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Hissy-Fit Theatre Presents: Dramatic Structure of a Meltdown

September 10, 2010

(Directed, Produced and Performed by: A Three-Year-Old*)

The exposition provides the background information needed to properly understand the story and ends with the inciting moment, which is the incident without which there would be no story.

My daughter (girl) has the face of an angel, mouth of a trucker and propensity for nudity. She is three. Her brother (boy) has the height, appetite and obsession with procreation of a teenager. He is seven. He finds great sport in antagonizing his sister. She is sweetness personified…unless things don’t go her way. Last night, we went out for ice cream (can you see where this is going?).

Rising Action:
During rising action, the conflict is complicated by the introduction of related secondary conflicts, including various obstacles that frustrate the protagonist’s attempt to a goal.

Girl squeals with delight when presented with an enormous strawberry cone. Boy is too busy devouring his own chocolaty goodness to notice. We all walk to a bench in the middle of a very busy park to enjoy our ice cream.

As we sit down, boy has already finished his cone and now, with sugar and caffeine coursing through his veins, he eyes his sister’s treat. Is anyone looking? He doesn’t care. In a flash, boy pounces – his tongue extended like a dog hanging out a car window – ready to pillage girl’s dessert.

The Climax:
The third act is that of the climax, or turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs.

The entire scoop of ice cream, bigger than a baseball, falls to the ground. Boy looks at girl. Girl looks at lost ice cream.

Falling Action:
The moment of reversal after the climax, during which the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning or losing against the antagonist.

Girl loses her freaking mind: throws ice-creamless cone at boy; drops to the ground and begins to wail and flail in equal measure. Mom offers to get her a new one (“NOOOO – WANT THAT ONE!”). Dad offers his own cone (“AGGGHHHHH! NOOOOO!”). Girl is completely out of control and now rolling in the smooshed ice cream on the ground. Mom and dad look at girl, then each other. “Bail?” mom asks. “Definitely,” dad replies.

The final resolution of the narrative plot.

Mom grabs boy by the arm, whispering in his ear that if he ever does that again, he won’t eat ice cream for a year. Dad grabs girl and holds her horizontally to avoid being kicked in the nether regions. He gently rocks her and murmurs soothingly in her ear until she finally settles down, sniffles a few times, and goes in for a snuggle. “Feeling better now?” Dad asks. “No,” girl replies. “I need a puppy.”

*NOTE: This is the same girl who, when I lamented forgetting my purse in a store, told me to suck it up.

Change it to 3 year old and I'll take a dozen.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2010 4:18 pm

    LOL! Did you end up buying her another ice cream cone?

  2. September 10, 2010 5:11 pm

    Bahahahahaha! I love the telling of it.

    I’d say your purse clearly didn’t compare to THAT ice cream cone.

  3. September 10, 2010 6:20 pm

    Love the set up of hissy-fit-theatre! I can see it happening only too well. And the children played their roles to perfection!

    Sadly, my three year old’s meltdowns most often skip the earlier set and jump right to Falling Action. His goal in life is also to torment his younger sister.

    I look forward to reading your archives. I have a feeling it will be like looking into my future. Please feel free to check out our chaos…

    • September 10, 2010 7:33 pm

      Welcome, Kelly! My kids were born to play their roles! Thanks for hanging around and I’m gonna check your site out right now (hair appt = unlimited iphonage!).

    • September 15, 2010 10:21 am

      Thanks so much for reading, Kelly! LOVE your blog…!

      • September 15, 2010 4:48 pm

        Thank you! I’m trying to improve as the writing skills are a bit dusty along with my Mommy Brain….

        Loving yours as well. Slowly going through your archives and managed make it as far as the trip to Bosnia (I too have a weakness for bread and cheese….mmmmm).

  4. September 10, 2010 10:22 pm

    If it wasn’t for my iPod, I would have zero blog reading time. 🙂

  5. The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:01 am

    Lol I love it! I want a puppy next time I lose my ice cream 🙂

    • September 15, 2010 10:17 am

      I’m going for jewelry…

      • The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
        September 15, 2010 11:53 pm

        Ooh! Even better, me too 🙂 lol

  6. September 11, 2010 3:56 am

    I can definitely relate. Although, my son is responsible for his own demise, as I have no other children. He stubbed his toe earlier tonight and almost had me convinced that a “freezing” (AKA: Otter Pop) would make it feel better.
    I do know I’d be more likely to give a kid an Otter Pop than I would a puppy, but props to your girl for aiming high 😉

    • September 15, 2010 10:16 am

      I’m going to try this the next time I stub my toe, but I’m gonna ask for diamonds…

  7. September 11, 2010 6:59 pm

    LOVE IT! My sister did the same thing to me at McShit when I was 5… only instead of ice-cream it was a fist full of fries promptly stuffed down her throat before I knew what happened. I didn’t cry. I just looked at her with eyes that said “Why would you do that?” and she looked at me back, completely possessed with the thrill of the steal, haha!

  8. September 11, 2010 7:25 pm

    She sure knows how to deliver a punch line! 🙂 Nicely played, Miss 3.

  9. September 13, 2010 12:12 pm

    I love the visual of hte horizontal carry – I have to do it so often lately that I do bicep curls at the same time – hey want not get toned arms when dealing with freaking out toddler I say!

    • September 15, 2010 10:15 am

      You are the ultimate multi-tasker. When are we getting together for some m.e.a.t.?


  1. You’ll Never Eat Brunch In This Town Again « Lori Dyan

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