Sunday, March 20, 2011

Comedy of Errors

My oldest son recently asked if he could go to see some Shakespeare.

Given that the boys usually request a trip to Chuck E Cheese's when in need of cultural stimulation, I leapt on his suggestion. And I was delighted at potentially having a fellow fan in the family. Mr Berman gallantly comes to Shakespeare with me, but would really rather be blowing up zombies on his Playstation 3 of a Saturday night.

So I whipped out my credit card with trembling hands, and went shopping.

Both BAM and the Lincoln Center have great seasons this year. My son chose Romeo and Juliet (because he'd heard of it). I parried with Macbeth (much more exciting). Then I decided he'd be better off with a comedy appetizer, so The Comedy of Errors was added to the shopping cart. At this point I was giddy with enthusiasm, so threw in As You Like It as well. When I checked out, sticker shock rapidly brought me to my senses.

My son had better bloody enjoy this.

Last night was our opening night, with Edward Hall's Propeller Company and their all-male production of The Comedy of Errors.

The first scene was rocky. There's not nearly enough action for a 10-year old. My son shifted in his seat and picked his nose. But when the two sets of long-lost twins hit the stage in this farcical tale of mistaken identity, he perked up considerably. Particularly when we got to the scene with the Lady of Ill Repute, in this instance played by a bloke with plastic knockers and 6 inch heels. Now I was shifting in my seat.

As the "Lady" mimed out bawdy shenanigans, my son hissed "Mummy, what IS she doing?". Everyone -- including the actors -- turned and looked in our direction. I suddenly felt very irresponsible.

Things only got worse.

At one point, a naked man burst across the stage with a lit firework up his arse. My son looked at me in shock. I had not prepared him for this. The man ran off, screaming.

"Mummy, does he explode?"
"No. It's only a sparkler. But that doesn't mean you can do it to your brother."

On the way home my son was quiet, thoughful even. Then,

"I like The Comedy of Errors", he said casually. 

I almost wept.

You see, he is growing up so fast. His trousers are all half-mast (I haven't had time to buy him new ones since he was 6). He is moving on to middle school. And he's not going to want to hang out with me for very much longer.

I had been feeling a little melancholy about this. But now I realize that although we may not snuggle up every night for a Thomas the Tank Engine story, we might share a night out at the theater once in a while.

We've traded Thomas for the bard. I'll take it.

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