The premiere Shakespeare Theatre Company recently invited me to come to Washington, D.C., see one of their stage productions and meet the creative director. For a theatre junkie like me, that’s heaven. But wait, I write about traveling with kids. Do I turn them down (bummer) or do I take a child and hope they enjoy it?
Since I love D.C., I love the theatre and I’m a huge Shakespeare fan I decided to risk bringing my 11 year old son along. He wasn’t thrilled by the prospect, even though he is a little performer and was the most likely of the four to enjoy a highbrow outing.
Then I found out they weren’t performing Shakespeare but rather a never staged French comedy that was written in the 17th century, I got worried. He’s a smart cookie but he generally favors SpongeBob over Masterpiece Theatre.
Clearly my worry was unfounded. JJ had done his research. At dinner before the play he filled me, and the entire media group in on the history, plot and characters in the show. I started to think maybe I should be paying him as my assistant.
The show “The Heir Apparent” was hilarious, well adapted and accessible to everyone, not just theatre snobs. It even had a pig in it. Really. It’s all we are still talking about here in our house. I often forget that kids can get the more sublime humor, they can follow a complex plot and appreciate “real” art. It doesn’t have to be “kids theatre” they can enjoy “real theatre”, sometimes better than we can.
Next time you’re in Washington D.C., don’t just go to the Lincoln Memorial, take time to see a show. The Shakespeare Theatre Company is in a brand new performing space, the Sidney Harman Hall. It’s so technically amazing it’s over my head, and it’s a small intimate space, it’s worth it just to see the architecture.
“The Heir Apparent” will run until October 23rd .
They are also staging “Fela”. It’s the true story of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, was produced by Jay-Z and The Smiths (as in Will and Jada). When it ran on Broadway it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, they won 3, including best choreography.