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Belle’s Stratagem

September 7, 2008

Yesterday we took our annual pilgrimage to outdoor American Players Theater. The play – The Belle’s Stratagem – was written by female playwright Hannah Cowley in1780. It was fantastic and we were laughing through the whole production.

Nearly as funny as the witty performance was the high school drama group sitting to our left. At intermission, one kid asked in exasperation, “Does anybody know what’s going on?” I thought he should have been required to relinquish his “Drama Geek and Proud Of It” t-shirt. Another student started to explain the plot and soon had the whole flock bunched close around her, hanging on her every word. It made me slightly worried about the state of their educations if self-proclaimed drama geeks couldn’t follow the play. It wasn’t really that complicated.

Soon all the kids were up to speed and the second half of the play began. Armed with knowledge of “what’s going on”, the high school group was much more engaged. They let their amusement at the wit of the play be plainly known to everyone. I found myself thinking that this must have been what theater was like centuries ago with the unruly “yard” standing up front. Every witty remark got extra laughter from the kid section. Every time a character delivered a sweet, sappy line, the whole section would sincerely sigh, “awwww…”. And when a character would give someone their due, there was loud whooping of approval. It was incredibly amusing for those of us sitting near them. I had tears in my eyes from laughing. It made me wonder if people shouldn’t be a little more interactive with their theater and treat plays like rock concerts. I bet the actors wouldn’t mind at all.

We also stopped at a small petting zoo of sorts and Meredith fed some deer, llamas, wallabies and goats.

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