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Last night there was an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We were told it was a very kid friendly production and it was free, so we figured it wouldn't hurt to take the kids. If they got antsy, we could always leave.
As most of you know, I have two kids: Erin (age 5) and Ben (age 3). I asked them if they wanted to see a show with Puck in it. (The only Puck they know is the one from Gargoyles.) They were very enthusiastic about wanting to go. I tried to tell them the story of the play. But it's fairly complex when compressed, and I wasn't sure if they'd gotten it.
There was supposed to be a pre-show at 6:30pm, so we got there in time for that. But there was no pre-show. Instead the show started at 7pm. Since they had already been sitting for a half hour I was sure the kids wouldn't make it through the whole play.
But, man, they loved it! Erin was riveted throughout. Benny had a couple of moments when he was more interested in the stars that had begun to appear as it got darker. He also started to sing to himself a couple times. But he never fell asleep, never got drowsy. Never ran around. Or got noisy or anything. Both of them sat on the grass and watched the show, laughing and applauding until it was over an hour and forty-five minutes later. (Obviously the play was trimmed a bit, but all the language was Shakespeare.) They loved the costumes, the magic, the comedy. When Titania ran through the audience and approached them, they were both beaming.
After the show, they ran up to introduce themselves to all the actors. They gave BIG hugs to Titania. It was pretty amazing.
And for me it represents the first step in introducing them to Shakespeare. We're not exactly there yet. But I've been missing a lot of Shakespeare Festivals since the kids were born, and soon I'll be able to take them along.