the juvenile and the jaded.

We began our series of student matinee performances this week, and it was so interesting! It is interesting to see how a student audience reacts compared to an adult audience. I mentioned in an earlier entry that every audience is different, but I think there are some things that an older audience would find more entertaining, and some things a younger audience would find more entertaining. 

For instance, no one laughs at the virgin joke! I must admit that that is very refreshing. To know that some of the sexier jokes and pot jokes can still go over the heads of kids, some of whom are teenagers.

And it is also so exciting to see how involved most of them are. I think the concept of this show really helps to bring kids that have never seen Shakespeare into the play. At one of our student matinee talk-backs a teenage boy raised his hand to tell us how much he enjoyed the play. He said it wasn’t anything like what he expected. We asked what he expected. The audience all mumbled that they were worried it would be boring. To be able to present this play to high school age kids and younger, and to have them be involved in and enjoying the story is really amazing. I mean, if you happen to read this play, there is so much that is really difficult to grasp. Even for a Master of the Fine Arts like me (I go by Master Emily, if you didn’t know). So to have a concept that doesn’t dumb the play down, but takes it into the world that we are living in today–that is a truly amazing help for everyone in the play and everyone watching the play. 

The other thing that is fascinating is the response of the student audiences as compared to the adult audiences when we ask them questions about the play, especially about the lovers. When we ask a student audience if the men were really in love with the French women, almost all of them stand up (in agreement). When we ask you jaded adults, we consistently have less than half standing, sometimes none! The kids also think that all the couples will follow through on their year long promises. The adults? Not so much. Of course, my opinion tends to go along with the adults. I guess we’ve all been burned before, huh?

It may also have something to do with the fact that all of that evidence that the men might not be so honest and trustworthy is easily brushed aside when the kids see the couples cuddling and enjoying each other. I mean, if you look at most romantic movies, couples go through horrible things and still take each other back. This sense that love is so concrete and, in a way, simple, is something that is pounded into our heads by modern culture and media. Hopefully they haven’t had enough experience to refute this image yet. 


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