I'm very keen that my boys grow up loving the theatre. I suppose I want them to have that thrill that I remember from my own childhood of seeing something live. In interviews with actors and actresses, you often read that they wanted to act from the first time they saw something performed on stage, and as a child, I was like that. I wanted to be one of those children up there at the end of the panto when certain kids from the audience were allowed on the stage! I wanted to be the people singing and dancing in musicals! As a teenager I loved the theatre, taking Drama A-Level and loving everything about school plays, from having pancake makeup applied to hanging out in the wings waiting to go on.
I'm not sure if the Littleboys are as starstruck by the theatre as I was - although both have performed quite well in school plays recently, they show no signs of wanting to leap up on stage at a moment's notice. But I'm trying my best to instil my own love of theatre in them. I've taken them to panto, The Snowman on stage, various school productions and now, a few real plays. Even if they don't grow up to be Damian Lewis or Benedict Cumberbatch (how fun that would be!), at least they might take ME to the theatre in their old age.
This weekend we went to see Emil and the Detectives at the National Theatre. If you know the book, by Erich Kastner, you'll know that it's a very child-focused story. Like Matilda, (which we saw in New York last year), it was full of brilliant child actors and the adults (apart from the sinister Mr Snow) were not only quite peripheral to the action but portrayed as quite naive and silly compared to the streetwise kids. It was a fantastic production, with the best stage design I've seen in years, and a great chase through the audience at one point.
Afterwards, I tried to get the boys to talk about it, encouraging them to compare it to Matilda.After a bit of prevarication, Littleboy2 said that on the whole they had preferred Matilda. Why, I asked? Was it the singing and music?
"Because a child actually gets thrown into the air and comes back down again (only you said it was a dummy, Mummy). "
"Yeah," chimed in Littleboy 1. "And that was SO awesome."
I think we have a little way to go on the theatrical education front....