The Shakespeare Theater puts on fantastic productions. Every single show I’ve seen there has been a wonderful experience. And what makes them even better is knowing I’m paying $10 for rush tickets (buying them Tuesday morning at the box office) when the other schmucks in the audience have paid upwards of $60.
So I was happy to find a free performance put on by the Theater’s Camp Shakespeare. Now, when you say student production, expectations are lowered. And the walk from the Metro to the theater in the hot hot oven that was last evening’s air was such a wilting experience that I was asking myself why I decided to go out at all. But despite my lowered expectations, I was very impressed and pleased with the play. Lowered expectations can be good that way.
The play was Pericles, which I had 1) never heard of and 2) had no idea had been written by Shakespeare (there is some debate about authorship, but that didn’t affect my perceptions of the play. And I don’t really care).
The kids are high schoolers and have been working on this play for weeks. Everything was very well done–they spoke well, they moved well, the set was neato (minimal with sheets and lights making things into boats and rivers and statues) and they made me genuinely concerned about the characters’ welfare. I purposely did not read the synopsis in the program so that I would see it fresh, so I was on the edge of my seat, hoping this would not turn into an Oedipus-like snuff fest. [spoiler: it didn’t!]
So, the kids did a great job and it was completely free. What can we learn from this? Well, I’ve taken away the notion that kids, being outside the mainstream as they are, are the ones with new ideas. We know that the mainstream does not have ideas. And they are the ones who have free shows. I know DC is full of schools and universities teeming with creative spirits. The Corcoran College of Art and Design has a senior show in the spring, and I’m sure there are others just waiting to be appreciated. For free. So I’m ready to buy into this idea; these kids are all right. And free.
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such a heartwarming show. those kids were great!