Bringing Kids to Theater
the Theater-Going Habit
Great seats. That is my mother-in-law’s first and most important piece of advice for bringing kids to a performance. Down front, enveloping sound, comfortable seats. My partner says that balcony seats with a view of the orchestra and room to drop and play with toys is also a choice he liked as a 7-year-old.
Last week I was signing up the middle school down the block to go see Evita at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, MA. The A.R.T. produces splashy shows that transfer capably to Broadway: Six, Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Finding Neverland, the revivals of 1776, Pippin and Porgy and Bess. A group from this school went to see Life of Pi there and loved it. So, building on that enthusiasm, I am aiming at getting the entire school community - like, everyone, every. single. person. - to go to Evita this spring.
$5 per person for students and chaperones on Wednesday matinees. Wonderful. I can auction off 2 full-price tickets to cover that expense.
Teacher Tuesday is Pay-What-You-Wish. Also great.
Okay, so those two options cover the teachers, students and caregivers that can take off work on a Wednesday. Now, onto caregivers, siblings and school staff - cafeteria, administrators, custodians. The A.R.T. has $5 tickets for EBT cardholders, $5 no-questions-asked tickets for patrons that need that price, and $5 tickets sponsored by Harvard on one Thursday night. Student tickets are $15 at the door and $25 if you book ahead. The rest of the seats are $30-$140.
The A.R.T. is a well-funded, high ticket sales theater in a very wealthy state with government subsidies for making the arts accessible. Most theaters could not dream of working so many $5 tickets into their business model. I am very lucky that the theater down the street is so affordable.
...but I have one moment of pause. The $5 and student tickets only apply to previews and obstructed view seats. And the preview seats that are not obstructed view are in the way back or off to the extreme sides. Obstructed view seats are often obstructed sound seats as well - the speakers are plainly not aimed at there, and this causes subtle and not so subtle differences in what you can hear and the beauty of the sound.
Thus, in violation of rule #1: good seats, great sound.
Let’s start this Theater-Going Habit MasterMind Group by reflecting on the good stuff. What are your favorite places to sit in a theater? Tomorrow we will think through what obstructed-view means and how it affects an experience.
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