Monday, October 14, 2013

Star Wars...

...although this post could also be titled 'Beware What You Wish For'.  

I went away for a weekend to Canberra by myself - the audacity of it all, I know.  And whilst I was away, Ted had excitedly requested for his special experience to watch Star Wars.  Two of his closest friends at school love it, he recently attended a party where Darth Vader made an experience (sending Ted crying to the other side of the party where he had to be gently loved and coaxed back and ended up fighting Darth Vader [also known as the party boy's father in costume]), and Ted generally knew about it from the oft-quoted parts of it James had explained through in our day-to-day life.  Yes, did I mention James is in IT? Can you spell stereotype?

So upon my return I was greeted with much excited babble about the Skywalker family.  And with a few other social experiences up my sleeve, it transpired that Ted has now seen all three films.  Now I believe that we had held a sacred parenting vow that the Star Wars movies were not to be screened until after around 7yrs of age.  With the breaking of this vow I mentally prepared myself for the onslaught of lightsaber fights and attacks against evil.

However Ted is not your average consumer of narratives.  He is often transfixed by smaller episodes within larger stories, and prefers to focus on specific characters who aren't necessarily always the protagonist.  And so it has been with Star Wars.

Ted loves Princess Leia. He loves how she and Han Solo have a fiery relationship.  He loves that Luke is her brother.  He loves that she is imprisoned and then broken out by Luke and Han.  He loves that she takes control of her destiny and does away with Jabba.  

And these scenes are to be enacted over...and over...and over again.  On Wednesday of last week I spent a full four hours playing out the Jabba series of events.  The beauty of Ted is that it starts out as a relatively true to form re-enactment and then transforms itself so that by the end of half an hour you find yourself roleplaying a scene where the rubbish collector of Jabba's rubbish collector finding Leia in the rubbish truck and then (luckily) the collector can use his Jedi mind powers to help her escape.  Or something like that. In fact, something very close to that.

Jennie's quilt that she made for Ted has been an invaluable resource in this new adventure into galaxies a long, long time ago.  It has been, at various times, Jabba's stomach, a prison cell, a Jedi robe, the base of the block of carbonite, a bed, the base of a platform, and the exoskeleton of some now-forgotten interstellar animal.

One morning Ted asked me to take some photos of him acting as Princess Leia.  The second one down is him/her frozen in position inside carbonite.


So I really don't think this was quite what James had in mind when he sat down to fulfill a long-held dream of watching Star Wars with his children.  Ted's imagination can turn anything and everything, including a juggernaut of marketing for over 30yrs, into something unexpected.  He has shown no interest in watching it again, has no interest in acquiring any items from the brand of Star Wars (apart from two novels we saw at an op shop), and has progressed in his aggressive play from the dark dark days of Harry Potter to now understand the delicate art of interactive play.

Meanwhile I'm not planning any more weekends away.

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