Of course, the play was all just an excuse for playing with the props and costumes. Parents, sitting in the audience, seem to think that their kids sit quietly with their hands in their laps until it’s their cue.

Clearly, they don’t remember what it’s like to be a sixth-grader.

While we kids with bit parts were waiting around, whether it was rehearsal or opening night, we’d break open the backstage stash and engage in a little impromptu roleplaying. The girls liked to giggle and try on various hideous dresses left over from period pieces or long-ago contemporary productions, while the boys were all about the prop guns.

Our school had the great fortune to have put on a lavish version of Guys and Dolls circa 1985, which meant gangster costumes and prop guns galore. Enough fedoras, zoot suits, Tommy guns, and pistols to go around (except for Jimmy, who had to make due with the crossbow from “Wild Geese: The Musical”). Things broke down very much along class lines, with the most popular kids (and therefore the ones with the best roles) doling out goodies as they saw fit.