When we go to kindergarten, our mothers and fathers go to work.
My twin sister Jill says that going to kindergarten is the work children do.
All our friends have seen where their parents work except for us, the only twins in kindergarten.
Once, the teacher asked all the children to tell about their parents' jobs.
Michelle's father is a baker. In his bakery, she kneaded dough and baked sesame seed rolls for all the children in kindergarten.
Johnny's mother works in a bank. Johnny spent a whole day hunting for a treasure of gold coins, but all he found in the bank were long lines of impatient people.
Laurie said her father is the mayor's assistant and then she whispered a secret in my ear. She said being the mayor's assistant was the most boring job in the whole world. All he does is talk on his cellular phone and make promises.

Then it was our turn.
The teacher asked, "Jill and Tim, what kind of work does your father do?"
We answered together: "Daddy goes to the theater every day," and Jill explained that the theater is where they put on plays.
"What kind of work is that?" asked Michelle, whose father is a baker.
"Our father works days and nights too," we said, half proudly, half sadly.
Johnny, whose mother works in a bank, asked, "What do we need the theater for?"
We couldn't answer.
If Daddy would take us to work with him, we would know the answer.
We kept on pestering Daddy to take us to work with him. He tried to get out of it. He said the theater wasn't interesting in the morning, only at night. But we had to grow up some more for a night at the theater, he said.
Why do we have to wait till we're old and gray to go to the theater?


The minute we entered the theater, people bombarded Daddy with questions and complaints. One man shouted that his name on the billboard was too small. A woman grumbled that the part of the mute was not a leading role because she didn't have a single word to say. Daddy was suddenly impatient, and he ran up the stairs two at a time. He sat us down in the cafeteria and said, "Wait for me here in the green room." Then he disappeared. Jill and I didn't understand why he called that place the green room. There was nothing really green about it.
A witch came into the cafeteria and ordered a cup of coffee with two saccharines. For a minute, we were scared. She had a long, crooked nose and she was ugly. Instead of a broom, she waved a check around and shouted that she deserved more money. A king followed her in, saying "My kingdom for a salami on rye," and told them to add it to his bill. A knight with his sword drawn, wearing sneakers, sat down to play checkers with the witch. He argued with the king about yesterday's applause. The knight said that the important thing was the audience went home happy. "The audience," said Jill, finishing her Coke in one gulp, "that's probably the most important job in the theater."
Could our father be the audience?


Daddy, where are you? We were now at the scene store.
We peeked between velvet sofas, across desert sands, under Japanese mats, behind a bombed-out wall and inside a kitchen that had a refrigerator and microwave oven. We jumped over ice blocks from the North Pole and bumped into a toilet you couldn't pee into because it wasn't connected to any pipes.
"What a mess!" I said.
"The executive producer keeps track of things," Princess Cordelia assured us. She almost knew her lines by heart now.
"And what if you forget everything, or if you're sick and can't act?" Jill asked.
Princess Cordelia said she had an understudy in the company who could go on in her place. But she would do anything to make sure no one else played her role. Even if she had a high fever or a stomach ache, during war or peace, she would go on stage. "The show must go on," theater people always say.

"So why do people put on plays, Jill?"
"Who needs the theater anyway, Tim?"
I didn't know what we would tell Michelle, our kindergarten friend whose father is a baker.
We need bakers to bake bread. We need banks to guard our money, and we even need a mayor's assistant to make promises instead of the mayor. But what would happen if we didn't have theaters?
The audience would be out of a job.
What a shame!

Translated from Hebrew by Sondra Silverstone.

Book illustrations by Avner Katz

Avner Katz (Born in 1939 in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel near Jerusalem) graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts in Jerusalem in 1959. During the 1960s he studied etching in London. Katz's achievements in visual art, illustration, teaching, and the media are numerous: over the years he has staged more than 30 solo exhibitions, illustrated over 200 books for children and adults, designed book covers and record sleeves, and created illustrations for the press; he has written satirical columns, taught in several academic institutions, was awarded international prizes, and participated in many exhibitions in Israel and abroad.

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