28 January 2008

Grown up plays

The first play that I remember seeing in a theater is Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession in London. I was 14.

Dad and I were visiting England while we were living in Belgium and he got us tickets. I don't know what his criteria was in selecting that play, but I loved it. I have long since lost the program, but in the dim, murky recesses of my memory there are still impressions of dresses and movement and speech. There were definitely stripes. Maybe on the wall paper, or the furniture, or maybe on the dresses, I don't know, but there were stripes. I'm sure that I didn't understand all of it, but I got most of it and have been very fond of Shaw ever since.

Well, Samantha has me beat. She is ten and her first grown up play - i.e., one that doesn't involve bright, cheerful characters asking the audience for help, or Disney characters on ice skates - was Arcadia. She was there on Saturday night.

At lunch after church some weeks ago, Stacey and I were talking about the show and Sam said that she wanted to go. Hoping to give her more of a sense of the play (i.e., lots of math talk, very few chase scenes), I asked her to run some of my lines with me. We ran a chunk of Scene 2, carefully picking up reasonably far after Hannah's "I'm going to kick you in the balls" and left off reasonably far before Bernard's "The Byron gang are going get their dicks caught in their zip..." and when we were done, she said "I wanna go see this play!" all bright-eyed and enthusiastic.

I don't think that she has developed a life-long love of Stoppard at age 10, although it's not impossible as she is a very bright girl, but I do think that what she wanted was to see a play where I was on stage instead of in the house.

So Sam and Stacey and Cliff and Eileen came on Saturday night and, even though the show lets out at 10:45, she was all bright-eyed and enthusiastic afterwards in the lobby. I was so surprised and enchanted to see her there that I may have largely ignored other friends as I dragged her around to meet as many of the cast as were still around. But then, I am usually an idiot in theater lobbies post-show, so that night may not have been different from all other nights. It's basically just me with more adrenaline.

We have a date to see the next kids show at Elden Street, but I'm thinking that if she can do Arcadia, I may have a companion for some of my upcoming WATCH assignments. Especially as - oddly enough - Arcadia may actually be the most kid-friendly thing I audition for this year.

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