Teflon! That’s how Leslie Greene, my best friend and favorite actress, describes our older, yet wiser brains. We strive hard to learn our lines to get them perfect, just as the author wrote them. But, at 65, the words slide off grey matter (without the aid of spray-on Pam) and leave us blushing, flushing and fumbling through our mental thesaurus, picking a comparable word to fill in that blank which Teflon left wanting.
But we can be forgiven, for have presented six productions in nearly as many weeks, beginning with the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, lauded by many as funny, up-to-date and mirroring today’s highs and lows of relationships. The production, however, shocked a group of ladies and gentlemen from Russellville. I am amazed when audience members are affronted by what is, more often than not, no more scandalous than primetime television fare.
We followed with our annual Shakespeare production, The Winter’s Tale, which APSU costumer extraordinaire Lilo Rogoish said was “the first time she was able to understand Shakespeare.” Actors performed The Winter’s Tale while rehearsing Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, which sold out with additional chairs for three of its four performances.
Following closely was Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, our second in a quartet of productions in commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Young people were bused in for daytimes to experience the story of Henry Fleming’s coming of age and the embracing of his fears, embodied by the Norman Mailer quote in the preface to the novel: “Nobody was born a man. Manhood was earned, provided you were good enough, bold enough … There are two kinds of brave men: those who are brave by the grace of nature and those who are brave by an act of will.”
SchoolHouse Rock Live, currently playing in repertory with Spring Awakening, opens young minds to history lessons, math skills, parts of speech, and the workings of government — all in a joyous, entertaining and fast-paced production which is brand-new to our younger audiences, yet nostalgic for the older theatregoers, but energetic and fun for all ages.
There are those who will sit in judgment of Spring Awakening‘s language and situations, which are often referred to as adult. But some of the more enlightened among us will hear past the words, listen to their meaning, and look beyond the pictured situations to see the meaningful message. And for every one, if you have not had that father and son or mother and daughter talk, this production will certainly afford more than an opportunity to do so and become a teachable moment of important communication between you and your teen.
Spring Awakening resumes next week, playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, through May 5. SchoolHouse Rock Live plays two more Saturday matinees on April 28 and May 5 at 2pm.
See you at the theatre!