BWW Blog: Sharing Theatre with Non-Theatre People
We all have loved ones that don't share our love for the performing arts - whether they don't like watching people randomly break into song and dance or they just have never given them a chance, but usually they will see how important it is to you and try their best to keep up.
Many of my friends that I hang out with are not fans of plays or musicals, and whenever I talk about them I can tell that in their mind, I just adopted the image of the most avant-garde, absurdist director that they could possibly imagine. If I just jump straight into talking about what I just learned in my acting IV class I know that it will seem like too much at once and they will feel like I'm talking over their head. On the other hand, most of my friend group are all Simulation and Game Design majors, so I understand the struggle of having them explain a problem with their coding that I find very hard to grasp but try my best to be an attentive listener.
It's weird how these things happen, isn't it? How did I, a self-described theater nerd, fall into line with the other self-described video game nerds?
I wouldn't trade my friend group for anything in the world, so I knew that if I was going to solve my itch of wanting to talk about theater, I was going to have to get creative.
So recently I started introducing theater topics to them in small ways, and eventually I was able to talk about the new play that's coming to a theater near us without me feeling like I'm boring or confusing them. Some of my friends have even been interested in seeing their first live performance with me!
There's one thing that I had to quickly grasp onto if I wanted to do this right and that is the fact that musicals are a hard concept to sell. Many of my friends found the idea of someone bursting into song and dance numbers not very interesting for them to watch, and I get that. At least in the case of my family their perception of musicals is that they are either all Lion King or Cats. Something wild, extravagant, with lots of "weird" things to look at but mainly for younger audiences.
Many of my friends are interested in horror movies and I mentioned that there is this amazing horror musical that they might be interested in. They expressed confusion that a musical could sincerely be scary, and it took a lot of convincing to get them to watch it. So begins our watching of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Did they love it?
Of course they did, its an amazing musical!
None of my friends watched anything like that, nor could they think that a story told within Sweeney Todd could be effectively told through musical numbers. Afterwards, one of them complained to me that they couldn't get A Little Priest out of their head all day.
It was a fun experiment with introducing a musical to people that were put off with the idea originally, but we willing to try something new because my tastes in life is so Perfect and Amazing all the time. Or maybe because movie nights with friends usually turn out fun no matter what. Who's to say?