Love’s Labour’s Lost at SRT

Caught the matinee of SRT’s the young co doing Love’s Labour’s Lost yesterday.

It’s a light, fun, entertainment play that is great to go back to when you get hair-tearing/head-bashing frustrated with how some of your own writing has turned out–because it’s not perfect, it’s not ‘great’ but it works as it is, it’s fine… & it points the way to greater things to come.

Which is how I felt about the actors too–it was great watching those young enthusiastic people on stage. Some of them still seemed more focused on pronouncing/reciting their scripts correctly (never mind what the words mean–I got them out in correct sequence!) but hey–they held the performance together & everything worked.

It’s not the easiest of plays to do because it feels so illogical (to me anyway) but right down to the extras playing maids etc & shifting props they all pulled together & presented an entertaining piece.

I liked the ‘one year later’ curtain call–nice touch.

I also liked/was impressed by Rishi Budhrani’s Berowne. He had great physical presence & moved like he was choreographed, plus he managed to make his lines ‘his’.

But–there were major major problems.

No, not with what was on stage but what was in the audience.
Okay, it’s Shakespeare, it’s Saturday afternoon, most of the school kids in there (in & out of uniform) were probably there under duress.
Still, I thought the straightforward layout of the play (guys swear joint oath to study & chastity, fall for girls, break their oaths & try to impress & win girls) had caught them up in the telling–the audience seemed to be following what was going on.

But the moment that jolts them all back to real life (Mercade coming on to announce the king of France is dead) was spoiled–literally, I couldn’t hear the words–by laughter from a group in the stalls.

Why?

I don’t know. I was up in circle. There I ‘only’ got exposed to students working handphones (yes, at least one girl sitting in row AA was sms-ing constantly. No, she wasn’t taking notes. She received calls too. I know because though her phone was on ‘silent’ the glare from her phone screen was bright enough to let us all know another message had come through–sitting behind her I could read some of the texts she got–which made the other kids there check their phones with much rustling & whispering)

But at least that girl had her phone in silent mode. At least 2 other phones in the circle rang–one got answered immediately, the other, which turned out to belong to a teacher accompanying 9 students kept ringing till the lady teacher finally realised it was hers (or did she just wake up?) & groped for her phone & turned it off.

And you thought teachers could be roped in as examples to good behaviour? Ha!

They don’t seem to know their phone faces are visible from the stage. Actors can tell when you’re paying attention to their mobiles & not to the action.

But this morning I was wondering whether they just aren’t ready. It was 2 hr 10 min and the young people of today seem to have short attention spans when not online.

I know there are courses for young people interested in writing/acting?

Maybe we need courses to prepare young people to become audiences.
Beginners Level: 45 min shows with 15 min discussion
Intermediate Level: 1 hr show with Q & A
Performance Level: 2 hr show with Interval

All they have to do is sit through performances without handphones.
Only after achieving ‘Performance Level’ will they be allowed into theatres.

No. I’m not being nasty/prejudiced.
Yesterday I was feeling nasty when I wanted to stick that teacher’s fucking phone up her fat ass…

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5 Responses

  1. Westwood Secondary who took the first few rows got to go for free. The sec 1s, 2s and 3s. Caught some people sleeping.

  2. thanks people–not so pissed now. & the ‘family’ performance sounds like a great idea!

    hi dustynova, I can’t say she was ‘old’ because (though yes, she seemed old to me) she’s probably around my age. Schoolteachers have a way of looking older, I think–part of the authority persona.

  3. Hey, is the teacher OLD, wearing GREEN and black? :3

  4. Ugh. Such annoying behaviour. I’m especially surprised at the teacher not having turned her phone off.

    The Shakespeare festival in Boise, Idaho, always did (I’m assuming still do) a special “family” performance at which they encourage the attendance of younger kids (tho not below about age 6, if I remember correctly). Seems like a good way of helping to ensure both that younger folks get to see the plays and that more serious theatre-goers know what times to avoid.

  5. Yes, I agree with you.
    Schoolchildren attend such plays under duress and end up not paying attention to the play. I find it really offensive because already these schools are offered substantial discounts off the tickets, and one would think students and teachers will be grateful for that. Clearly not the case.

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