Somewhere in the wilds of Western Massachusetts this weekend, hundreds of teenagers are gathering to cheer, cry, shout, sigh, and whoo-hoo with all the passion of an audience at a rock concert. Which means it's time again for the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, which opened last night with a performance of Twelfth Night followed by a Hamlet. Four days. Ten productions. Ten high schools. No competition.
My own production of Much Ado About Nothing (that's it in the picture) doesn't go on until Saturday, so in the meantime I'm working assignments in tech and front of house for the other productions. The generosity and enthusiasm of the kids towards each other's performances is really stunning and heartening, proving once again that while most of us are stuck with the competitive model for theater, kids are actually eager and delighted to put that aside and whole-heartedly cheer for the success of kids they've never met. Out in the lobby after shows they congratulate each other (and promise to friend one another of Facebook, of course). It's the perfect antidote to my six years of having to be involved in theater competitions.
It's also amazing that we've arrived at the 20th Fall Festival, since I was participating as a high school student in festivals 1-3. Apparently there is a picture of me in the rotating slide show in the lobby. I haven't seen it yet, but my kids did, and they were weirded out to think that I was ever their age. I don't know--I still feel 17 most of the time.
In the lobby last night I also had my first sighting of Trish, and we had a mini NITS reunion right there. Kevin was wandering the lobby in a tuxedo and baseball hat and Jenna was beaming after her production of Hamlet came down. Crem is doing The Merchant of Venice this year, set in the 1950's with a largely Latino cast. It is a green world here.
So this goes out with well-wishes to you all for your productions and your kids and yourselves.