Watching Shakespeare With Your Kids

My retired parents and bachelor engineer brother came from out of state so they could see Carolyn and me in the Latrobe Cabaret Theatre’s Midsummer. Mom says it was the first Shakespeare play she had ever seen. My family was sitting in the front row, so I could see their reactions from the stage. I’m so glad they could make it! (The show continues Thursday through Saturday.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 1.22.15 PMShakespeare’s plays—indeed, all plays—present an uncertain world and unpredictable beings. Suffice to say, my children were captivated and stayed through the entire performance. | With captivation comes wonder, and with wonder, questions. Many of the questions my children asked during and after the performance were simple: What is he saying? Why are they fighting? Why does Viola put that hat on? Is she hurt? Is he being silly? For an adult, these simple questions are easy to answer in a few words. But they also contain the heart of the play. Considered deeply, these types of questions reveal the full meaning of any play: accurate textual analysis, consideration for the action and motivations behind it, as well as the tone and mood of characters.| A child’s first encounter with the mystery of the theater is as revealing of deep questions as his or her future encounters. Now, three-year-olds ask questions according to ability—but don’t be fooled by their seeming simplicity. —The Weekly Standard