Saturday, 26 March 2011

To Be Or Not To Be...

I love going to the theatre,ever since school trips to Stratford or the Royal Exchange, I have been enthusiastically transported to the worlds of tragedy, comedy, music and poetry. When my daughter came along, I was determined to take her and, hopefully, she would share my passion. We started out with productions aimed at toddlers and graduated to plays such as "Tom's Midnight Garden" (which I sobbed my heart out to, much to her bewilderment) and fantastic Roald Dahl adaptations. The Lowry Theatre opened in Salford and Bel's introduction to Shakespeare began with the wonderful Shakespeare For Kidz series. In the last year, I thought she was ready for Shakespeare-proper and started with the comedies, including "The Comedy Of Errors".
Bel is fifteen now and appears to have a permanent air of disdain regarding anything I enthuse about. My fashion sense is "tragic", my taste in music, "lame".Several times we have been to the theatre recently and she starts tutting, asking when the interval is, hoping she doesn't see anyone she knows.Eventually she settles and actually enjoys the play in most cases.
When I heard "King Lear" was coming to The Lowry starring Derek Jacobi, I immediately booked two tickets and excitedly told Bel. "Is he famous?" she asked. "Very" I replied."Is he in Harry Potter?" she retorted. Now I think Derek Jacobi is the only British thespian not to have appeared in Harry Potter."I don't think so". Oh dear.
As the day of the play grew closer, I attempted to explain the plot to Bel. After listening she said, "so they all die in the end?", I admitted most of them did."So I take it it's not one of his comedies", she deadpanned.This morning one of my friends text to say she wished she was going, Bel mumbled that she could have her ticket. We set off for The Lowry, she asked how long the play was, I made this mistake of saying three hours.She asked me to drop her off at the tram stop. On arrival, I let her loose in the sweet shop as a sweetener (literally) and tried not to blanch as the pick and mix cost more than a good bottle of wine.
We took our seats and I waited for the sighing, the soft tutting, the dramatic time watching. I waited and waited. However, she was entranced. There was no scenery to speak of, just acting of such a high calibre and the timeless poetry of a genius. When it was over, she said "that was AMAZING". All the way home she chattered about eyes being gouged out, the mesmirising acting of Derek Jacobi, the standing ovation.For a brief time, on a Saturday afternoon, we shared a passion for something timeless.
We got home, and she turned on the television to watch "You've Been Framed".


  1. Brilliant Blog post! You know what, regardless of the tutting, huffing I know you will just keep on doing it, she clearly loves it and we both know that when she is older she will thank you for it, not for years and years clearly as is their want, but she will, and probably when she is sat in a theater watching the shakespeare for kiddies production with you and her own child, But I think deep down you know that anyways xx

  2. Ellen your exceeding expectations!!!!