Monday, January 30, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

How to Take Your Child to See a Shakespeare Play (Part Seven)

On Friday I calculated that the production of As You Like It my ten-year-old daughter and I saw at Cambridge's A.R.T. was her seventh live Shakespeare performance. My daughter goes willingly to any and all productions, but that's mainly because she loves any excuse to stay up late.

Her level of engagement with these Shakespeare performances varies. Like, wildly so.

One of the bazillion things I love about Shakespeare is his ability to hold a mirror up to us, his audience. In that spirit, I love seeing my daughter's reaction to Shakespeare because it's a window into her. That is, who she is just at that moment. Watching As You Like It, for example, she was *so* cringing at Rosalind's aggressive advances on Orlando.

And at the end, when all the couples hook up, marry, and/or get all cheesy, she was muttering "Oh my GOD."

I think that it's important to tell your kids that their reactions to theater are insightful and valuable. And also to indulge all their requests for candy and crap during intermission. If you do both these things, you're totally good to go.

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