We had a great time performing The Princess on a Pea yesterday (despite my cold). As children entered the theater, I let them know that we needed volunteers from the audience and if they wanted to volunteer "just raise your hand." I told that to the first little girl to enter the theater and she raised her hand while I was talking. Every time I walked by, before we even started, she raised her hand. I stopped to talk to her and she said, "I've never been in a play before."
The play starts out with the queen and the prince at the ball. I, as the queen, insist that the prince dance with the princesses in attendance and begin bringing up girls from the audience to dance with him. The little girl who kept raising her hand was first, as Princess Elizabeth. There were two more girls chosen to "dance with the prince." None of them cried (sometimes that happens); each of them answered the prince's questions as they danced.
Later, there are three "foreign" princesses chosen from the audience to meet the prince. They meet him one at a time and each time the queen tells them how to answer his questions, so they "won't be nervous." The first one is supposed to say "yes" to every question. In the past, Chris (who plays the prince) almost always has to help the girl remember what she's supposed to answer because the questions are things like "Did your journey tire you?" The little princess wants to say no even though she's been told to say yes. But the first little girl (and she was little) was right on with her yeses. The second princess, a little older than the first, was to always answer "no" and she did it with flying colors. The third princess answers "what do you think?" and she had the audience laughing.
Now there were some boys in the play too. One played the captain of the ship who sailed the servant (Chris again) to get the foreign princesses. From backstage, I heard the captain say, "we're almost to land." Totally improvised. Audience enjoyed it. The messenger who announced the princesses to the prince was also a boy (he had raised his hand to be one of the foreign princesses but Chris passed him over). As the messenger, he did a great job. He spread his arms and announced "Princess ______," whichever princess it was, very loudly. Loved it.
All the kids were just delightful performers. What fun!