read it to her several times, at her request, until she understands the plot. Her mom takes her to see the first performance so they can watch her friend and see what the part entails, and she says she thinks she can do it.
Then, a few weeks later, on the morning when she's supposed to perform, this anonymous child--oh, the hell with it: Mermaid Girl flipped out and was struck with terror. We pleaded, we reasoned, we guilt-tripped, all to no avail. She cried and cried and insisted that she hadn't seen it enough times, she would do something wrong onstage and that she couldn't, just couldn't, do it. The director would have to find someone out or leave the part out altogether. We were insistent that she had to do it; for our own selfish reasons (not wanting to let down a friend we'd made a commitment to; wanting to see our child onstage) as well as For Her Own Good (because if she backs down every time she gets scared, her fears will just get stronger).
Finally, RW said: look, you don't have to take our word that you can do it well enough; just go to the rehearsal before the show, and let the director decide. He's been doing this for a long time, and if he doesn't think you can do it well enough, he won't put you on. It's not your decision or even ours; it's his. Also, we pointed out that since the director's daughter wasn't available that morning, MG was the person who knew the part best--certainly much better than some random kid pulled out of the audience--even if she didn't feel she knew it perfectly.
So, we went to the park where the performance was, and the second she met the actress playing Titania, she was fine. More than fine: totally entranced. They ran through the part a couple of times, and then she went off with Titania and the fairies until her scene, which came early in the play. And she did great job, romping with Titania for a minute and then cowering under her skirts when Oberon comes on the scene.
Afterwards, I went back to look for her. The performance was outdoors, and "backstage" was just an open area behind the audience, in full view of them. When we went to see the first performance, our friend's daughter had simply gone back to where her grandmother was sitting, stripped off her costume without any fanfare, and curled up to take a nap. We'd assumed that MG would come find us in our seats after her scene, but there was no sign of her.
I found her hanging with Titania and the fairies in the back, still costumed in her purple and gold finery. She shooed me away, hissing "I'm fine, Mommy! Go back to your seat!"
"Well, I have to stay here where I can see you. It's not fair to ask the actors to look after you; they have to go back onstage soon; they have to focus on being actors."
MG drew herself up to her full 46 inches. "I'm an actor'" she said.
She finally agreed to let me stay in back, several feet away, after I explained that even professional child actors have to have someone on-set whose job it is to keep an eye on them.
So. Success! Kvelling. Victory over fear. She's got a couple more performances to go, and she's looking forward to them.
Only, she won't let us tell anyone she's doing them. When my mom called the other day and innocently asked about the acting gig, MG clammed up and handed the phone to me, shooting me dagger looks.
I mentioned it to several people, including the whole internet, before I knew there was an embargo on the information. So, I figure I can give you this follow-up explanation. But if you should happen to run into us in the next week or two: this conversation never happened. Ix-nay on the angeling-chay ild-chay.
But, privately, and just to you: I'm so full of pride, I could plotz.