Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Blame Big Bird

Okay, you've all heard enough about my knitting for now, I need a little ranting space. Something is bothering me. It's not earth shattering. It won't change the fate of mankind (okay darn it, it will a little) but it's bugging me.

When I was a kid I can remember going to the Children's Theater to see Huck Finn, James & The Giant Peach and I think Charlotte's Web (honestly, could this be a sadder story to subject children to?). I saw Romeo & Juliet and A Christmas Carol. No, I wasn't seeing Albee or Brecht as a child but at least they were real plays or based on works of literature. Apparently that has all changed.

I feel sorry for Children's Theaters all over the country because what is now considered theater is very different. When did theater for kids become "Elmo Live"! or "Go Diego Go, Live" basically whatever cartoon kids character you want LIVE. I've been to one of these productions. Once was enough. The house lights are on, the kids are loud, the story is thin and there are vendors hawking Officially Licensed merchandise.

We wonder when kids get older why they are talking on their cell phones in movie theaters and breaking up their styrofoam drink cups during Shakespeare. (I had this happen to me in college during a monologue and the urge to jump off the stage and whack the teenager upside the head was nearly overwhelming).

Gee, I wonder. Do you think it's because we are raising our kids to be culturally illiterate? Theater to them is now an officially licensed light-up plastic toy and a glow in the dark t-shirt? I blame Big Bird. I think Sesame Street was the first production to go "Live" and it's been downhill ever since. Damn Big Bird.


QoE said...

I agree. Have you checked out the Children's Theatre Company recently? They are still doing great theater. Right here in Mpls.

Cathy in Maple Grove

Amy said...

What Cathy said.

Ah, Charlotte's Web. Yeah, that's pretty sad. I remember seeing The Little Mermaid at the Children's Theater (not the Disney version, but the Hans Christian Anderson one, the really sad one) and being profoundly sad for days.

Youngest son wants to go so The Bridge to Terebithia, but knowing the ending of that one, I'm a tad hesitant. I think we'd both be bawling our eyes out.

Chris said...

Have you ever been to In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater? They do some very cool things - no Disney.

Knittymama said...

Oh yeah, that stuff drives me nuts!

We had that issue with Valentine's Day. We were going to make them for Little Man to take to preschool but ran out of time. So in desperation, late Monday night I went out buy some. I could not find a Valentine that did not have some sort of licensed charactor on it!!

The same thing with a lof of books the kids get as gifts; some lamely written version of a kids movie or tv show.

Anonymous said...

If the cup crushing was during "The Good Woman.." that was actually my spirit crushing. RC

The_Add_Knitter said...

I grew up in Minneapolis and took events like 'The Children's Theatre' and 'The Peppermint Tent' for I live in the cultural wasteland of central PA. and fret about the pervasive influence of the Disney Channel. Blech!!!

Love your blog, btw. I did the Fitted Tank this past summer but might frog it due to shoddy increases that look like gaping holes...